Nov 10, 2014

    Debut novel tops Amazon's book list


    EVERYTHING I Never Told You, the debut novel by author Celeste Ng about a teenage girl growing up in a mixed-race family in the American Midwest in the 1970s, was named Amazon's best book of the year on Saturday.

    It topped the list of 100 good reads, which included fiction and non-fiction works, selected by editors at the online retailer.

    "It is a beautiful book about a family," Sara Nelson, editorial director of books and Kindle at, said about the novel. "The characterisations are moving. The people are very interesting."

    All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - a finalist for the National Book Award, which will be announced on Nov 19 in New York - came in a very close second.

    "He is an amazing writer. Every sentence is a beautiful construction," Ms Nelson said of Doerr, an award-winning author whose book tells the story of two extraordinary young people in Europe growing up on the eve of World War II.

    It was followed by the polar expedition story In The Kingdom Of Ice: The Grand And Terrible Polar Voyage Of The USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides at No. 3.

    Amazon described its third choice as the ultimate adventure story with a touch of romance and intrigue. It chronicles the battle for survival of the crew of a polar exploration ship trapped in ice in the early 1880s.

    The Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Pearce: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark For The Ivy League, a reported memoir by Jeff Hobbs about his best friend, was fourth on the list.

    "It is about a young African-American man who came up through the roughest parts of Newark and by his sheer brilliance and will, got himself to Yale," said Ms Nelson.

    National Book Award finalist Phil Klay's Redeployment, a book of short stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rounded out the top five.

    The editors at Amazon selected the 100 from its list of monthly favourites and other noteworthy books. It also compiled top 20 lists in more than two dozen categories such as mystery and thriller, young readers, humour and entertainment, and cookbook and lifestyle.

    "We look for things that make us excited," said Ms Nelson. The top 10 list includes two debut books and four works by women.

    Stephen King's horror novel, Rival, also made the top 10, coming in at No. 6, as did National Book Award finalist Emily St John Mandel, whose Station Eleven, an apocalyptic novel about a theatre troupe in the aftermath of a pandemic, was 10th.

    Amazon selected The Pigeon Needs A Bath as its best children's picture book and The Fourteenth Goldfish as its top book for nine- to 12-year-olds.

    We Were Liars was No. 1 for teen and young adult readers, and The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food was the best cookbook.

    The full list can be found at