2014 kicks off with the promise of cold and snow for many of us, making it the perfect time to just stay indoors and read books. Some of you might want to get caught up on the books you saw featured on the best-of lists that popped up at the end of last year, but the first month of the new calendar also offers a crop of great books. Here are some of the best to pick up now, or risk falling dangerously behind.
A Trip to Echo Springs: On Writers and Drinking, Olivia Laing (Out now, Picador)
Olivia Laing’s exploration into the lives of six of the most well-known literary drunks technically came out on December 31, 2013, but that’s basically January 1, 2014 in our book. A Trip to Echo Springs got a huge, well-deserved boost thanks to a front-page feature on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Of course, its subject matter (John Cheever, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and of course Ernest Hemingway) pretty much guaranteed the literary establishment would take notice, but the style in which Laing presents her subjects is earning the book extra acclaim.