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Updated on Aug 22, 2020. Posted on Dec 30, 2014

17 Of The Best BuzzFeed Books Essays We Published In 2014

Exploring subjects from skateboarding to Sylvia Plath, and attempting to write your first novel to jumping into the sea, these are some of our favorite essays we published this year. *Ranked in no particular order*

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

1. This Is What Happens To Your Heart When You Dive Into The Sea — James Nestor

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

James Nestor, author of DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves, takes us on a transformative journey into the ocean.

2. Try To Leave Me If You Can — Katherine Faw Morris

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Katherine Faw Morris, author of Young God, on returning to her impoverished home in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

3. Not Here to Make Friends — Roxane Gay


Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist, on the importance of unlikable female protagonists.

4. How Not To Write Your First Novel — Lev Grossman

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

A cautionary tale from Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians Trilogy, about attempting to become a writer at the tender age of 22.

5. Making Sense Of Suicide With Sylvia Plath — Katie Crouch

Everett Collection / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Katie Crouch, author of Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, and Abroad, on surviving the first tech boom in San Francisco and the importance of Sylvia Plath.

6. My Sister Lived In Silence — Matthew Derby

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Matthew Derby tells the story of how writing The Silent History helped him come to understand a sister he never truly knew.

7. Wonderland Woman — Melissa Chadburn

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Melissa Chadburn shares her story of growing up poor and desperate, and finding herself in The Wonderland Quartet by Joyce Carol Oates.

8. The Day I Stopped Believing In God — Miriam Toews

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Miriam Toews, author of All My Puny Sorrows, remembers the day she learned about death.

9. Skateboarding As Religion — Sean Wilsey

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Sean Wilsey, author of More Curious and Oh the Glory of It All, on the importance of skateboarding and the iconic and irreverent history of Thrasher magazine.

10. Reading And Mourning A Friend — Alanna Okun

Alanna Okun

Alanna Okun remembers author Marina Keegan, whose book The Opposite of Loneliness was published posthumously this year.

11. When You Love A Book Because of Who It’s From — Helen Rosner

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Helen Rosner examines the role book recommendations have played in her romantic history.

12. Writing My Father’s Death — Peter Orner

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, struggles to cope with the loss of his father.

13. Books, New York, And The Internet: A Love Story — Maris Kreizman

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Maris Kreizman shares her story of working 14 years in New York publishing and embracing technology to save the literary world she loves.

14. Discovering "Blind Tom," The Slave Turned Civil War-Era Pop Star — Jeffery Renard Allen

Via Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank, grapples with the musical genius of Thomas Greene Wiggins.

15. A Need To Disappear — Catherine Lacey

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing, on how writers both are and are not their characters.

16. The Beasts Inside The Hiss — Joshua Mohr

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Joshua Mohr, author of Some Things that Meant the World to Me, Termite Parade, Damascus, and Fight Song, remembers standing on the edge of relapse.

17. Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing — Daniel José Older

Julie Dillon / Via

Daniel José Older clashes with a publishing industry that "looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive."

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