As 2014 winds down, I’ve been looking at the list of books I’ve read this year (though not all were published in 2014). And as usual, I’m mortified that I can’t remember anything about many of them. Some of the titles don’t even ring a bell. But there are several standouts, and today I will mention the chronological first, Andrea Barrett’s Archangel. I have been a big fan of Barrett’s writing from the very beginning. She is a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award and of the National Book Award for fiction. There is something delicate yet decisive and sharp about Archangel. Barrett’s characters are compelling and her stories of 19th and 20th century science are fascinating. I usually don’t read short story collections, but Barrett’s elegant, ambitiously linked stories always entice me. While not quite as good as Ship Fever and Servants of the Map, it is nonetheless a lovely book.