I've fallen behind on my book list! Book #4 of my top five of 2014 is Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. This is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, and, in my opinion, the most gripping of the three books, which were all released this year. In this book, the protagonist, an unnamed biologist, embarks with several other women on a reconnaissance mission to the Area X, a small quarantined region in the Southern U.S. As they struggle to explore the region, decipher its strange biological anomalies, and understand the fates of the previous expeditions, they find themselves, too, changing in inexplicable ways.
I wanted to read this book everywhere--while brushing my teeth, while cooking dinner, while taking a shower--I absolutely could not put it down. It's smart, beautifully written, and immersive. It raises more questions, ultimately, than it answers, but I'm happy to keep thinking about it, and I've spent many hours since finishing the trilogy, mulling things over and trying to puzzle everything out. Definitely an unforgettable reading experience.