Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 in Review: Favorite Books

I read 52 books this year.  This is on par with previous years where I did not have a newborn: 2011 (42), 2012 (52).  When I did have a new born, I read about half that much (2013: 24).  This number includes the entire Harry Potter series that I re-listened to during the last few months of the year.  I added an honorable mention section to this post.  There were a number of books that I really enjoyed, but didn't feel like they should fit into the "best books I read all year" category.  But maybe they do.  It is all subjective anyway.

Boys in the Boat.  The story of the 8-man crew and their quest for gold at the 1936 Olympics.  I realized afterwards that these men would have been contemporaries of my Grandparents.  The trials of that particular time period made for some really inspiring people.  This was a surprisingly suspenseful read, with all the various races described.

Navigating Early.  I don't know what it is about Clare Vanderpool, but she is an amazing writer.  The descriptions of her books can be rather underwhelming, but then you read them and are blown away.  At least that has been mine experience.  There are so many things to love about this book.  It is more the feeling that the words and descriptions evoke that I love.

Rose Under Fire.  I think I might love this book more than Wein's other book dealing with WWII, "Code Name Verity," and I didn't think that was possible.  Historical fiction at it's finest.

Ruby Red series.  Cheating by adding a couple of series in here.  I adored this series.  Such a fun listen.  Finding a book series like this one is one of my favorite things in life.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  This is a book for a book lover.  Not because I like all the books that are listed in here (or have even read any of them), but the character is one that you can relate to.  A person who has passionate opinions about the books he reads.  And this is just so much more than a story about a man who loves books.

The Lunar Chronicles books 1-3:  Again, not high literature, but this series has kept me entertained this past year.  I thought I would have no interest in it whatsoever.  A Cinderella cyborg tale?  Come on.  But the characters are solidly written, and it is good entertainment.  The second book was perhaps my least favorite of the three.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.  It appears that I must have at least one really English read for the year, and this was it.  It is very "Bend it like Beckham," but for the middle-aged.

Honorable Mentions

Jefferson's Sons.  Great YA historical fiction.  It was unsettling, and I guess I mean that in a good way.

Big Little Lies.  I really liked this.  Some really dark topics lightened by some hilarious, catty kindergarten politics.  And it all ends on a bright note.

Were'd You Go Bernadette.  Loved this book.  Loved the Seattle-ness of it all.  Loved how I didn't know who had the more realistic perspective on what was really happening.

The Rosie Project.  This was a hilarious book to listen to.  It sometimes took things a bit too far, which is why I can't outright love it.

Salt Sugar Fat.  I was seriously fascinated/appalled by the section on cheese.

Landline.  I really related to this book, more so than some of her others.  This and "Attachments" are my two favorite books of hers.

Bomb.  A well written history full of the stuff that makes history entertaining: intrigue, drama, etc.  Basically, it has as much detail as I would want from a historical book.  Let's just overlook that fact that it was written for young adults.


MBC said...

You're right. We did have similar ones! Last year the Ruby Red series was my favorite. So well plotted through all 3 books.

RFamily said...

Boys in the Boat is high on my list for this year - excited to see you liked it! Still waiting for Big Little Lies from lib...


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