Monday, December 15, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

2014 was a big year. I lost my grandmother and went back to school. I lived my life around trips that would take me far from Michigan. I started to think that there's a future where the words hourly pay don't always apply.
I like to think it's because of all these changes that I chanced upon so many good books this year. There were times when I needed a long challenge and others where the only thing I could handle were fluff and decadence. I found a book about dealing with loss some six months after I needed it. I discovered Roxane Gay and started to love nonfiction in a new capacity.  YA demanded a bigger shelf in my library and reminded me never to overlook a genre just because of the average age of it's readers.
I'm closing in on 50 books this year. My goal was 35. 2014 could have been a bad year, but I'm counting these 10 books as the silver lining.

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins
Sometimes a book comes around when you need it most. I was in a slump when I picked up Anna and immediately I fell in love with her, Paris and a British boy. I loved Anna and the French Kiss so much I recommended it to anyone who would listen. I bought it's sequels immediately. I squeed (is that a real word? oh well, is to me) and cooed over passages and themes.
Really, AatFK is a book that 16 year old me needed, but would have refused to read. I'm glad I'm more open now.

2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Every summer I like to pick a huge book and make it my project. This year I grabbed 1Q84 and dedicated the most of June lugging it from work to home and back again. I liked to whine about it's lenght and it's slowness but really I loved what I read. 1Q84 made me think. It gave me people living like, well, people - only in a slightly altered universe. It gave me a mystery that I'm still irritated about. It kept me captivated for all of its 1100 pages.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
If Anna and the French Kiss is a book 16 year old me needed. Fangirl is one that 19 year old Sarah would have clung on to for dear life. Fangirl managed to make the more nerdy/fandom parts of my life seem relevant, like they didn't need to be kept in the shadows until someone else mentioned Hogsmead or a Sonic Screwdriver. I loved the chapters of FanFiction and Cath's general attitude. She was for a bad year in college. It was good to see that my second year hellish experience wasn't something that only happened to me.

4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist is everything I needed it to be. It gave me permission, at least as much permission as a book can, to be imperfect while still wanting equality. It's full of Essays on sexism, the media, race, and politics and I loved every single one of them. I want to give a copy to every important lady in my life. It's a great book. Go pick it up.

5. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Family Drama - Check
Infidelity - Check
A Distant Family Sitting Shiva - Check Check Check
Okay I'm a few years behind here, but This is Where I Leave You is a fantastic book.  It's funny and emotional and just great. Gah.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
January was cold. I was snowed in more often than not. Since I couldn't do much else I read. The Divergent series made winter bearable for me. I didn't love Tris, and Four went from interesting to boyfriend worthy to irritating too many times to count, but i loved Roth's dystopian Chicago and the factions.

7. One More Thing by B.J. Novak
This was my favorite short story collections of the year. It's full of fast reads. They're funny and culturally relevant. Plus Novak was always my favorite part of the Office and I just love him in general.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor
Hands down the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series was my favorite set of books this year. Karou was interesting, Akiva was sulky, but cool. The worlds, Angels, Chimera, everything was fantastic.  I did like the first book the best, but they were all fantastic. I have a review of the series coming up later this week with more fangirling, so stick around.

9. Room by Emma Donoghue
I'm going to ask you to be patient with me. I actually finished Room today. I'd put off reading it for years but bought it on a trip to Canada in the spring and needed to read something on hand instead of buying a new book for my kindle. I was immediately sucked into Jack and Ma's world. It didn't matter that it was small and horrifying. I tried to pace myself because sometimes Donoghues proses made me anxious. In the end i finished in about three days and now I'm sitting here, typing this and generally be upset over a book.

10. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
I'm ending my list with a perfectly pleasant book about an outwardly pleasant family who just happens to be crumbling. Dirty laundry is aired during a summer trip to Spain. It's a great, quick read and one of my favorite new releases of 2014.


Christine said...

I teach high school English and recommended Room to some of my more reluctant female readers and they totally ate it up!

Anne Bennett said...

You had a tough year. I am glad to know that books helped you and kept things in perspective. I really liked FANGIRL. I especially liked Levi. There are so few real good guys in literature.

Amber (Books of Amber) said...

Glad you liked Anna! And I agree that Room was a really good read. A bit disturbing, but captivating at the same time!

Aiko said...

I totally agree with your feelings on Room!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read that you had such a tough year! You've read some great books this year! I particularly enjoyed Room when I read it.

Anonymous said...

Glad you discovered Anna and The French Kiss this year! Such a lovely book :D

Happy reading!

Sue Holmes said...

I Loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone - It was definitely the best book I read this year. Fangirl was also on my list.
Sorry for your loss, hope you have a happy 2015

Rachel said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope 2015 looks up for you.
I just discovered Marissa Meyer's books (just read Scarlet and on the long library list for Cress).

Cynthia said...

I have read several books on your list. I read Bad Feminist and it was wonderful. I just read her fiction debut, An Untamed State and it was AMAZING!!!!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

This is Where I Leave You, Room, both books I just loved!