My Top Books of 2014

So, this was blatantly stolen from Alice at Reading Rambo, who stole it from Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads). Although, I only answered the questions I felt like answering, and I waited until weeks into 2015 to do so, because you can’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me!

Number Of Books You Read: I stopped entering my GoodReads at 80 because, well, I can read 20 novels in about a week and it was way more than a week before the end of the year, so I definitely had time to hit my 100-books goal. But I am way better at reading than record keeping, which is no surprise to anyone who has ever spent 10 minutes with me, so naturally I never finished writing them all down.

Number of Re-Reads: I reread most of Maeve Binchy, Pride and Prejudice, all the Harry Potters, The Hunger Games trilogy, and One Fifth Avenue, some of these more than once, because those are the books I reread when I am sad.

Genre You Read The Most From: I recently noticed that female-authored historical fiction is classed Historical Romance, while male authors are under Historical Fiction, WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS ACTUAL BODICE-RIPPING, so I’m starting to think some of this categorization thing is a crock. So, fiction. I read a lot of fiction.

  1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

 This is either Anita Diamont’s The Boston Girl or Menna von Praag’s The House on Hope Street, both of which are contenders to be added to my rereading collection.

  1. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I’d heard really good things about Divergent, but it narrowly missed being my worst book of the year. It’s basically all things people hate in YA (dumb-dumb two-dimensional adults don’t know anything, only kids are smart, there’s a Tortured Love Interest, but they can’t be together because of, uh, reasons, I guess, also the protag is good at everything), with all the things people hate in scifi (this world makes no sense, there is no reason for society to work like this, plus there are blatant ways it isn’t working like this, and also the protag knows everything). I love YA and science fiction, and it was pretty painful to get through.

For a while I used to be pretty obnoxious about having really low expectations going into bestsellers, and this kind of book is exactly why.

 Also I was pretty excited to receive Six of One, but ultimately wasn’t crazy about it.

  1. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

Pear-Shaped by Stella Newman and Pretty In Ink by Lindsay Palmer were both billed as fluffy candy chick lit, but neither one really was. Also, I read Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. I tend to like Hannah’s stories about imperfect relationships, but this one was amazing, a WWII epic adventure, with those human and imperfect relationships, and it brought tears to my eyes.

  1. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

I discovered these Doctor Who short stories, which are basically a nice Doctor Who episode in text. I read Doctor Who: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris, and Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior by Cecelia Ahern. Both of these had cheerful scifi and internal consistency in a bizarre world, just like a good episode of the show, and plus you can tell yourself you’re being an intellectual for reading an entire novel(la) instead of just flopping down in front of the TV.

  1. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Menna Praag of The House on Hope Street. I just received The Dress Shop of Dreams, and I’m really excited to read it.

  1. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Unsure if Paul Strohm’s biography of Chaucer, Chaucer’s Tale, counts as outside my usual, since I don’t typically read biographies but I do always like Chaucer, so… I liked it as much as Terry Jones’ Who Murdered Chaucer?

I guess if I have two favorite Chaucer biographies, it might be a genre I read. On to the next question!

  1. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Megan Abbott’s The Fever. Could not stop reading. Teenage girls fall ill of mysterious malady that has something to do with contaminated lake water, or social media, or divine retribution in Salem witch trials kind of way, or maybe they’re making it all up for attention.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The House At The End of Hope Street, The Boston Girl, An Etiquette Guide To The End Times, also all of Harry Potter, Maeve Binchy, and Pride and Prejudice. Like I do.

 10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

I don’t really notice book covers, partly because I do a great deal of reading on my ereader and partly because I don’t really notice covers anyway.  Besides, I think there’s some adage about covers, books, and the judging of.

  1. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I’ve started to review this one several times, and I can’t do it justice. Amazing characters and amazing imagery.

  1. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

 James is scared about his work. Every time he finishes a piece, he’s scared he won’t get another one. When he gets another assignment (he always does, but it doesn’t make any difference), he’s scared he won’t make the deadline. When he makes the deadline, he’s scared his editor (or editors-there are always faceless editors lurking around in dark little offices at magazines), won’t like the piece. When they like the piece, he’s scared that it won’t get published. When it does get published, he’s scared that no one will read it or talk about it and all his hard work will have been for nothing. If people do talk about it (and they don’t always, in which case he’s scared that he’s not a great journalist), he’s scared that he won’t be able to pull it off again.

Four Blondes, Candace Bushnell

 I went to the house of Caius Julius Caesar, whose wife, we were given to believe, must be above suspicion.

SPQR III: The Sacrilege (The SPQR Roman Mysteries) by John Maddox Roberts
(If you studied classics, this is hilarious. If you didn’t, well, you’re probably not reading a Roman novel anyway.)

This is why I steamed a dish full of radishes. The Internet made me do it.

Half-Assed by Jennette Fulda

  1. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 Decius Caecilus Metellus (the younger) & Hermes

Also Minerva McGonagal & all the students ever

  1. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 All the SPQR novels that I hadn’t already read. Oh, I guess some of those should be on my reread list, too. I restate my earlier point, that reading is fun and record-keeping isn’t.

  1. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Game of Thrones. My Epic friends applied group pressure, but I’m not sorry they did!

  1. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014? 

I have no new fictional crushes because I will never look at another man the way I look at Mr. Darcy. 

  1. Best 2014 debut you read?

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry

  1. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Hunger Games and the SPQR series.

  1. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Marry Smart by Susan Patton. I knew I wasn’t going to like it going in, but I was strangely compelled to see what she said. It was kind of the worst, describing how women have a sell-by date and we better get our hooks into a man with good earning potential, and that the way to do that is through weight loss, highlights, a couple of homemade meals, egostroking, and sexual withholding. But the actual soul-crushing part was the number of reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads saying how true it all was and thanking the author for her honesty.

  1. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Bittersweet. Ugh. Made me mad, didn’t like it.

Top Ten Books of 2014

These are the books that brought me the most enjoyment this year, in various forms.

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2 Responses to My Top Books of 2014

  1. Andrea B. says:

    The Nightingale is on my to-read list, for sure. As is The Boston Girl. And I have Half-Assed on my Kindle.

    Thanks for info on some of the other books – I’ll have to check them out. And look for you on Goodreads if we’re not yet friends!

  2. Jennette says:

    I’ve been so buried in work that I’m only catching up on blogs/email today, so I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner! Thanks for the mention. I can’t remember the last time I steamed radishes, so I think it was an example of temporary insanity.

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