2014 Top 10 List



2014 Top 10 Part 1

The Children Act, by Ian McEwan
I am an unabashed Ian McEwan fan, and his newest book, or rather novella, was just right. As I commented in my review, this book was directly in my wheelhouse, as it deals with the law. McEwan hits all of the right notes. The story seems simple, but there are so many questions left to ponder when it ends.

Dangerous, by Shannon Hale
I really appreciated this novel take on the YA novel. Shannon Hale just has such range. This one is a science fiction YA book with a very “other” protagonist as far as boxes go, but she is, refreshingly, just a regular teen. Another favorite of mine this year (and a hit with my four-year-old daughter), was The Princess in Black, by Shannon and her husband Dean.

100 Days of Real Food, by Lisa Leake
This cookbook had a real impact on me this year. The first part of the book is more like a nonfiction book about the author’s blog challenge to only eat whole foods for 100 days, with resources and tips on how to do that. I loved reading about the author’s journey. The second part is the recipes. I tried over a dozen recipes from this book, and they were all really good.

California, by Edan Lupecki
Compulsively readable is an overused term, but this book was. I was drawn in not only by the apocalyptic setting but also by the very real and relatable characters. Also, three cheers for a book actually about married people (and not just the courtship or the unraveling). I’ve got my fingers crossed that this makes it into the Tournament of Books.

How To Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
This was not a book I particularly enjoyed reading. But. Moran’s observations, especially about sexism were right on and kept me thinking about them for weeks (and months) after I finished the book.


2014 Top 10 Part 2

How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid
This book is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is that it is written in second person. The second person narration really brought me into the story, and the descriptions have evoked locations and scenes that I can still recall.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
I didn’t “like” reading about the horrors in this book. But this is probably the book that had the longest impact on me this year. Plus, it is a fascinating book to discuss with others. I had many enjoyable conversations about this book with readers and non-readers alike this year.

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
Boy, did I struggle to get through this book. I read it over the course of several months, which is fairly unusual for me. I read several other books while I read it. So, it may seem like a surprising addition to this list. But it isn’t really. The scenes and characters will stay with me for a long time. And though there were sometimes weeks in between my reading sessions, I had no trouble at all picking up where I left off.

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Even though I counted this as three books read this year, I’m only counting it as one on the list. (It is my bookish life, after all.) Anyway, it’s obviously a classic, and it’s been on my list to read for. ev. er. I’m so glad that I finally read it all the way through, and that it lived up to the hype for me.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
I had not read this book since high school. And I surprised myself by really loving it. The character development of Huck Finn is profound. I listened to the Audible version, read by Elijah Wood. He did an amazing job with the voices and dialects. It was easily the best audio book I listened to this year.

It was a good reading year. Interestingly, I read a lot of books I really liked, but not so many that I loved. This list is less of a favorite-books-this-year list, and more of a these-books-impacted-me-the-most-this-year list.

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

What books impacted you this year?