Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 2014 Favorite Reads

I set a new personal record this year:  I read 67 books in 2014.  I am currently reading 3 that I doubt I will finish by midnight on New Year's Eve, so 67 it is.  I actually "planned" to read 3 books a month this year, but thanks to a nasty year of insomnia laced nights, I almost doubled my goal.  Who needs sleep anyway?

So, here's a Goodreads' list of everything I read this year:  https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/1218092.  

And, here's my list of my favorite reads of 2014 (in no particular order):

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker--Just finished this gem yesterday!  So very different than my typical read.  Remarkable characters and a magical story.  4.5 stars.

Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard--FASCINATING!  Yes, I'm a history nerd, but this book is terribly interesting (even to "normal" people).  5 stars.

Before Amen:  The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado--Really applicable and doable.  I think about this book almost every day.  4.5 stars.

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy--Absolutely charming and completely darling.  I want to go to Ireland...now.  My first, but not my last, Maeve Binchy book.  4.5 stars.

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson--I've had this book forever, but when I saw the movie was coming out (which I have not seen) I moved it to the top of the TBR pile.  Great thriller.  Twisted.  4 stars.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool--Sweet, adventurous, and smart.  I fell in love with Early Auden.  Beautifully written and I can understand the many prizes for which this book has been nominated.  5 stars.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty--This woman can write!  I've loved all of her books, but this may be my favorite.  A very unusual murder mystery.  It's my favorite book of 2014.  Loved it!  5 stars.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr--What a beautiful book!  It's heart wrenching, though (be warned).  Even though it's a WWII book, it's not really a WWII book.  Stunning.  4.5 stars.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion--A romantic comedy that's equally odd and charming.  I didn't know it was the beginning of a series when I read it, but I'm so glad!  The sequel comes out soon and I can't wait to laugh at/with Don Tillman.  4 stars.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra--Haunting!  I know little, shamefully, about Chechnya, so I learned a lot from this book.  A lot I wish had never happened.  This book is fiction, but you forget that while reading.  Powerful and outstanding.  4.5 stars.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham--I loved A Time to Kill and I loved this sequel.  Typical Grisham with a little less predictability.  Thoroughly enjoyed this one.  5 stars.

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain--I learned from this book:  about my husband, my daughter, some of my friends, and, certainly, myself.  Fascinating stuff.  Lots of buzz about this book for a couple of years now.  Well deserved praise.  4.5 stars.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult--Amazing story!  I'm not a huge Picoult fan, but she won me back with this novel.  So many deep issues!  A great, although painful at times, read.  4.5 stars. 

My "find" this year is The Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box.  I have read the first 5 books of the series in 2014.  I plan to fill 2015 with the remaining books of the Joe Pickett series.  I would have never picked these modern westerns up on my own, but thankfully my sister, aunt, and mother kept on me about them.  I have recommended them to many.  Great series with realistic, flawed characters you can't help but love. 4.5 stars, average.

I had a goal to read through the Bible in 2014.  I read The One Year Chronological Bible NIV and really enjoyed the chronological approach.  I used the reading plan at www.bible.com through YouVersion.

I doubt I can top 67 books in 2015, but we'll see.  So many books, so little time.  I am hoping to increase my sleeping hours a lot in 2015, so I may have to read less (or faster).  

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!!