2014 would have to come close to the biggest year of reading I’ve ever had. It was helped along by some real page turners, the countless picture books my children have been read, Miss Five’s discovery of chapter books and the completion of the first of two years of a master’s course. There were days where all I really did was read in one form or another. It’s a very good thing that above pretty much everything else, I LOVE to read. I would pick it ahead of TV, gardening, cooking or pretty much any of my other leisure pursuits.
So here’s a list of the books I’ve read (for me) for pleasure. I’ve linked to those I’ve reviewed (I’m very far behind on writing the reviews).
1. Murder with the Lot – Sue Williams
2. All I Know – Mary Coustas (NF)
3. The Marriage Plot – Jeffery Eugenides
4. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
5. The One Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Joansson
6. The Last Days of the National Costume – Anne Kennedy
7. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
8. All That I Am – Anna Funder
9. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan
10. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (YA)
11. Reading Magic – Mem Fox (NF)
12. Three Dollars – Elliot Perlman
13. Lilian’s Story – Kate Grenville
14. Far from the Tree – Andrew Solomon (NF)
15. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – Jonas Jonasson
16. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
17. The Railway Man – Eric Lomax (NF)
18. A Fortunate Life – A. B. Facey (NF)
19. Railsea – China Meilville (YA)
20. The Promise – Tony Birch
21. Nine Parts of Desire – Geraldine Brooks (NF)
22. 12 Years a Slave – Solomon Northup (NF)
23. A Fictional Woman – Tara Moss (NF)
24. In The Woods – Tana French
25. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
26. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
27. How to Kill Your Husband (and other Handy Household Hints) – Kathy Lettes
28. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (YA)
29. The Husbands Secret – Liane Moriarty
30. The Red Queen – Phillipa Gregory
31. Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
32. Catching Fire (Book #2 Hunger Games) – Suzanne Collins (YA)
33. The Wife Drought – Annabel Crabb (NF)
That’s almost three books a month, not a bad effort. But of these 33 books which were the best, which were less pleasing (I don’t finish the ones that I really don’t like) and what did I learn in my year of reading (other than an awful lot about how to write an academic literature review and prepare a research proposal – I won’t bore you with those).
Top Five – these are the books that stay with me the most, that got under my skin or into my head.
1. Gone Girl
2. The Promise
3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
4. 12 Years a Slave
5. The Husbands Secret (almost equally Big Little Lies – same author)
The Hunger Games books (of which I’m three quarters of the way through the third one) came close also, but that may be because I’ve been reading them most recently.
1. How to Kill Your Husband – Kathy Lettes’ joke wore pretty thin pretty quickly
2. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – only because I read it too close to the first Jonas Jonasson book and they are VERY similar.
3. The Last Days of the National Costume – interesting idea, poor execution
Everything else was worth the minutes and hours dedicated to it. I think that makes for a pretty successful year of reading.
So what did I learn:
1. My favourite authors never let me down – these include Philippa Gregory, Elliot Perlman and Jeffrey Eugenides from this year’s selection. I think I’ll always retreat to my small list of favourite authors at some point every year purely for the fact that I know it’s going to be a great read.
2. Non-fiction has much more to offer than I had previously thought – this year I read nine non-fiction books, including a couple of memoir/biographies and all were enlightening in some way.
3. There is a wealth of great reading for young adults (and old adults alike) which bodes well for creating a new generation of avid readers – hopefully I’ll produce two of them!
4. I’ve discovered some really great new authors this year and I hope they keep writing so I can keep reading there work.
5. I haven’t delved into the classics much at all this year – with perhaps the exception of A Fortunate Life. 2015 I shall endeavour to remedy this!
So tell me about your 2014 in books. What did you love? What did you not love? What did you learn? And most importantly, what’s on your summer reading list? I’m off for ten days at the beach which for me means READING TIME!