I read 100 books in 2014 in various formats, including graphic novels, audiobooks and a few e-books. I am willing to read pretty much any genre (though I’ve never found a western that grabbed my interest…yet). I was going over my reading from last year in order to fill out a readership survey, so I thought I’d mention my top books of 2014. I narrowed it down to 7 for the sake of this post, but I read a lot of good ones. (Links are to Amazon for convenience, but they are not affiliate links.)
Yes Please – Amy Poehler (audio)
I am a big fan of Parks & Recreation, but I loved Amy Poehler from her SNL days. This book ties the next one for the best audio of the year because Amy Poehler herself is the narrator. She even has a bunch of special guests, including Patrick Stewart who reads haikus about plastic surgery. (I mean what else do you want out of life?) I loved the tone of this book, how honest she is and how genuinely, laugh out loud alone in the car hilarious. During the chapter about an apology she needed to make that was a long-time coming, I sat in my car in silence with tears in my eyes. So wonderfully written.
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (audio)
This was my first Rainbow Rowell book, but after finishing it, I read all of her other books. Eleanor & Park is YA, and it reminds you in the best way possible of when you were that age – the feeling that life was new and exciting, but also so heavy and scary at the same time. Her writing is riveting – you find yourself rooting for the characters, which in this book are two teenagers, one overweight red-headed girl from a broken family and a half Korean skinny, comic loving boy. This was an audio that made me sit in my garage to finish chapters before I could get myself inside after working all day. That tells you the level of good that this book is. It will be a movie in the next year or two, and I’m almost hesitant to see it because the Eleanor and Park that I’ve built in my head are just so lovely. Listen to this one on audio, because the narrators are amazeballs. Next to Amy Poehler, the best narrators of any other audio book I’ve ever listened to.
Dystopia is probably my favorite genre and it has been since my senior year of college. I read a lot of dystopian books, but Station Eleven takes the cake for my favorite adult dystopia of 2014. It takes place 20+ years after a flu pandemic wipes out most of humanity and it’s about how the lives of many characters intersect. It includes a traveling symphony and theater troupe that performs Shakespeare across what’s left of the U.S. I loved that it didn’t rely on the tropes that are becoming so common in dystopia series, but instead relied on the strength of the writing and the characters. I listened to this on audio, but I think I might have even enjoyed it more had I been able to see the words – just to soak the language in. (That’s a book nerd phrase if I ever wrote one.)
While I didn’t start this series in 2014, I finished it this year. It’s a dystopia in graphic novel form, where a guy named Yorick is suddenly the last man on earth – literally. It’s about what happens to him and to the world when the men are all gone. Lots of great art and a riveting story. I read them in the Deluxe Book editions, which gave me more at a time to consume. Definitely recommend reading it that way.
I’d say that The Martian is sci-fi for people who don’t like sci-fi, but that’s doing sci-fi lovers a disservice. Because this book is so fun. Probably the most sheer fun I’ve had reading a book in awhile. It’s the story of an astronaut who is accidentally abandoned on Mars by his crew when they mistakenly believe him to be dead and need to abort their mission. I was riveted to the story and so caught up in the humor of the astronaut that I devoured this book without chewing.
I reviewed this on the blog when I read it, and you can read that review here. But needless to say, this was my favorite food book of the year. It gave me new ideas and presented the future of food with new insight and optimism. And made me really want to go eat at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
This is the eighth book in the Outlander series and I eagerly awaited being able to read it when the library hold system got around to sharing it with me. I am still amazed at how much I love this series, since it’s historical fiction and romance, which are two of my “eh, what?” genres. But something about the relationship between the main characters, Claire and Jaime, has kept me coming back and devouring every book and novella in the series. These are doorstopper books though – if you get as far as this book, you will have read something close to 7,000 pages at least. Worth it.
So what did you read in 2014 that was worth noting?