Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 in review: Books

If only one blog entry gets written by me every year, it'll be this list! Year nine. Here it is; the books I read in 2014:

1. Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh
2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
3. Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage - Rob Delaney
4. Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
5. Unmasked & Anonymous: Shimon & Lindemann Consider Portraiture - John Shimon, Julie Lindemann, Lisa Hostetler
6. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
7.  Allegiant - Veronica Roth
8. Farmer Boy - Laura Ingalls Wilder
9. Independent Study - Joelle Charbonneau
10. Thank You For Your Service - David Finkel
11. Assassination Vacation - Sarah Vowell
12. The Disaster Artist - Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell
13. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
14. A House in the Sky - Amanda Lindhout & Sarah Corbett
15. Selected Poems - Frank O'Hara
16. The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd
17. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
18. Kindred - Octavia E. Butler
19. At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson
20. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
21. The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkowski
22. The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson
23. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi
24. Dogtripping - David Rosenfelt
25. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - Marjane Satrapi
26. Pale Horse, Pale Rider - Katherine Anne Porter
27. Panic - Lauren Oliver
28. Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers - Don George & Lonely Planet
29. After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story - Michael Hainey
30. Life, On the Line - Grant Achatz & Nick Kokonas
31. The Art of Clean Up - Ursus Wehrli
32. The Emperor of All Maladies - Siddhatha Mukherjee
33. An Untamed State - Roxane Gay
34. The Taking - Kimberly Derting
35. Glitter and Glue - Kelly Corrigan
36. Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening - Carol Wall
37. Blood Will Out - Walter Kirn
38. The One - Kiera Cass
39. Me Before You - JoJo Moyes
40. Free to Fall - Lauren Miller
41. Written in My Own Heart's Blood - Diana Gabaldon
42. The Last Letter From Your Lover - JoJo Moyes
43. Pioneer Girl - Bich Minh Nguyen
44. People Who Eat Darkness - Richard Lloyd Parry
45. A Beautiful Blue Death - Charles Finch
46. The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith
47. Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater
48. Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King
49. One Plus One - JoJo Moyes
50. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
51. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
52. Dear Luke, We Need To Talk, Darth - John Moe
53. Landline - Rainbow Rowell
54. A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki
55. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
56. The Magician's Land - Lev Grossman
57. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
58. The Secret Place - Tana French
59. Rooms - Lauren Oliver
60. Ship of Brides - JoJo Moyes
61. Food: A Love Story - Jim Gaffigan
62. Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater
63. Revival - Stephen King

Total books read: 63. Not as many as some previous years, but more than 2013's 44. I made more of a conscious effort to read real books last year, and I'm glad I did. In 2015 I'm going give the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge a try, because who doesn't like to cross items off lists? NOT THIS LADY. 

Previously read: 1 (2%) That's, uh, more than 2013's 0%, but not by much.

Marketed for children/teens: 12 (19%) That's fewer than 2013, as a percentage of the total. At the same time, the total seems slightly misleading. I like YA books because I can usually count on them for an enjoyable (enough) read with less mental taxation than I might expect from a non-YA book. However, you'll notice that the list above includes a decent number of books by Rainbow Rowell and JoJo Moyes. Nothing against these two authors, but, for me, their books fill the same role as many YA novels: mental popcorn, basically. Fun, uncomplicated, hard to stop once you've started, a slight lingering feeling of "blech" after you've binge-read the whole thing. The first book I read by JoJo Moyes, Me Before You, was actually a bit of an exception. I've haven't found the same emotional depth in her other books yet, but I'm happy to keep reading anyway. 

Fiction: 40 (63%)
Nonfiction: 23 (37%)
By percentages, more nonfiction than 2013. Lots of memoirs, but a pretty decent sprinkling of informational nonfiction as well. I tackled The Emperor of All Maladies while I was on sabbatical, and managed to finish in time to leave the book in our final Athens hotel. Emperor was a fascinating look at the history of what we know about cancer, and how we're treating it today. I already touched on my 2014 fiction-reading habits above. One category I might give more attention in the future is "authors previously read." Looking at my list, it seems I'm very much a loyalty-based reader of fiction. I need more recommendations for branching out.

You should definitely read: Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider. Porter is a compelling character herself, though I knew nothing about her before reading the introduction to this book of three novellas. Each is interesting in its own way, but the title tale blew me away. It's the most amazing contemporary story about World War I I've read. Much like Hearts in Atlantis is a great book about the Vietnam War that was mostly written around it rather than about it, Pale Horse, Pale Rider made life during WWI real to me in a way I'd never experienced before.

Don't bother reading: The Winner's Curse by Maria Rutkowski. Set in one of those popular YA fantasy worlds, this book was pretty unmemorable for me. Reading back through a summary, it's only vaguely familiar. What I do remember is that I didn't like it. That's probably enough, right? Judging from most of the blog reviews I found online (which are probably written by many people much younger than I am), I'm in the minority here. I'm comfortable with that.

1 comment:

Miss Taken said...

I was hoping you'd at least do this post!!! I'm not even kidding you. YES!!!!!!!!