Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Year In Books - 2014

In the same strain as last year's round-up, I wanted to report on the things I've read this year. I did pretty good as far as my reading schedule goes - I made a goal to read 24 books (2 books per month), and I ended up reading 31! It's nice to sign into Goodreads and see this off to the side:
129% suckahs!  Heck yes :) I not only read more, but I feel the quality of what I read was very good overall. I did succumb to a few YA and pop novels, but a few of the classics I read definitely make up for those (Les Mis, I'm lookin at you). Some of these I have yet to write reviews about, but I will update this list as I post about them. So, here is what I read in 2014:
  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  5. My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
  6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (ugh)
  8. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
  9. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  10. Sanditon by Jane Austen
  11. Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
  12. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  13. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  14. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  15. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  16. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan
  17. When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris
  18. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  19. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  20. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  21. After The Funeral by Agatha Christie
  22. The Mermaid: A Love Tale by Lily Dougall
  23. Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte
  24. The Book of Mormon
  25. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  26. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  27. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  28. Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  29. Who Switched Off My Brain? by Caroline Leaf
  30. An Education by Lynn Barber
  31. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
This year seems to have brought out some new trends in what I like to read. According to my ratings, I am less and less satisfied with modern novels and I favor classics and non-fiction. I've grown to really detest YA fiction, lol, to the extent that if something is even in that category it will make me not want to read it. I crave the depth of characters provided in classic fiction. It's funny to think I'm a classic book lover now when I think of what a drudgery I found reading them back in high school. I guess it shows I've grown or something :) I also have discovered I love autobiographies of people I admire, and I do love books that have interesting or strange perspectives (ahem, Neil Gaiman). Toward the end of the year, I started looking into non-fiction, particularly about general attitude improvement and brain function. I'm becoming pretty involved in the search for why we think and feel the way we do and what we can do about it (hopefully that makes sense) - I know it will be a subject that I can learn about throughout my life as there's no way to every know or understand the human mind. I'm happy with what I have learned in my reading thus far though.
I've read so many great books this year that it is impossible to pick a definitive favorite. I will just let you know which books I gave 5 out of 5 stars:
  • The Silver Linings Playbook
  • Anna Karenina
  • Les Misérables
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Watership Down
See what I mean? There is only one modern book on that list. I have turned into a literary snob, but there is no denying the superior quality of these stories that have stood the test of time, some of them for hundreds of years. The characters are so much more developed and real in these older books, and none of them are afraid to give you enough back story to understand them on a deeper level. I honestly look forward to the many books I have yet to read in my life. I'm up to 239 thus far that I can count - only 761 left to go to reach my life goal!

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