• Annual Book Report

    Date: 2014.12.31 | Category: Books | Tags:

    2014 was a productive year for reading. I have a healthy  (or maybe obsessively unhealthy) appetite for reading and audiobooks and, according to my Shelfari account, I read 88 books in 2014. I think that may be a new record. I have a feeling that number will dramatically decrease next year after the twins come, but I’ve got to enjoy it while I can, right? Too many books to review, so I’m going to pull some of my stand outs and highlight them here.

    YA Book Trilogy That I Thought Would Be Cheesy But Actually Turned Out to Be Kind of Creepy and Good



    The Immortal Rules
    The Eternity Cure
    The Forever Song

    by Julie Kagawa

    I think with the content of these books, they definitely lean toward more adult than young adult. But these books are what vampires should be. They are creepy, insane, cut throat and blood thirsty, while still managing to find their human side (at least some of them anyway). The setting was well done, and while the story sometimes lagged (especially at the beginning of the third one), all three books were well done and drew to a satisfying conclusion.

    Book That Made Me Nostalgic for My Own Marriage

    Landline by Rainbow Rowell

    Have you been in a relationship for a long time? Please read this book. Yes, it starts sad and the premise is kind of weird and a downer, but it made me remember the warmth of beginning a relationship and the joy of building it through the years. One of my favorite reads in 2014.

    Trilogy That Reminded Me of Lost in a Good Way

    The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

    Liked Lost? Loved the creepy and mysterious aspects of it, but weren’t crazy about the show’s ending? Even if you liked the show’s ending, or haven’t seen the show, just read these. They are so mysterious and creepy and good.

    Favorite New Fantasy Sub-Genre Book (Psychics)

    The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

    Slow start, but great story about a group of people with psychic powers persecuted by the government and rounded up in to an alien controlled penal colony. Sounds weird and far-fetched. It is, but it’s great, complete with excellent world building.

    Page Turner That Made Me Scared of Social Media

    The Circle by David Eggers

    If you ever feel like social media is a bit too invasive and you sort of want to run and hide in an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods, this book might push you over the edge. It’s a little too prescient and spooky and will probably make you question everything you share and like online. Read it.

    Best Anthropologically Oriented Book

    Toss up between The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Euphoria by Lily King

    One is a tome with great insight into overzealous missionary mentality and stubbornness, the other a short fictionalized take on the life of Margaret Mead. Both are worth reading and both make me want to find more books in this genre. The Poisonwood Bible, in particular, really stuck with me.

    Book that I Closed and Said, “Wow.”

    Red Rising by Pierce Brown

    This book was sort of like Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games. It is intense and violent, but the story is gripping (after about the first 1/4 of it anyway) and I found myself absolutely engrossed in every moment of it. I enjoyed it so much that I contacted the author via social media to tell him so, and he wrote back to me, which of course made me even more smitten with the series (if you can be smitten with a book about a brilliant, brokenhearted young man going undercover and staging an uprising against a controlling elite society) . The second book in the series, Golden Son, comes out next week and I am counting down the days.

    The Pulitzer Prize Winner

    The Known World by Edward P. Jones

    I admit, in general, I have not liked books that have won big awards. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m hesitant to pick them up. This was picked for my book club, and while it was heavy (the topic was southern slavery), it was beautiful and moving and incredibly well written. One that will stick with me.

    Favorite YA Read

    Paper Towns by John Green

    I read a lot of young adult literature, and John Green is certainly the rock star author of YA right now, especially after The Fault in Our Stars book and movie were mega hits. I love that book, but Paper Towns may be my favorite of his. I love mysteries, and this book has a great mystery surrounded by a hilarious and determined set of characters on a quest. Parts of this book  made me laugh until tears rolled down my face and the plot was paced well and kept me guessing until the end. They just finished filming the movie of this one, so take it from me, now’s the time to read it so you know what everyone’s talking about when it comes out in theatres next year.

    Best Non-Fiction Reading

    Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

    If you’re like me, then you’ve probably just written Scientology off as some celebrity fad religion hyped up to draw attention and bring publicity (any publicity) into the life of Tom Cruise. This book will change your perspective on that. Jenna Miscavige is the niece of the man who runs the Scientology religion across the globe.  This book is just crazy. I picked it up expecting it to be crazy, but like, laugh at the crazy people kind of crazy, not be appalled by the way they treat people crazy. This book was utterly horrifying and fascinating – like a train wreck. If you’re curious about Scientology, this one is worth reading.

    ***

    I just realized when I was making this list that I was hooked on books that creeped me out this year. I’m not sure what that’s about, but take it from someone who is generally a scaredy cat that these are worth digging into all the same. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Happy reading!