Happy new year, book lovers! I hope you had a wonderful NYE and that you’re not hung over. I characteristically did nothing but read to celebrate NYE, it’s too expensive (and tiring) to do otherwise.
2014 was a mellow year, I focused on working hard and saving money – there haven’t been as many highs as there have lows, but all round it’s been a fine year and a great year for reading.
Much like 2013 and 2012 I have discovered many wonderful books. However, unlike its preceding years there were few books that really blew my mind. The more I read the harder I am finding it to be impressed.
I have read 101 books this year, including one I couldn’t finish and a re-read. That is 13 more books than 2013 and 40 more than 2012. Considering I didn’t expect to read more than 50 books I’m fairly impressed with myself, I must really have avoided social situations to have read this much. I am hoping for a more eventful 2015, so I doubt I’ll have another 100 book year.
I gave 25 books a five-star rating on GoodReads, two more than 2013. However, considering how many more books I read in 2014 I consider this is a lower percentage than both 2013 and 2012.
In chronological order, my five-star books were:
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Some Hope by Edward St. Aubyn
- A Good School by Richard Yates
“Never say anything that doesn’t improve on silence.”
- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
“How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.”
- Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
“What a pull he has! What a magnetism! Women jump off balconies and follow him into wars. Women turn their eyes from an affair, because a marriage of three is better than a woman alone.”
- Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
- The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
- The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
- Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“That life – whatever else it is – is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”
- The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
- Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
“Only the very young and the very old may recount their dreams at breakfast, dwell upon self, interrupt with memories of beach picnics and favourite Liberty lawn dresses and the rainbow trout in the creek near Colorado Springs. The rest of us are expected, rightly, to affect absorption in other people’s favourite dresses, other people’s trout.”
- The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling
- Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
“The only beginning is birth the only ending is death – if you can’t count on that, what can you count on?”
- The Oracle’s Queen by Lynn Flewelling
There is far more fantasy on this list that I think I have had before. I didn’t feel as if anything could replace Parade’s End as my favourite book(s), however, The Secret History came very, very close.
I was surprised by how many books I had considered under par this year, however, the only book in 2014 I regretted reading was Being Binky by Binky Felstead – it wasn’t a book for me.
Outside of reading, I’ve found some wonderful new blogs this year and written for some of my favourites: Don’t Read Too Fast, EmilyBooks, Shiny New Books. It’s been amazing reading them all, and conversing with you on Twitter, it makes book blogging all the more enjoyable.
Special shout out to Jenny @ Reading the End for commenting the most in 2014, especially considering I do not repay the courtesy nearly enough.
Happy New Year, ofBooks readers, it’s been another wondrous year reading with you all.