Monday, December 29, 2014

Where Reading Took Me in 2014

image by Owen Gent

I quietly add the books I've read during the year onto a list on my sidebar which some of you might have noticed, but I do that, really, for my own pleasure. I admit to loving a list, and I get a bit of a thrill going over book ones in particular. Here's my list of the top five books I read this year:

  1. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
  3. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  4. Couples by John Updike
  5. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Here's a list of books that were written by writer friends, all of which I hope you'll buy and read yourself, because they're fantastic:

  1. Life Drawing by Robin Black
  2. Angel Food by Brittany Tuttle
  3. Atmospheric Disturbances by Maggie May Ethridge
  4. Jamaica Dreams by Rosemarie Robotham
  5. Birthmother by Denise Emanuel
  6. Stone and Spring by Brittany Tuttle
  7. Don't Make Me Say Goodbye by Mary Moon
  8. Euphoria by Lily King (she's not really a friend anymore, but she used to be when we went to college together so many years ago. I've lost touch, but I'm proud of her because her book is a huge success and a great read, to boot!)

And here is a list of books that I thought I'd love, that everyone else seemed to love, that disappointed me and that I couldn't even finish:

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  2. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Whether you are a list lover or not, what are your favorite five books of 2014 and your least favorite?


  1. I am next on the library list for Jenny Offill's book yay! I started The Luminaries got about ten pages in then sent it back to the library. I might try it again later on this winter. Good list!

  2. I can't make a list. I should start doing that, though. As you know, I am reading Anthony Doerr's "All The Light We Cannot See" and as you know, it is depressing me but I am plowing through it. It is beautifully written as are all of his books.
    I think my favorite book I read in 2014 was "Life After Life." It keeps coming back to me.
    I thought that "Angel Food Cake" was one of the most original and well-written books I've read ever.
    And your memoir (too short by far!) slayed me.

  3. Your last list is EXACTLY how I felt about Life after Life. Thought I'd love it....didn't. I did love The Invention of Wings, The Paying Guests and On Immunity.

  4. Love those lists! I did like the Goldfinch though, even though it was overwritten and went on way too long. I was traveling and on vacation when i read it. i think that may have helped.

  5. Department of Speculation i absolutely loved. And i have Euphoria, but haven't yet read it. I felt the very same way about Goldfinch and Luminaries. I too adore lists. I really do.

  6. I also couldn't get enough of Euphoria and felt a little sad and wistful when the book ended. But I did also enjoy Goldfinch, even though the middle part in Las Vegas really got bogged down, and it was the kind of book that could lead you down to a very dark place.

  7. Life After Life! I loved this book.
    I made book lists, too.
    I don't always read what just came out. I'm still catching up. Just finished Falling Man by Don Delillo. Beautiful, moving, and the only book about the attack on the twin towers that I've been willing to read.
    I'll add your books to my to-read list.

  8. I liked Falling Man too, Verna, although not nearly as much as White Noise.

    Great lists and thank you for including me! I like Kate Atkinson as well and Updike, always. I want to read Men Explain Things To Me…

    I think Hilary Mantel was my find of the year. Her books on Thomas Cromwell are simply breathtaking.



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