One thing you should know about me is that I love to read. LOVE to read. Odds are, there’s a book in purse at all times. I’m the type who is already reading about four books at once, but there’s a system to it. Maybe we’ll cover that in a future blog post.
As the blog world is just DYING to know more about me I’m sure – isn’t that why the internet exists, for everyone to talk about themselves? – I think books are going to feature often here. So to kick if off, I’m doing my top five fiction and top five nonfiction of 2014!
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of good descriptors/reasons why these are my top five for fiction. I read fiction for its entertainment value. Therefore, I don’t have a lot to say about why I loved these. Also, they’re only loosely ranked: don’t hold me to their order.
When picking books to read this year, the biggest factors were
1) read the books I already own (mostly picked up at thrift stores or given to me)
2) read the ‘classics’
I put the air quotes on classics because that seems to be a fluid concept. But as a lover of books I’d like to be well-read, so I’m trying to catch up on the ones I didn’t read in high school English and read them, in audiobook form where possible (got to love public domain). So, without further ado, here are my top five fiction reads of 2014:
Oh, how I loved this book! I love dystopias, I love young adult lit, I love books that deal with personality and psychology, I love coming of age novels. This was all four. I confess I read it after I saw the movie. It had been on my “to-read” list for years but I never got around to picking it up at the library until after I’d seen and loved the movie. Still haven’t read Insurgent or Allegiant, but I’ve got both on hold at the library so any day now.
2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
Like most American kids, I read Tom Sayer and Huck Finn in grade school and liked them but didn’t quite seen what the fuss was about. But I’ve recently gotten back into Twain because you guys, he is funny. His main character gets transported back in time and takes modern stuff and introduces them to medieval society. It’s pretty fun, and made more so because the “modern” technologies he invents aren’t all that modern now. Imagine what Twain would’ve written if they’d had the internet back then!
3. Sensible Shoes, Sharon Garlough Brown
It’s a semi-fictional story of four women growing spiritually together. Each brings a different background and baggage to the table, and slowly they begin to work through it all with the Lord and with each other. One thing I love about it is that while its clear that these women would’ve never chosen each other for themselves, the relationships they build with each other are believable and a great example of the way Christ can unite very different people, if they’re just willing to engage. It’s primarily a story, but each chapter is built around their experiencing a spiritual discipline (translation: way of praying, worshipping, or interacting with God) and includes the “how” of each one. I loved the way Brown built learning new ways to interact with God into a narrative.
I don’t quite know how to describe this book. It’s got a love story. It spans decades and three continents. It follows a woman from London to a Malayan village (Malaysian? the book was written in 1950, so sometimes I’m not 100% on translating the geography) back to London and finally to Australia. She is a secretary, a prisoner of war, a wealthy philanthropist, and an entrepreneur at various times. It’s a great read. It’s dramatic, but not over the top. There’s a happy ending, but it’s not unbelievable. Great story all around, although I freely admit I’ll read anything that’s set in Australia regardless of plot or genre.
Dracula was a great audiobook choice. Each chapter is told by a different character, so you get a variety of perspectives, which is fun. In the audiobook I got, a different person voiced each character, which made it easier to keep track of who was who. The book is set up as a collection of the various characters’ recordings in diaries or letters to each other. It was a fun read, more entertaining than many of the classics I’ve read this year. Maybe I should say more plot-driven than some.
That’s all of them folks! Harder than I anticipated – many of them I read six or ten months ago, and couldn’t remember why I loved them, just that I did. Just how my brain works.
Stay tuned for the nonfiction best of 2014 coming soon!