Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Looking Back at 2014

I bet you thought you were done with these crazy end of the year lists. But this gal went on vacation at the beginning of the year so you are getting my best of 2014 now. Enjoy!

Books Reviewed in 2014: 105
Pages Read: 35, 671
Fiction: 89

Non-fiction: 16
Books by male authors: 32
Books by female authors: 73

Favorite new (to me) authors: Chris Cleave, Anthony Doerr, Gabrielle Zevin

Favorite book covers: 

Everything Beautiful Began After Horrorstör  Emma
Tigerman   The Arabian Nights  Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes

Best Books of 2014

There were a few books that I loved in 2014 that everyone else adored too - Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See and Rainbow Rowell's Landlinefor example. But I really want to highlight some books that flew under the radar during this past year.

The Empathy Exams: Essays
The Empathy Exams is a stunning collection of essays. Leslie Jamison asks us to look with a discerning and compassionate eye at what we believe about empathy for ourselves and the people in our lives. 

Tigerman confirms for readers that Nick Harkaway can write just about anything. This novel is quirky and heartfelt and a whole lot of fun.

Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity
Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity  showcases Jen Hatmaker's ability to make you laugh while also making you evaluate everything you thought you knew about following Christ. I haven't seen this book in months because I've been lending it out to people.

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
The Girls At The Kingfisher Club is the tale of The 12 Dancing Princesses set among the speakeasies of the 1920s. The story is fun, the setting seems to come to life around you, and the relationship between the sisters will remind you of your bond with your own siblings.

Astonish Me
Astonish Me is an excellently written book about desire and settling, and finding a balance between pursuing your own dreams while loving and supporting the people in your life. 

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes
Bread and Wine is part cookbook, part memoir, and all wonderful. Shauna Niequist imbues every page of this book with graciousness as she invites you to open your home, invite some people in, and start loving them by sharing food and sharing stories. 

Want Not
Want Not is a story about people grappling with wastefulness and in Miles' capable hands, you will be thinking about his characters and their decisions long after the story is over. 

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)
The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches continues the adventures of Flavia de Luce, one precocious scientist and detective. This book is a tipping point for the series as Bradley makes big decisions that will affect the future of our beloved heroine.

From my review of Hild: "Many critics are happily touting Hild as a feminist book. I think this is probably the case but, in a wonderful turn of events, it is a wonderful and engaging story too. We can only hope that the real Hild was as determined, flawed, and fascinating as Nicola Griffith has written her. "

Hands to Hold for People Trying Not to Cry in Public Places
Hands To Hold For People Trying Not To Cry In Public Places is a book I loved, but I must confess that my sister is the author. She's a college student who writes wonderfully observant poems. 

So how did 2014 go for you? What was your favorite book? Did you find a new favorite author or genre? 


  1. Hooray for Jane Austen! The Empathy Exams is on my TBR list.

    1. It's so, so good. So much of nonfiction is for a niche group of readers but I think that book should be read by everyone!

  2. 105 books, well, what a year!

    I love all the covers you shared, but Emma is definitely winning it for me. I hadn't seen that cover until your blog and loved it instantly!

    Two authors I'm glad to have discovered in 2014 are Ira Levin and Rainbow Rowell.

    I hope 2015 is another great reading year, Lindsey!
    Bits & Bobs

    1. The Emma one is gorgeous. Penguin has the coolest cover designs. :)

  3. I love covers, and I wish I had thought to include my fave from 2014 :)

    By the way, I must have missed when you reviewed your sister's poetry book-- oh my, that poem you shared, Oak, is wonderful! I am an older woman so I don't know if that book would apply to my feelings, but perhaps for my younger daughter, who is in her early 20s.

    Thanks for sharing your list here. I love, love, love to read folks' "best of" and "favorites" lists.

    1. I know I'm a bit biased, but I thought it was a really beautiful collection of poems! I'm glad you enjoyed that one. :)

  4. I had Astonish Me on my TBR for last year and never got to it. I'm hoping to get to it in the next few months - I loved Shipstead's Seating Arrangements!