FINALLY! Here I am. BOOKS! I sailed through this 2014 reading challenge like a feather on the wind. I’m very surprised I did so, to be honest, as I read some incredibly hefty books, and I spent the first half of the year not reading at all. Something about travel tears me away from it. When I’m on a plane or bus bound to some new destination, I find myself people watching and daydreaming. I do my best thinking on airplanes. (When I’m not blind with panic, that is.)
I think I’m getting better at knowing what books I’ll love, because most of these were really, really good.
A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout
What is the What – Dave Eggers
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth
Beyond Belfast – Will Ferguson
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea – Thomas Cahill
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath – Sylvia Plath
Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzakis
The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
The Shoemaker’s Wife – Adriana Trigiani
The Jade Peony – Wayson Choy
Let’s Get Lost – Adi Alsaid
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel GarcÃÂa MÃ¡rquez
The Painted Girls – Cathy Marie Buchanan
Through Black Spruce – Joseph Boyden
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
29 – Mary Sojourner
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven – Susan Jane Gilman
The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
Unsaid – Neil Abramson
Until I Find You – John Irving
It Sucked and Then I Cried – Heather B. Armstrong
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
All the Lights We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Number Of Books You Read: 30
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fiction
1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
CAN I PICK THREE? Iâ€™m going to. NO WAIT. FOUR. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS this year.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didnâ€™t?
Gone Girl â€“ Gillian Flynn. I DID love the book, but it was not what I expected.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven â€“ Susan Jane Gilman. In a good way. Mostly because I judged it by the cover.
5. Book You â€œPushedâ€ The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
A House in the Sky â€“ Amanda Lindhout. Recommended to everyone. One of the most emotionally jarring books I have ever, ever read. It lingered with me throughout the year, and just thinking about it now brings me to tears. And the subsequent reactions from the reviewers.
6. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
The Divergent series, because it was a light and riveting read and I REALLY needed it when I was travelling around Europe.
7. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Joseph Boyden. Canadian lit gold. Fantastic, brilliant.
8. Best book from a genre you donâ€™t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane â€“ Neil Gaiman. I donâ€™t read fantasy/sci-fi much anymore, so this was a treat.
9. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout. Could NOT put down.
10. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None. Not much of a re-reader. :)
11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Let’s Get Lost â€“ Adi Alsaid
12. Most memorable character of 2014?
Alma Whittaker from The Signature of All Things, hand down. Brilliant woman. Who knew Iâ€™d find mosses so fascinating? Close runner up: Iris Chase from The Blind Assassin.
13. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
I loved everything in my top four, but I THINK All the Lights We Cannot See would beat them all. There was one entire chapter I reread three times because it left me breathless.
14. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
A House in the Sky â€“ Amanda Lindhout. That anyone can endure such a brutal experience is beyond my understanding. Amanda Lindhout is the bravest person I know, even if she made some very terrible decisions in her journalistic life. It was some of the reviews that really sparked some feminist rage in me, though. I wrote a lot about it.
14. Book you canâ€™t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
A Prayer to Owen Meany – John Irving. Huge Irving fan, and youâ€™d think Iâ€™d read this book much earlier. I canâ€™t decide if this is my favourite book of his, or The Cider House Rules.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
â€œI felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.â€
â€• Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
â€œPerhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.â€
â€• Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
Longest Read: Until I Find You â€“ John Irving
Shortest Read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane â€“ Neil Gaiman
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Definitely Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Damn!
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
The Shoemaker’s Wife
by Adriana Trigiani is maybe the only romance I read this year, and I loved it. Ciro and Enza win.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Zorba and the narrator, OBVS!
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author Youâ€™ve Read Previously
John Irving â€“ A Prayer for Owen Meany
21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Cellist of Sarajevo â€“ Steven Galloway. Recommended by my tour guide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Is it wrong to say I have a crush on Alma Whittaker from The Signature of All Things? What a woman.
23. Best 2014 debut you read?
Letâ€™s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid might be the ONLY debut I read.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane â€“ Neil Gaiman
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Beyond Belfast â€“ Will Ferguson. Dudeâ€™s hilarious.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
I cry pretty much during EVERY BOOK. Every book in my top four for sure. Sobbed through A House in the Sky, and All The Lights We Cannot See. And actually, What is the What by Dave Eggers too. Exceptional.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
29 â€“ Mary Sojourner. Beautiful.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
What is the What â€“ Dave Eggers. In a good way.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
I really enjoyed how Gone Girl was written. Very conversational.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesnâ€™t necessarily mean you didnâ€™t like it)?
The Divergent series, because of the shoddy writing. If I had to read one more time how the antagonist rubbed her sweaty palms on the hem of her shirt, I was going to shoot myself.