I read almost 100 books in 2014. Here are my favorites (and yes, I realize I’m about 2 months late with this list). I track my reading on Goodreads. So if we’re not friends there, you should join me!
Here are my favorite fictional books of 2014.
(with apologies for the repetitiveness to my Goodreads friends as these are my edited reviews from what I posted there through the year)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: This was simply a great, enjoyable read and one that I should have counted for the Classics Club.
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear: So far, I’ve read #1-6. I love this mystery series but not so much for the mysteries themselves. Rather, the WWI history, the contrast between the classes in pre-WWI England, the thoughts on education, on death, on life, on healing, on hurt are all thought-provoking and stay with me long after I finish the books. And, inevitably, I’m in tears by the end of each one. Not too bad for a mystery!
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce #2) by Alan Bradley: I read the first and second books n this series this year and particularly enjoyed the second one. I really like Flavia and her obsession with chemistry!
Knit One Pearl One: A Beach Street Knitting Society Novel by Gil McNeil: I especially liked this third installment in this series because it has one of the best descriptions of modern, natural, unmedicated childbirth that I’ve read in modern chick-lit. It didn’t have much to do with the main plot but I loved that chapter the best anyway!
Longbourn by Jo Baker: This is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ point of view. Having just read P&P in January, this book opened up a whole different line of thinking about that novel. In and of itself though, it’s a great read. I am SO thankful for my washing machine!
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: Along with the lovely story itself, I enjoyed how so many other books were woven all the way through the book.
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Mitford Years #10) by Jan Karon: I sobbed while reading this, more than once. I even brought it up at our church small group and was crying there too – over a fictional person! Hopefully, this tells you that this is masterful, strong fiction because a story that is seemingly light and insignificant had me pondering many big weighty issues for days. Like all the Mitford novels, this is also full of all the funny, well-drawn characters you know and love with all the usual silly situations, heartfelt words, and perfectly appropriate quotations.
I also read through many classics this year and enjoyed most of them, including North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (see my review here) and Persuasion (my review), Sense and Sensibility (my review), and Pride and Prejudice (my review) all by Jane Austen.
For the younger crowd:
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (Penderwicks, Book 2) by Jeanne Birdsall: I do love this series. I’m proud to say that I figured out the literary allusion right away, although it’s not revealed until the end of the book. I also could see the the solution to the “Save-Daddy” plan from practically the very first chapter but that didn’t make this book any less enjoyable. The undercurrent of sadness throughout (perhaps felt more keenly by myself because I am a mother) only deepened my enjoyment of the rest of the really enjoyable book. I really can’t wait to read these to Ellie and Mark!
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan: This series is often recommended as a way to pull young reluctant (usually male) readers into reading and so I read this first one because I wanted to know what they were like. And now I’m hooked myself! The writing is surprisingly sophisticated. I liked the Greek mythology references and the slightly twisted “bring it into the present” writing approach. The book was surprising violent so keep that in mind when recommending it. I’ve read through book #4 now. I probably enjoyed the first one the most but do want to read them all.
The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech: I loved this little book, particularly the angel’s “English” mistakes. Also, I loved how the girl, and the town, rallied around those kids!
I also enjoyed:
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
- Silas Marner by George Eliot
- The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #14) by Alexander McCall Smith
- Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Do you have any favorites on this list? Any more to recommend to me?