Thomas’s Ten Top 2014 Reads

Sometimes I forget that I should write about books on this blog, so here we go with a list of my top ten 2014 reads (as in, books I read in 2014, not just books published in 2014)! I have split them up into fiction and nonfiction, the latter of which I notice I read more of as I get older. The list contains a healthy mix of genres, or at least I like to think so. Without further ado, here starts the list:

Top 5: Fiction

A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin5. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. A Storm of Swords made me in scream in disbelief, frustration, and storytelling ecstacy. This third book of Martin’s series acts as the climax of the plots built up in the first two, and it showcases Martin’s willingness to seize his readers’ hearts and rupture them writing ability. Full review here.

 

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. A love story I would recommend to everyone, Me Before You revolves around the true tenets of love – compassion, sacrifice, understanding – instead of insta-love, cheap drama, or lust. It also contains super relatable and down-to-earth characters. Full review here.

 

 

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson3. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. A gritty, affecting, and honest portrayal of living with a family member who has PTSD. Anderson crafts another YA winner centered on Hayley Kincain and her father Andy, a war vet, and their struggle to lead normal lives after Andy’s return from Iraq. Full review here.

 

 

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay2. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. A gripping tale with themes ranging from race to poverty to gender to trauma, An Untamed State draws its strength from the voice of Mireille Duval Jameson, our protagonist. A mother, daughter, sister, and wife, Mireille’s kidnapping tests several people’s willpower, with her own taking center stage. Full review here.

 

 

Gives Light by Rose Christo1. Gives Light by Rose Christo. My favorite fiction book of the year revolves around sixteen-year-old Skylar and his relationship with Rafael, the son of his mother’s murderer, the kind of boy he has never met before. This book takes place on a Native-American reservation and just radiates diversity, intensity, and love. Full review here.

 

My honorable mention in fiction goes to The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, and you can find my review of it here.

Top 5: Nonfiction

The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols5. The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols. This book, written by a professor at my university, offers honest and thorough lessons on how to listen. Listening means more than just nodding, waiting for your turn to talk, or putting on a caring face: The Lost Art of Listening delves into its intricacies as well as its deep, intrinsic benefits. Full review here.

 

 

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. A collection of essays that span politics, race, and feminism, Roxane Gay comments on and analyzes society’s trends with humor and intelligence. She reminds us that at feminism’s heart stands its people, and just because people possess inherent flaws, does not mean we should abandon how far we have come. Full review here.

 

 

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison3. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. An autobiography written by a renowned psychiatrist who developed bipolar disorder herself in the midst of her career, An Unquiet Mind acts as a testament to the strengths and accomplishments of people who face mental illness. An inspiring, insightful work. Full review here.

 

 

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. An enlightening and heartbreaking memoir written by a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. He details his time in four different concentration camps, and he spends the second half of the book describing logotherapy, or how we as humans must find meaning in order to thrive. Full review here.

 

 

Appetites by Caroline Knapp1. Appetites by Caroline Knapp. In my favorite nonfiction book of 2014, Caroline Knapp tackles the question of female desire and how women must honor that desire within a society that tells them not to. She merges feminism, psychology, sexuality, eating disorders, and more, and her searing, ambitious voice makes this memoir an unforgettable read. Full review here.

My honorable mentions in nonfiction go out to Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers, and you can find their respective reviews here, here, and here.

Looks like nonfiction thrived this year, though I feel glad knowing that I still have a healthy mix of YA in my top ten reads of 2014. Any books you recognize or would agree with? I will also ask the typical question: which books did you enjoy reading most this year? Most people have made similar posts of their own, though, so I will make sure to check those out later today. Happy New Year’s Eve everyone, and I hope everyone has a fulfilling day!

*also, all covers came from Goodreads, my favorite social media site ever (aside from WordPress, of course)

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17 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Books

17 responses to “Thomas’s Ten Top 2014 Reads

  1. Rick

    I love book lists! Happy New Year from China!

  2. A Storm of Swords also made my top 10 this year. George RR Martin always keeps me guessing and I love that he doesn’t hesitate to do crazy things with his stories.

    A few of your others are on my TBR, so I hope to get to them soon.

    • Martin has enough confidence in his writing that he goes places readers do not expect, for sure. His surprises almost always work, in the best way. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you get to read a lot of the books on your TBR this year.

  3. Kev

    I haven’t read any of these. You have inspired me to put my own list together though. Happy new year. Once again, I have enjoyed your last fifty-two weeks of posts and reviews x

  4. Sarah

    Bird by Bird is one of my favorite books, not just of this year, but in life. My own favorites from this year would include Wuthering Heights, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, and All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Happy 2015 🙂

    • Glad we agree on Bird by Bird’s awesomeness, and your favorite books from this year shows your English-major side while also including some contemporary work by Diaz. Thanks for reading and commenting, Sarah, and I miss working with you! Hope your post-graduation life has been satisfying and that 2015 has gone well for you so far. (:

  5. Of these I have only read Mr. Frankl’s book, and is one of the few books kept on my night stand out of the thousands in my house.

    I enjoy your reviews Thomas and look forward to more.

    Happy and wonderful new year to you!

    • I feel like you would appreciate Frankl’s book, Colleen, and it makes me glad that we have a book we both enjoy. Hope your 2015 has started off on a good note and I look forward to reading so many more of your posts!

  6. I’m not sure if I’ve told you before, but I am amazed by your ability to read so much nonfiction. I really need to branch out beyond YA since the few nonfiction books I do read every year are always such rewarding titles. I’m definitely going to be adding your top five to my TBR and I’ll hopefully get around to them early next year. *fingers crossed*

    Like you, Storm of Swords made my “Best of 2014” list as well and I’m thrilled to see The Knife of Never Letting Go and Me Before You up there as well. I enjoyed both those titles, though not nearly as much as you. I know I’ve added both An Untamed State and Gives Light to my TBR at your recommendation, so I’m hoping to make time for those as well.

    Wonderful list, Thomas, and here’s wishing you a wonderful new year. May 2015 bring you all the happiness, success, and books you could wish for. 🙂

    • Ah yes, I think one thing I have learned with nonfiction is that you should strive to read about topics that interest you to some extent. Of course we should branch out and read about unfamiliar subjects, but learning more about topics that already remain pertinent in our lives helps with digesting the material a lot (as I think I see a bit in your reaction to Mindy Kaling’s book). I hope all the books you have added to your TBR prove worthwhile and that you also have a happy, fulfilling, and successful 2015!

  7. Wow – very interesting lists. As you’ve said on my blog, we do have very different reading tastes, but I really like the look of “The Lost Art of Listening”, and really must read the Bad Feminist book. Thanks for sharing such interesting books and reviews!

    • Glad we can still find intriguing reads from checking out each others’ posts despite our different tastes. Thank you for stopping by and comment, as always!

  8. I like that you have such an eclectic taste in books, Thomas. I, too, can enjoy pretty much any genre as long as the book is “good”, though nonfiction is not something one can often find me buried in. BUT just last week, I have reread a nonfiction about life in Paris, so maybe 2015 is going to see me reading more nonfiction (also, I added this book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions to my tbr a few days ago)

    Gives Light <333 Btw, have you read the whole series, or just the first book? Also, you NEED to read The Dogs of Balboa too. I loved it as much if not more than GL 🙂 (the ebook is surprisingly cheap on Smashwords)

    I haven't done a top ten reads post on the blog, but some of my 2014 favorites were: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Bellweather Rhapsody, The Secret Place by Tana French, Harmony by Project Itoh, One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva, Sins of Omission by B. Makewood, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle, Falling From The Sky by Nikki Godwin and Vicious by V.E. Schwab,

    • Cayce, I appreciate that even though you read more fiction than nonfiction you still feel wiling to explore some of the latter genre, as well as mark some of its books tbr (What If? looks interesting and has received raving reviews on Goodreads.) I have only read the first book in the Gives Light trilogy, just because it broke my heart and put it back together so well that I have some lingering fear that its later installments might not live up to my expectations! But from what I have heard Looks Over acts as a quality sequel, so I might check that one out asap.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, as well as for including so many titles. My to-read list has just expanded, a lot.

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