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
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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)