2014: My year in books

book stack best ofI started working on a big end-of-year wrap-up post, with snazzy graphics and statistics… and realized that I just didn’t feel like it this year. So, skipping all the bells and whistles, here’s a quick peek at what I really loved in my bookish life in 2014:

[Note: Click on the links to see my reviews if you’re interested!]

Goodreads stats as of 12/27/2014:

Total number of books read: 145
Total number of pages read: 45,345
Star rating used most often: 4 stars (57 total)
Star rating used least often: 1 star (only 1 this year!)
Number of five-star ratings: 51

Longest book read: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, 1443 pages (a re-read)
Shortest book read (excluding graphic novels and novellas):
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 180 pages


Bests & Other Stuff of Note

Best children’s (middle grade): Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Best young adult: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Best contemporary: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Best graphic novel: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon
Best sci-fi/fantasy: The Martian by Andy Weir
Best love story: Anything by Jojo Moyes! (Including One Plus One, The Ship of Brides, Me Before You, and The Last Letter From Your Lover)
Best historical fiction: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Best urban fantasy: Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Best domestic drama: The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Best new volume in an ongoing series: Big surprise — it’s gotta be Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon.

Best end to a great series: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Best book that defies categorization: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

globe-32812_1280Around the world in a book: My reading took me to some amazing places this year…

Botswana: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Yemen: Henna House by Nomi Eve
Iceland: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Australia: Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
Spain: The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Laurel Corona
France: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
Syria: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

Journeys through time: I traveled to many different eras via terrific books; most notably…

American Revolution: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Civil War: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
World War II: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Speculation and science fiction: The medical sci-fi thrillers I enjoyed most were:

Archetype and Prototype by M. D. Waters
The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

Oh, the horror!

Best subtle creepiness: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Best horror/love story: Horns by Joe Hill
Best horror/furniture catalog: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Best horror involving huge insects: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Best new obsession: The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

Biggest let-down: I finally got around to reading The Unwritten graphic novel series by M. R. Carey… and found it increasingly incomprehensible (and unenjoyable) the farther along I went.

Best return to childhood: I reread the D’Aulaires books on Greek and Norse mythology, and loved them all over again.

Best author event: Hands down, my biggest bookish thrill this year was traveling to Phoenix, Arizona for an appearance and book signing by Diana Gabaldon.

DG 011

She’s signing my book! She’s signing my book! She’s signing my book. (Um, yes, it was a bit exciting.)


Best bookish TV event of 2014: The debut of Outlander on Starz!

Claire and Jamie!

Claire and Jamie!


Most eye-catching covers:

jacksonbreak-up artistharrowgate

Quirkiest titles:

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo
The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

Best getting-thrown-for-a-loop: Books with twists or plots that took me by surprise:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Girl With All the Gifts by Mike Carey

Books about bookstores…

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

Bookish delight, all year long:

All the many, many books which, for whatever reason, I can’t quite categorize but still really enjoyed (plus a few that are probably better off forgotten). It’s been a great year of reading. I can’t wait to see what treasures I’ll discover in 2015!

What were your favorite books of 2014? What surprised or excited you the most? Please share your top reads and recommendations in the comments!

18 thoughts on “2014: My year in books

  1. I love this post! Definitely added some titles to my list. Isn’t it lovely to look back at a reading year? It seems like you had a good one, I hope 2015 is even better 🙂

    • Thank you! I do love looking back and remembering what I really loved — although it also points out to me all the books that I’d intended to read and never got around to. Looking forward to 2015!

    • Oh, great, I’d love to see your list! I was so happy to “discover” Liane Moriarty this year — I went ahead and picked up copies of a few of her earlier books as well.

  2. Loved this post, Lisa. I always enjoy your reviews, and love that you are a reader that doesn’t get stuck in one genre (like me!). It helped me find those books by M.D. Waters, and I LOVED them. Glad you had a great reading year – any reading goals for next year? I am going to try to be more selective about my books (no more one-stars!) and I’m going to read more non-fiction. I’m looking forward to those challenges at the Outlander forum. 🙂

    • Thanks, Mary! I find that I get frustrated when I read too many books in the same genre in a short period of time, and start itching to break out of my rut! I’m still thinking about my reading goals for 2015. One of my goals for 2014 was to read more non-fiction… but it didn’t really work out for me. I’m just always going to grab a novel first! My main goal for 2015 is to try not to overthink or over-plan my reading, and go more with my mood rather than by schedule or commitments (if that makes any sense). The OBC challenges should be great fun! And I’m looking forward to catching up on some books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while and just never made the time to actually read.

      • Haha! That is the way I always read. I just follow my interest and often times a book will send me off on a reading tangent. 😃 Still though, I’m not very disciplined and I end up reading far too many one and two stars!

        • Well, but at least you’re exploring and discovering! Not every tangent will be a 5-star journey, but it’s great to keep branching out and experimenting. 🙂

  3. Looks like 2014 was an awesome reading year for you! Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede brings back some memories. When I was in sixth grade, I remember devouring those books. It was one of my favorite series at the time. 😀

    • Funny, I’d never encountered her books before, but this year my son and I have been reading them together and really enjoying them. We’re on the last book of the dragon series, and read her Frontier Magic series earlier in the year. I want to finally get to Sorcery & Cecelia in 2015!

  4. I own We Have Always Lived in the Castle (unfortunately the cover isn’t as pretty as yours) but have yet to read. Definitely pushing it up a few places on my TBR list. Good luck for 2015, may you have another wonderful year of reading (:

    • Thank you! Wishing you a wonderful 2015 as well — for reading and for everything else! By the way, the audiobook of We Have Always Lived in the Castle is excellent.

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