Wednesday, 7 January 2015

2014 | My Year In Books

Last year, I set myself a challenge of reading fifty new books (that is, books I'd not read previously, not necessarily new books!) over the course of the year, and I was really pleased with myself to actually exceed this target! I kept a note in my Evernote app on my phone, adding each book to my list as I completed it, and it was really satisfying to see how the list grew. I decided I'd share my year in books along with my highlights and a couple of lowlights...
2014 Year In Books
A warning; this could get to be a very lengthy post! First up, here's the full list of books I finished:
  1. The Man With The Shattered World - A. R. Luria
  2. The Winter Ghosts - Kate Mosse
  3. The Windchime Legacy - A. W. Mykel
  4. I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai
  5. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
  6. The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
  7. Little Children - Tom Perrotta
  8. The Rosary Girls - Richard Montanari
  9. The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1 - Roald Dahl
  10. Relentless - Simon Kernick
  11. Ellis Island - Kate Kerrigan
  12. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
  13. Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella
  14. Need - Carrie Jones
  15. How Did All This Happen? - John Bishop
  16. Entice - Carrie Jones
  17. After Obsession - Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
  18. Tithe - Holly Black
  19. Ironside - Holly Black
  20. Valiant - Holly Black
  21. Fire - Kristin Cashore
  22. We Have Always Lived In The Castle - Shirley Jackson
  23. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  24. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  25. Down And Out In Paris And London - George Orwell
  26. The Last Lord of the Moors - Isabella Brooke
  27. Teaching The Old Duke New Tricks - Isabella Brooke
  28. As The Crow Flies - Damien Boyd
  29. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
  30. The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith
  31. The Genesis Code - John Case
  32. Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides
  33. The Girl With All The Gifts - M. R. Carey
  34. The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
  35. Never Saw It Coming - Linwood Barclay
  36. Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life - Nina Stibbe
  37. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
  38. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  39. Daughter - Jane Shemilt
  40. The Aftermath - Rhidian Brook
  41. Afterworlds - Scott Westerfeld
  42. Hannibal - Thomas Harris
  43. Hidden - Marianne Curley
  44. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
  45. Broken - Marianne Curley
  46. Together Apart - Natalie Martin
  47. Finding Emma - Steena Holmes
  48. Game - Justine Elyot
  49. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
  50. The Girl Who Never Came Back - Amy Cross
  51. Blacklands - Belinda Bauer
  52. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Phew! 52 books. I'm actually really proud of my achievement, and whilst some of these were tough going (Pride and Prejudice, I'm looking at you!), for the most part I really enjoyed my year of reading. Here are some of my favourites and not-so-favourites; these are by no means meant to be reviews or anything like that, just a little sentence or two on what I liked about my favourite books of the year.
American Gods, Neil Gaiman I'd not read any of Gaiman's work until last year, but I really enjoyed American Gods; the concept of the story was one which really appealed to me and I think it worked beautifully, Gaiman's writing style is right up my street and I'm definitely keen to read more of his work. American Gods is definitely a longer read and it did take me a couple of weeks, if memory serves, but I found it well worth the effort. I also really enjoyed Neverwhere, which was the first book of Gaiman's I read.
The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith I started this knowing full well that it was written by J.K.Rowling and I have to admit, I half-wish I'd had the opportunity to read it not knowing. That aside, I loved the book - the characters were really nicely built up, the storyline drew me in, and I finished feeling like I'd got to know Cormoran Strike. I was keen to read more and actually pre-ordered Silkworm on my Kindle, which again I really enjoyed, and I can't wait for the next installment.
Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides I read The Virgin Suicides a few years back now and remember being in two minds about it (I wanted to love it and found the whole concept so interesting, but felt like something was lacking in the execution). I happened to flick through Middlesex at a friend's and ended up being unable to stop thinking about the story, so I bought it and found it an absolutely fascinating read. The idea behind the tale and its presentation were spot-on for me. Again, Eugenides is an author I'd love to read more of.
The Girl With All The Gifts, M. R. Carey I think this was my favourite book of the year, I absolutely loved the premise and the execution - such a good story and so beautifully told. I really felt like I got to know the characters, and became invested in their lives. I started this without really knowing what to expect (the blurb gave very little away) but quickly got hooked in! Another author I'll be looking to read more from in 2015.
Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld I was actually sent this to review (you can read my thoughts here) and as I mentioned in my post, I really liked the idea behind this tale and how the two halves of the story worked together and reflected each other, progressing one alongside the other. I started reading Westerfeld's Uglies series but got waylaid by Pride and Prejudice so I only actually read the first book, so the rest of them are on my list for this year.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler As a Psychology graduate, I found this utterly fascinating! I won't give away the premise of the story but suffice it to say, you should expect the unexpected with this one - it's a book that's stuck with me and I actually bought this for my best friend for Christmas, I enjoyed it so much. In one way, it's a tale about a typical family, but it's also a lot more than that.
Blacklands, Belinda Bauer Indulging my love of the morbid and macabre, I really enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons, not least because I find serial killers endlessly fascinating! I was also glad that Bauer kept her nerve, so to speak, and went with the logical ending (to my mind) rather than going back on herself somewhat in pursuit of a happy ending.
Books Read in 2014
Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell I wanted to love this, I really did! I actually enjoyed the first third or so of the book and thought it had a lot of promise... And then it kind of lost me, and the rest of the book was a real drag to get through. I loved Animal Farm so I was really disappointed that this went downhill so rapidly for me, although it didn't put me off also reading Down and Out in Paris and London... which kind of lead me to conclude that Orwell isn't for me and Animal Farm was a one-off.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen I was so hopeful when I bought this! I'd been meaning to read it for years and this edition was so beautiful I decided it was a sign... Unfortunately, the pretty cover didn't really make up for the fact that this was a supremely dull story. I'm sorry, I know it's a classic, but it just did nothing for me and I managed to drag it out for around two months - I could have read another ten books in that time but I just didn't want to read it! Nothing happens!? Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't think Austen is for me.
All in all, I've really enjoyed my year in books, and putting this post together has been a lovely look back on my reading over the past twelve months. I'll definitely be keeping a list again this year to keep track of what I read, and I've got a little idea for a bit of journaling, too, which I might share if I get time to actually get round to doing it! What was your favourite book of 2014? Have you read any of these? Any recommendations for me to read in 2015?

xo

16 comments:

  1. Wow you read so many books that are on my 2015 TBR! The Cuckoos Calling was one of my fav. books last year and I really need to get my hands on The Silkworm :)

    Ness x

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  2. I also set myself a goal of reading 50 books and managed it thanks to Goodreads, this year ive lowered it to 35 because I have a massive task at work which takes priority but from your list, ive read 8 of them x

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  3. wow you have read a lot of books, I want to get into reading this year.

    Sophie
    xx
    www.pocockins.co.uk

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  4. I am so impressed and jealous!!! i read maybe 10 books a year, I just fall asleep too easily in bed in the evening ihihih.
    great job jess!! i love jane Austen!
    xo
    Alice | Alice's Beauty Madness

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  5. Congratulations! This is really quite the accomplishment. I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to or even should last year so I'm hoping to get back in to the reading swing soon. I did however read the first two books in the Divergent series and I have to say that they are really good however it took me longer to get through the second one just because it got a little dry but still really good books.

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  6. You've got a fantastic list here, I haven't read a book for a long time but got a couple for Christmas so I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in with them! xxx Thou Shalt Not Covet

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  7. Congratulations on finishing 52 books that is quite an achievement! My new years resolution is to read a book every two weeks just for pleasure. I study english literature so I'm constantly reading books I haven't chosen for myself. Its so important to enjoy what you are reading! I'm a new follower of yours and I look forward to hearing how you get on with the other novels.

    http://www.abigailalicex.com

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  8. Whoa... you read quite a lot! I have read all Sophie Kinsella ones and the fault in our stars from this list.. I ought to start reading more myself! :)

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  9. Thanks a lot of books :) I have only read Pride & Prejudiced from your list. Thanks for sharing, I'll check some of them out! x

    Laura
    Pink Frenzy

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  10. I set myself a reading challenge of 100 books last year too. I was surprised to see that I achieved and actually exceeded to 102 books for 2014! Have you read We Were Liars & The Young Elites? If not, then you should start reading them! :)

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  11. That is awesome. I wish I read more. I am actually starting a short book, Comfort and Joy soon as I transition into reading again!

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  12. omg I can't believe how many books you read, where do you find the time?! I have to be honest I've never been into reading books, I tend to lose track and then give up as I like visual stuff but last year I read 4 books which is 4 times more than what I read the year before! lol x

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  13. This is amazing.. congratulations on exceeding your goal. I really ought to challenge myself and get back into the regular swing of reading. I may even use your list as a bit of a kickstart - thanks for sharing! :]

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  14. The Girl With All The Gifts was definitely one of my favourites last year too ! There's a few on your list I wouldn't mind getting through this year myself! x

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