Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Now that the year's winding down to a close, I figure it's time once again to review all of the books I've read in 2014, and weigh the merits of some of my absolute favorites (and also, not-so-favorites).

According to the count of the many titles I actually managed to plug into my Goodreads account, I've read 68 books in the past year - surpassing my Challenge of 55! - and through them all I've found some really great YA, really terrible nonfiction, and just about everything in between, including quite a bit of comic books, too.

So, without much further ado, here's my bookish year in review! (*self-high-five for the sweet rhyme*)

Killer Thrillers with A Twist

Chock full of the kinds of jaw-dropping, heart-stopping twists and turns that can only follow murder and mayhem... but neither of them the typical kind of thriller novel, either! 

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
I'm not the only person in the world who fell in love with this story this year - mainly because of the movie that has won international acclaim - but I seem to be the only one who can't shut up about it.

The Intern's Handbook, Shane Kuhn
Even a handful of months after I published this review back in September, I still am struck by how quickly I made it through this break-neck barrage of violence and wit... not to mention how much I LOVED it.

Making Old Love Stories New Again

Classic tales of epic romance, flipped through the lens of a more modernized approach, and two that take on the new scope of storytelling powers afforded by new mediums! 

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
I've already remarked upon my absolutely obsessive love for Austen, and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series fangirling continues in the novelized compendium to dearest Elizabeth's annotation on the modern version of the classic comedy of manners.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
Speaking of fangirling, despite a rising acknowledgement of fanfiction in the realms of popular reading - hey, Fifty Shades started out as an explicit-grade Twilight fanfic, right? - there definitely isn't all that much acceptance for it - with the previous bit of trivia probably playing a part in that, actually - so it was interesting to see it play such a large part in a contemporary Young Adult novel.

Cinder and Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #1 and 2), Marissa Meyer
It may be my obsession for hometown author heroes, but Tacoma's own Marissa Meyer is a pretty fantastic creative type in the forefront of young adult science fiction, specializing on finding yet another new angle to take classic fairy tales.

The Hard Truth of It All

Three hard-hitting works of nonfiction that explore facets of human history and experience strange enough to be fiction, and one heart-breaking work of fiction just painful and real enough to be completely true. 

Freakonomics,Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Once again, a widely-praised title long before I came around to it, but this nonfiction exploration of everyday kinds of economics in action makes difficult concepts easy to experience.

Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
How many amazing history-oriented non-fictions have I been missing out on? This is yet another that has won a couple of awards, and holds the specific point of interest of featuring the mechanisms of an infamous American serial killer.

Barbie and Ruth, Robin Gerber (I didn't end up doing a review on this one!)
If you're as enamored with the glittery pink legacy of Barbie as I am, then this nonfiction account of the origins of not just the long-lampooned busty blonde and her ingenious entrepreneurial inventor, Ruth Handler, will no doubt make you at least a little interested.

Still Alice, Lisa Genova
Besides Gone Girl, this is probably the novel I recommend the most to others, half because it's a guaranteed ugly-cry-fest, and half because it links up with something else in my life that I care about tremendously: philanthropy. And since the movie's coming out in January, you could definitely work this one into your Winter Break reading list before school starts up again!

What were some of your favorite titles from this past year?

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