Books · Reviews

A Year in Books: The Best Books I Read in 2014

As I mentioned previously, I read 54 books this year which meant that I won my Goodreads challenge. Though I wouldn’t say this year was a *fantastic* year in reading (I rated over half 2 or 3 stars), there were definitely some books that I thought were great. Also, these are the books that I read in 2014, as opposed to  being written in 2014. This was going to be a Top 5, but I’m 100% indecisive so this is a Top 7 instead.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945, Penguin)
I honestly have no idea how I got to the age of 21 without reading this book. And I studied Politics at university, and still managed to not read this book. Pretty much perfectly written, brilliant satire of the USSR and a chilling ending. At little over 100 pages you could probably read it in a day. Fantastic.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014, Hot Key)
This book received so much buzz that I walked into a Waterstones before work in Birmingham one day and read it that evening. Beautifully written with an ending that made me full on ugly cry.

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (1964, Vintage)
The film adaptation of this novel is one of my absolute favourites, so it’s little surprise to me that I loved this book. From the very first page Isherwood’s prose sucked me into George’s world and I loved being there-even if it is heartbreaking.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (2011, Penguin)
The equivalent of a hug in a book, reading Quiet was a much-needed ‘you are okay’. Cain explores the place of introverts in Western society, and how embracing introvert traits can led to better decisions both in business and in people’s personal lives. If you are an introvert you need to read this, and if you have introverts in your life, you should probably read this too.

Selected Diaries by Virginia Woolf (2008, Vintage)
Woolf is one of my favourite authors and getting further insight into her life was something that I really enjoyed.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (2014, Sceptre)
This was pretty much my most anticipated release of the year and I adored it. Brilliantly crafted characters and a really compelling twisty narrative. This also wins the best cover of the year award, because it is gorgeous.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (2014, Harper Perennial)
Another much-buzzed book, Gay’s essay collection was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. She writes about feminism and race, and it was great to have some of my opinions challenged by someone from a less privileged perspective. If you’re interested in pop culture and feminism, I’d recommend this.

Honourable Mentions: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Dud of the Year: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
I DNF-ed this so it might have got great in the last few pages, but I had real issues with the female characters and the portrayal of mental illness in this book

Disappointment of the Year: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
I love Moran’s writing and was really excited for her first novel since she was a teenager, but found this really underwhelming. Basically How to Be a Woman in young adult novel form.

What were your favourite books that you read in 2014? I’m hoping to read 50 books again and you can follow my challenge here.

Amy
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