Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Top 5 Wednesday: Best Books I've Read So Far This Year

We are halfway through 2014, and I have read 42 books so far.  Most have been pretty good, a couple I absolutely hated, and a few I fell in love with.

So, let's get into the top 5 books I've read so far!

In fifth place is Jerusalem: A Family Portrait, by Boaz Yakin.

I have already talked about this book in multiple blog posts, including a full review, so let's just say that I loved it.

Next is A Game of Thrones, the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin.

I have put off reading this series for years because, frankly, it intimidated me.  I tried to read this book a few years ago, but I just wasn't in the mood, so I set it down indefinitely.  Finally, enough people recommended it to me that I decided to attempt it again, and I ended up reading it in two days.  I couldn't put it down, and I got very little sleep because I just needed to know.  Even though the plot is fantastic, what really seduced me were the characters.  I felt so strongly about each of them, whether love or loathing, and I became so invested in them.  Terrific read.

Third is Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.

I honestly don't know how I got through high school without reading this, but I did.  It was never on my classics TBR list because it never stood out in my mind as one of those game-changing classics that everyone says you just have to read.  But several BookTubers either read it for the first time and sang its praises or touted it as their favorite classic, so I decided to read it, and I am so glad I did.  Heathcliff has become one of my favorite characters in all of literature.

I know that he is detestable and horrid, but I am fascinated by him.  I loved the passion in each page, and how none of the characters were truly likeable.  It was so entertaining, and it's become a favorite classic of mine.

Coming in in second place is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.  
Again, I never had plans to read this because American classics that take place in the South have never sparked my interest.   However, one of my book clubs was reading it, so I did, as well.

So many people list this as one of the most difficult books to get through, and though I understand why that is a popular opinion, I had no problem finding momentum with this novel.  The complexity of the different narrators, the varying mental states, the disorganized timeline - all of the traits that make others cringe are what I enjoyed the best.  I found so much inspiration in Faulkner's experimental writing, and I was truly in awe that he was able to create something so unique and profound.

His ability to speak about social change, the deterioration of the family unit, black servitude, the loss of innocence, and so many other important themes in a novel where nothing much happens is nothing short of masterful.  Many find A Sound and the Fury to be boring, and I certainly don't think it should be approached purely for entertainment.  But it made me think, and it challenged me as a reader.

Finally, the best book I've read so far is Absent by Sherri Vanderveen. 

I just finished this book, and I can't even begin to describe how much it has affected me.  I saw myself in the pages, saw my family and my friends.  This book so delicately and professionally and beautifully explores a topic so painful and prolific in our culture, and Vanderveen manages to do it in a way that makes each character so human and so real.

I am going to do a full review of Absent in a few days, so please stay tuned for that.  But just know that it's not only my favorite book of this year (so far), but is one of my favorite books of all time.

And those are the top 5 books I've read thus far.

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, and you can check out the full list of those who participate in the Goodreads group.

What has been your favorite book so far?  Let me know in the comments below, and maybe I will check it out.