Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

In 2014, I managed to read 129 books, which is the most I've ever read in a year!  Some of them were rereads, but the majority of them were new.

Out of those first-time reads, some were not so impressive and others quickly became favorites.  I want to share my top 10 favorite books of 2014 with you.  These are in no particular order except for number one, which was my favorite book of the year.

Number Ten



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


This is my favorite Rowell novel.  Cath is such a unique character in that she's a true introvert.  But she's also totally relatable and nerdy cool.

I loved the dynamic between the two sisters, especially since I have a younger sister who is really close to me.  There was a lot of truth in that relationship.

Of course, the Harry Potter, er, I mean, Simon and Snow fan fiction didn't hurt either.

I did an author spotlight on all of Rainbow Rowell's books, including Fangirl, if you want to see more of what I thought.

Number Nine


Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis


This is the only nonfiction book that has made it onto my list, but it absolutely deserves to be here.  It's written by a young woman who went to Africa for a mission's trip and ended up moving there, adopting a dozen children, and starting an organization that ministers to children in poverty.

It's a really powerful story about saying yes to whatever God has for your life, even if it means not living up to the expectations set before you.  And it also shows what one person's love can do to change the world.

Reading this has made me think differently about missions and helping those in poverty.  It's also put a desire in my heart to adopt.

 Excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

Number Eight


Jerusalem by Boaz Yakin

2014 was definitely the year of the comic and graphic novel for me, and it all started with this graphic novel about Jerusalem becoming a nation in the 1940s.

It follows one family as each member finds their place in the tumultuous politics of the time.  It's gritty and gripping, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction or graphic novels.

I did a full review on it, so check that out if you're interested.

Number Seven


 


Watchmen by Alan Moore

I finally read the king of all graphic novels.  This has been hailed as one of the best graphic novels of all time, and I finally understand why.

I have never read a book like this before.  There were so many layers, and each of the characters was dynamic and mysterious.  I wasn't ever quite sure where the story was going or who the villain was, and it caught me completely off guard.

The art is rough, which fits the story completely, enhancing the tone of it all.

Definitely a must-read if you like graphic novels.

Number Six




A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I know that I am ridiculously behind on this, but I finally started A Song of Ice and Fire, and this first book was AMAZING.  Honestly, I was nervous about reading it because, even though I've heard universal praise for this series, I've also read some really critical reviews, and I wasn't sure if it would be something I would like,

Well, it turned out to be something I loved, and I will definitely be plodding my way through this series.

Number Five




A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is the only children's book to make this year's list, and it was my favorite children's/middlegrade book this year.

The art, the story, the themes...it's an excellent story that traverses all ages.  I wrote a full review of it if you want to know more of my thoughts.

Number Four




Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles by CLAMP

I adore manga, and I read a few series this year, but this one stood out above all of the others.

It's a shonen manga, so it has a lot of action in it, but it's also about relationships, romantic and platonic.  

The four main characters are some of my favorite characters in all of literature.  I love their complexities and how each of them interacts with the group.  And each one of them has an amazing and tragic back story.  

This series made me feel ALL of the feels.

If you haven't read this manga yet, and you don't mind really complicated plots, definitely pick this one up.  I wrote a review on the entire series, as well.

Number Three




Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte

I'm not quite sure how I escaped reading this in high school, but I did.  So, I finally picked it up this year as a book club read, and I am so happy that I did because I adored every second of it.

Heathcliff is an absolute scoundrel of a character, but I love him for it.  I was completely transfixed by him and all of his foulness.  At the same time, however, I felt so much compassion for him over his broken heart.  

If you haven't read this, and you love passionate romance and revenge tales, I can't recommend this enough.

Number Two




The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

This book wasn't on my radar to read at all, but one of my book clubs ended up reading it so I decided to try it even though I didn't think I would be into it.

Holy moly!  This book is genius.  

Faulkner wrote it in such an intelligent and creative way.  Even though it can be confusing, I really like that this book makes the reader work.  A lot of times we just want a book that we can coast on auto-pilot with for an hour.  Not so with this book.  It gave me some mental exercise, and I was so grateful for it.

Set in the south during the early 1900's, it gives the portrait of a family falling apart as society around them changes.  The entire novel revolves around one character, but she isn't even the main character.  Instead, it's divided into four parts from four characters' points of view, and it shows how their lives have been affected.  

This is definitely not for the intellectually lazy, but if you're up for a challenge, check it out.

Number One




Absent by Sherri Vanderveen

This should be absolutely no surprise if you read my blog regularly.  I have raved about this book all year long.

It shows what happens to a family when the father abandons them, taking place over many years and involving several different character perspectives.

It's such a gorgeous novel, and it captures the truth so eloquently without being preachy.  If you want to see my full review, you can check it out here.


So, those are my top 10 books of 2014.  I'm glad that I was able to explore the world of comics and graphic novels, and I hope to continue to do so in 2015, as well.

What were your favorite books this year?  What would you recommend to me?  Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!