Right Now . . . December 2014
Endings and Beginnings

Year in Review: The Books


This week, Carole asks us to list our Ten Favorite Books in 2014.  This task is so much easier, now that I use Goodreads fairly faithfully.  (I say "fairly" . . . because my list of books on Goodreads doesn't quite reconcile with the list I maintain in the sidebar of my blog, so I've clearly erred in the tracking somewhere along the way.  But.  Close enough.)

I just sorted my Goodread list for 2014 by "rating", which shows some of my favorite books in the past year.  


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(Because I'm setting my own rules for this post, I've decided to remove re-reads and poetry from my final list, including only novels I've read for the first time during 2014.)

My Ten Favorite Books in 2014 (minus re-reads and poetry):

  1. All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr) - My hands-down favorite for 2014!  The critics kept calling it "dazzling."  I'd have to agree:  This one dazzles.  (Read it!)
  2. The Spinning Heart (Donal Ryan) - This story unfolds as a kind of oral history, told by a series of narrators - all neighbors in a contemporary Irish town.  Compelling.
  3. The Luminaries (Eleanor Catton) - Don't let the page count keep you away from this New Zealand gold rush tale -- part love story, part mystery, part ghost story -- all told under an astrological theme.  (Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.)
  4. Hunting and Gathering (Anna Gavalda) - A perfect weaving-together of lives; bringing wounded people together . . . finding that, together, they are greater than the sum of their parts.  Translated from French, this book is beautiful to read.  (The French title was "Togetherness is Everything," which seems more appropriate somehow.)
  5. We Are Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler) - This one is worth the read for the narrator alone (such a witty and engaging character!) -- but there is so much more!  (This one is probably best read without any prior knowledge of the story, so that's all I'm going to say here.)
  6. The Children Act (Ian McEwan) - One reviewer compared this book to choreography, and I think that's the perfect description!  There are never easy answers -- even when it seems like there are.
  7. Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) - A truly global love story that covers so many topics your head might spin!  Race, feminism, immigration, emigration, interracial relationships . . . and natural hair.  Enlightening.
  8. The Secret Place (Tana French) - The 5th in the Dublin Murder Squad series, and probably not the strongest of the 5, but I love this series - and thought this was a terrific read.  
  9. Burial Rites (Hannah Kent ) - This is not a happy book (just sayin'), but it is stark and lyrical and makes you realize . . . how many stories are lost out there.  Because not every voice is heard.
  10. How to be both (Ali Smith) - Okay.  Technically this one probably shouldn't be on my list.  Because I'm not quite finished yet.  But.  I think it needs to be here.  Because up is down and down is up, inside is outside and outside is in.  I've never read a book like this one!

How about YOU?  What are your favorite books this year?


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How to be Both sounds so intriguing that I think it will be the first book I read in the new year. Thanks for some great recommendations!


I have read everything on your reading list except the Ali Smith (which is on my list to read) and We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, I'm on the fence with that one. I'll be rereading Shipping News in 2015, but loved it all the many years ago I read it the first time. I enjoying sharing books with you. We're always on the same track. Good Reads!


No overlap, but I don't have ten books either. :)

Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm

This is the second recommendation for The Children Act. It is going on my tbr list.


No overlap! I haven't read any of your ten...but have plans to read at least two (All the Light and Americanah) in 2015. And you know I'm intrigued about Ali Smith's latest. All Good(reads)!


I keep seeing All The Light We Cannot See...it must find it's way to my TBR list


I haven't read any of these. Possible additions to my must read list.
I love goodreads...it keeps me from reading the same book over and over again if I don't want to. ;)


I do read. I really do. But these days the lightness of the subject matter I prefer to spend my time with (in my old age) would float off on a feather. And I'm fine with that. But sometimes things change. So thank you, Kym, for some really intriguing alternatives for this happily frivolous (but possibly open-minded) reader.


I'd have to put All the Light We Cannot See at the top of my list, too. I have several of yours in my queue already but I just added a couple more!


I loved All the Light We Cannot See, Americanah, and The Secret Place. One of my favorites not on your list was Station Eleven. I've had a couple of friends recommend The Luminaries -- I think it needs to go on my list.

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