I thought I’d add my favorite books of last year to the pages of blog posts dedicated to the year in books. (I just reorganized our bookshelves today, so it was on my mind.)
Turns out I really failed quite miserably at reading last year. According to Goodreads, I only got through 17 books. I know there are a few more that weren’t added to Goodreads, but I bet that max, I read 20. That’s pretty darn sad. I can make a lot of excuses, but really, I spent too much time watching Netflix and browsing online. Both my husband and I are trying hard not to do that again this year, and we have a new little project he cooked up that I’ll write about on Friday.
So back to my list. Out of the 17-20 books I read last year, I really can only honestly pick a top 5. In addition to not reading a ton, I read a lot of books that were less-than. Sigh. At least I ended the year on a high note: The week I was off of work for the holidays, I reread all seven Harry Potter books. (And yes, that’s pretty much all I did. It was great.)
My top 5 books of 2014, in no particular order:
• Yokohama Yankee by Leslie Helm
I picked this up at Chin Music Press in Pike Place Market. The author tells the story of his family, with all the complications that arose from his white and Japanese heritage. Helm, through the story of his family, also tells the story of Japan in a way that is engaging. In addition, Chin Music Press always has beautifully designed books that simply feel good in your hand.
• All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Who doesn’t have this one on their best-of list? This was a book club selection, and one of the only from the year that every member finished. Doerr’s tale from World War II tells an interesting part of the story, with two main characters who are both very human and therefore very interesting. It brought me to a part of the world I’d never explored (through books or otherwise). The short chapters and engaging story means it’s a quick read.
• Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof
This nonfiction book is a must-read for everyone, but particularly women. It is well researched, and provides a lot of personal stories to give a human face to women from around the world. I appreciate that the author not only explains the problems women face but also what is and what isn’t helping. The book also gives a great list of resources for what you can do to help—which you’ll want to do after reading about all the things happening around the world. While anyone that watches the news probably knows about some of these things, this book really focuses the camera and puts a face to the sometimes anonymous stories seen on the news.
• Assault Rifles & Pedophiles by Brian Krans
This is simply a fun story. I went to college with Krans, and bought this novel to support a fellow writer—but it’s really a great book. The characters all start in the break room of a big box store, held hostage by the protagonist, but the story extends far beyond that, to unexpected places. This is another one I plowed through, with snappy writing that carries you along.
• Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I highly doubt anyone reading this hasn’t already read this book, but I just finished it during the holidays, and even though I’ve read it a number of times, it still makes me tear up. The seventh book in the series impresses me because Rowling ties everything up, and things that happened throughout the series suddenly make sense. I’m just so impressed with the details and threads that weave throughout. I can’t imagine the number of notes she must have had while working on these books to keep everything straight. If you haven’t read it in awhile, consider a reread. Totally worth it.