12.30.2014

Favorite Books {2014}

A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

I did a whole lot of reading in 2014. I challenged myself to read 50 books this year, but I have read 75! Now I have to come up with a goal for 2015.....

Writing this list of my favorites is so tough. I second guess myself and wonder if I should exclude one and include another, but I tried to go with my gut instinct. Skip ahead if you just want the list and read on if you want to know HOW I read this much while having two small kids, a part time job, and a generally busy life.

Here's how I fit reading into the madness of life:

  • Audiobooks, Kindle, and the library - At any given moment, I have a book going on audio through Overdrive from my local library, and a book on my Kindle (usually checked out via Overdrive or purchased from a Kindle Daily Deal) or a hardcover or paperback book from the library. This way, I can listen to books while cleaning up the house or driving, then read another one when it's convenient (usually at night when the kids are in bed or lying next to me in my own bed!).

  • I make it a priority - After reading The Happiness Project, I realized that books make me happy and help me to feel that I've accomplished something, while TV makes me feel zoned out and sorta lazy. These feelings are certainly not universal, and I know that, but this is what works for me.

  • I keep track of what I am reading, have read, and want to read - Yeah for Goodreads! Having a system to track all this has really helped me to stay organized and to pick a great "next" book from my "to read" list. This way, the momentum never slows down (except when I get behind on magazines and my husband starts nagging me about the pile of them).

So here are my favorites in no particular order! These are not necessarily books published in 2014, it just happens that I read them in 2014:

A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Guardians of Ga'Hoole Series, Kathryn Lasky

This was an unexpected find. Had I not been trying out audio books on the amazing Overdrive app, I never would have found it!


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks

A friend loaned this to me and I read it in two days (which is a feat when you have two small children!).

A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Wildwood Chronicles, Colin Meloy

This series only gets better with each book. I was sad to see it end.


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

This Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner is one of those book that I didn't totally love while reading, but it stuck with me for weeks and really got me thinking. In fact, I STILL sometimes think about it!

A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

I haven't read much by Neil Gaiman, but this book inspired me to read more by him. It was just enchanting.


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Signature of all Things, Elizabeth Gilbert

Holy cow, what an epic this was! It surprised me in so many ways and I am glad to see it has so many good reviews on Amazon. Gilbert is better known for her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, which I have never read.


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty

I thought this was written by the same Moriarty that wrote The Husband's Secret, Big Little Lies, and The Last Anniversary, but she is her sister! If you've read any of my monthly book posts, you know that I prefer this Moriarty over that one.


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

Quiet, Susan Cain

This book completely changed how I parent my introvert. It gave me a new understanding of how she views the world (and how differently that is from the way I view it as an extrovert). I seriously bugged everyone I know for months after reading this book, sharing some of the amazing insights I gleaned from it. The Kindle version is only $2.99 right now!


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith (but really J.K. Rowling)

A whodunnit is completely outside of my usual genre of books, but I loved it and can't wait to read the next one in the Cormoran Strike series, The Silkworm.


A Pulitzer Prize winner, a novel about the plague, non-fiction touting the power of introverts, and talking owls are all included on my list of favorite books from 2014.

The Farseer Series, Robin Hobb

I stumbled across this one on Overdrive, too, but got completely sucked in. I plan on reading other books by Hobb (someday). They are all less than $6 each for the Kindle version today (for some reason, Amazon doesn't sell the paperback or hardcover versions?).

Honorable Mention

Honorable mention to and just missing the list are The Giver by Lois Lowry and the Thomas Cromwell Series, by Hilary Mantel. The Giver was just enthralling! What a well written and interesting book.  The only reason it didn't make the favorites list is completely related to me and not to the book - I feel like I have read a whole bunch of books like this lately.

As for the Thomas Cromwell series, Historical Fiction is a new genre for me, but one my Mom really loved, so it has sentimental value. This series about Thomas Cromwell has been outstanding. So well written and fascinating, even though you know what the ending will be!


Least Favorites

The only problem with reading books outside of my regular genre (years have passed where I only read Fantasy, Sci Fi, and Chick Lit) is that I ended up reading a few books that were not a good fit. Here are my least favorite books read this year, although I am glad I gave them a try:

Wild, Cheryl Strayed
I could not get past my annoyance with her terrible decision making skills.

The Astronaut Wives Club, Lily Koppel
Had so much potential, but read like a primer.

The Husband's Secret and What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty
I put them both together because I disliked them for the same reason - I can't stand when one of the characters is left in the dark about some very important thing when the other characters could so easily fix the problem.

The Vacationers, Emma Straub
Such a waste of great potential for a book.

The One & Only, Emily Giffin
Terrible plot. Just terrible.

Go read more lists of favorite books this year over at Modern Mrs. Darcy!

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10 comments:

  1. This is a great list of books. I loved The Chaperone: I have read all of Laura Moriarty's books & liked every one of them, though the Chaperone is quite different from the others. Our book club did Year of Wonders last year and Quiet just last month; both led to great discussions.

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    1. Thank you! I need to find more of Laura Moriarty's books. I got distracted by trying to love Liane's like everyone else, but I have come to terms with the fact that she's not for me.

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  2. Wild bothered me, too. The story was so interesting, but I wanted her to change more than she did. I started The One and Only, but had to quit a few chapters in. Ugh.

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    1. You were smart to quit The One and Only. I just couldn't believe that my beloved Emily Giffin could write such a terrible story. And yes, that's exactly the issue I had with Wild!

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  3. I was riveted by Quiet. I'm extremely extroverted and so many people I love are majorly introverted. I read this last year and this summer, I went to one of my introverted friend's wedding and in the midst of the crazy found what I learned in Cain's book to help me be a quiet and calming place for her! So many great insights as we try to connect with those who are different than us.

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    1. Riveted is exactly right! I kept making my husband read parts of it that applied perfectly to our little six-year old introvert.

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  4. I felt similarly about Astronaut Wives Club. Their stories deserved better. Enjoyed your list!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, such a bummer when there was so much potential for those stories.

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  5. Several of your favorites are on my TBR list for 2015. I think Liane Moriarty's sister is Jaclyn Moriarty (who writes YA) not Laura Moriarty.

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    1. Goodness gracious - how many Moriartys are there in Australia?

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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!