Books,  Just Life

Ten on Tuesday | My 2014 Book Report.

…today’s topic is about books. Carole’s asked us to share our ten favorites from 2014. But first, I want to talk a little about what my reading year was like overall because it was a great one!

snagged from Goodreads – you can see all the details (including bigger book covers!) here

Not only in terms of quantity – I read more books in 2014 than in the previous two years combined. It helps being in two bookclubs (eight books – actually it surprised me the number wasn’t higher, but a few of the selections were ones I’d already read and I didn’t re-read them) and joining Books on the Nightstand Summer Bingo (24 books read from Memorial Day to Labor Day, including three for bookclub). I think the Book Bingo really got me excited about reading. I certainly didn’t keep up the pace for the rest of the year, but I did continue to read two books at once. And I explored genres I wasn’t even familiar with (fantasy?) before the summer.

But also quality. In addition to new genres, I seemed to read better books. Or at least I thought they were. I had a record twelve 5-star books and a whole lot that earned four stars (with only one, my most recent finish getting only two stars).

This morning I tackled “favorites”. I’m glad I got to choose ten – I don’t think I could’ve come up with  a shorter list!

I added them to a new shelf – and through the magic of Goodreads can share them here interactively (I only wish my html skills were this good… and note I cannot figure out how to get my entire review to show up here – if you’re interested, you can click through to read the rest.) Note that these are sorted in date read, from first to last. Interesting that only one preceded Book Bingo, but four followed it. Maybe we always tend to have more recent books as “favorites”?

Mary’s bookshelf: 2014-favorites

The Rosie Project
5 of 5 stars
I loved this! laughed out loud and even teared up a few times. highly recommend. I also loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. something about the way the characters see the world and can stay so focused fascinates me.
The Sparrow
5 of 5 stars
whoa. I finished it over an hour ago and I’m still…spent. This was an amazing story, beautifully told. …and now I need someone to talk with about it. desperately!
The Invention of Wings
5 of 5 stars
I was going to give this book 4-1/2 stars until I listened to the author tell about how she came upon the story and the parts that are true … and I loved it that extra half star. I’ve lived in the South for over 30 years and I am kind …
The Garden of Evening Mists
5 of 5 stars
oh my this was a wonderful book – one of my favorites in a very long time. it was a beautiful story about love and loss and choices and the writing was beautiful, too. I listened to this and then went back to read favorite passages. I’d …
5 of 5 stars
I was completely and totally captivated. I know I’d read this at least twice before – once as a teenager and again when I bought the late 1990’s edition paperback that still sits on my bookshelf. yet somehow, I’d managed to forget how th…
Life After Life
5 of 5 stars
I’ve just finished listening to this (and btw, I give Fenella Woolgar 5 stars for her fabulous narration, too) and I have this wonderful happy/sad feeling that only accompanies a really great story, well-written…that I’ve finished. I f…
The Lies of Locke Lamora
4 of 5 stars
I really loved everything about this book. Great story – I gasped out loud as a few of the plot twists were revealed. Truly, I had no idea where it was going to end up. Great characters, including a really lovable main character (who is …
Ordinary Grace
4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this one (funny, I’m now getting into “boy” stories…maybe because I have new grandson?). Parts of it evoked that wonderful movie from a few years back, Stand by Me. And the straightforward “faith and grace” that I lo…
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
4 of 5 stars
I tried to read this years ago; I don’t think I even made it 50 pages before I returned it to the library. But on Kym and Margene’s recommendations, I tried again. This time I got the audible version and I LOVED it. There were two differ…
The Bone Clocks
5 of 5 stars
wow. I finished the last little bit yesterday morning and I’m still getting my head around all of it. early on, I described the book as a “hot mess of a story” and it is (all in a very good way). The plot is a wild and crazy ride (I don’…

I’m hoping to continue the reading momentum into 2015. I’ve joined another challenge, Bookriot’s ReadHarder. This one is also 24 books, and the topics are going to broaden my horizons even more. You can see more about the challenge here, and the books I’m planning to read here (note that I still have to decide on a graphic novel and a guilty pleasure… I’ve got plenty of time for both!) I’m looking forward to trying new authors and genres. I’ve talked a few friends into joining me and I’d love more company; I don’t think you have to “do” anything official to join…just start reading!

I can’t wait to see what books everyone shares today. These topics always add at least a few books to my queue!


  • margene

    We've read many of the same books, but we already knew that. The Sparrow is one that's been recommended so many times I think I need to add it to my list.

  • Kym

    We don't have any overlapping books for THIS year . . . but I've read (and loved!) many of the books on your list in past years! The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Life After Life, Garden of the Evening Mists (a Truly Great Book!), and Rebecca (although I don't share the Rebecca-love so many other readers have. . .) are all books I've read in recent years. Like Margene, I've heard about The Sparrow so many times . . . but haven't read it yet.

  • Bonny

    I couldn't wait to see your list, along with your thoughtful reading commentary! I'm also looking forward to your 2015 reads. I'm still thinking about the ReadHarder challenge, but I'm hesitant to commit to something I'm not sure I can follow through on. I am going to do BotN Book Bingo again this summer because I read so many wonderful books through that and I have you to thank! How I wish we lived closer; I really disliked The Rosie Project (but loved Curious Incident) and I'm sure I'd learn some things if I was able to talk about Rosie with a book group to better understand why I didn't like it. Based on your recommendation, I have to give The Sparrow a try this year. Sorry for the long comment and thank you for a great book post!

  • Carole Julius

    I read more books than ever this year, too, and I owe it to you and your recommendation of Books on the Nightstand! My to-read list just grew a bit longer after reading yours!