Oh hi there. It’s been a minute since we’ve talked, yes? Well I could come up with a bunch of excuses but basically I was just packing in all sorts of holiday magic, crazy fun and fabulous trips. So what if it took me most of January to give that up?
In an effort to get myself together, here’s what I wanted to share with you at the beginning of the new year…
For the last two years I’ve participated in the Goodreads Challenge to read a certain number of books during the year. You set your own goal, so in 2013 I read 50 books and in 2014 I read 40 books! I’m pretty proud of it because my life is a weeeee bit hectic.
40 Books I Read in 2014:
Here’s the link to my list on Goodreads if you want to get info on any of the books.
If you’re trying to figure out how to fit reading into your schedule or find books that work for you, check out The Evolution of a Bookaholic- Confessions, Tips and Tricks. With my busy schedule, I ended up “reading” 95% of these books as audiobooks. I just downloaded them from iTunes and I listen with my headphones while I’m cleaning, driving or working out. But since I’ve been doing that, I don’t have the books to display on my shelves. I miss having them out where they can spark conversation. So I made a collage of the books I read along with the Goodreads Reading Challenge icon in Picassa and then had them printed and framed. I made one for 2013 and one for 2014. Now I can display my favorite books once again!
Soooo based on everything I read this year… which ones would I recommend?!? That, my friends, is the question . . .
BROOKE’S TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FROM 2014
Book I Couldn’t Put Down: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
I’m a huge thriller lover. This book was clever, layered and witty and does not let up for a minute. I LOVED it. I seriously couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of 24-binging back in the day when I HAD to know what happened to Jack Bauer and it didn’t matter if I lost sleep. I love a good black ops/CIA/secret operative kind of book and the author Terry Hayes knows his stuff. I’m hoping to see more from him SOON! You can’t go wrong with this book.
Book I Couldn’t Stop Thinking About: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
This book is full of charm and complexities. I love books that involve a moral dilemma and this book gave me a lot to think about. Will Traynor is a 30 something, successful, handsome man whose life changes in an instant when an accident leaves him a quadriplegic. He’s lost his desire to live and his family hires an unlikely caregiver- Lou Clark. Lou bursts in on the scene with determination and wit. But just when you think you know how it’s going to end… you don’t. This would be a great book club book and would incite a lively discussion. It’s the kind of book that wraps its way around your heart before you’ve even realized it.
Book That Totally Surprised Me: The Martian by Andy Weir
I heard about this book several times before I decided to read it. A guy gets stranded on Mars–I thought there was no way a whole book could be created out of that premise. BUT. I was so wrong. I loved this book from the very first sentence. The voice of the main character, Mark Watney, was so off-the-cuff and real to me that I immediately connected with him. This book is an impossible ride. Ridley Scott is directing the film adaptation of it with Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara and Kirsten Wiig, scheduled for release sometime this year so you better pick it up before.
Book I Had A Small Obsession With: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I was in charge of moderating this book for the Delicious Reads Book Club and I fell in love with it! We like to throw big parties with lots of food and details from the book. You can see recaps here:
The Goldfinch won the Pultizer Prize for 2014 and I will always love it! The characters are so well written and the story drew me in. I even did my own painting it for the Delicious Reads bash.
Book With A Twist: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan, so I knew I would like this book. I love the way she writes and how you make a judgement on something at the beginning of her book that gets flipped on its head by the end. Jenna Metcalf’s mother disappeared when she was a baby, just after an elephant killed the woman working with her. This story is Jenna’s search to find out what happened to her mother on that fateful day.
Jodi Picoult always weaves in something about a culture, religion, race etc. for us to learn about. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the parts about elephants, but it turned out to be my favorite part because I learned how elephants are matriarchal and the most amazing mothers. I fell so in love with the way they take care of their own babies and the other babies in the group. It also talked a lot about how elephants’ grief is very similar to humans. The actual storyline has an entirely different piece that revolves around psychics and mediums. How these are connected into this intricate storyline was fascinating. There’s a BIG piece of this I want to share because it would make you read it . . . BUT I won’t because it will ruin it. Just trust me that it’s a moving book, well worth reading.
Book I Can’t Wait for the Sequel: Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
This was another book I was shocked to LOVE! This isn’t typically a genre I read a lot but I couldn’t put it down! It’s the story based on Emma of Normandy and her rise in the kingdom. I was swept right into the richly detailed plot. Emma is a clever and strong woman in a time when women are not respected. I loved seeing the cunning ways she was able to think five steps ahead to outsmart people around her. The second book in the series, The Price of Blood, comes out February 5, 2015 and I can’t wait! We usually have mixed reviews on books we read at my book club, but everyone rated this a 4 or 5, which has never happened before. It was soooo good!
So there ya go! My top picks for 2014 in a nutshell. I hope that one of them sounds interesting! What about you? What have you read lately that you loved? If you want to set your own Reading Challenge, be sure to find me on Goodreads so we can share books! You can see my profile here.
Let me know if you pick up any of the books I recommended! See ya next time!