In lieu of an official Top Ten Tuesday post for you, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the books that have made an impact on me in the past year.
One of the reasons I will always be a prolific reader is that I believe in the power of books and words. Storytelling cuts right to the heart of an individual, yet manages to reach so many people; that’s one of the most magical gifts human beings have given to one another in our sweeping history.
But I digress. The New Year approaches and I often feel expansive when looking back at the recent past. So without further ado and in no particular order, here are the books that had the most impact on me for 2014.
*Pictures and links sourced from Goodreads*
1. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
This book was originally published in 2001, and it took me until this spring to finally read the famed Freakonomics. There is so much information jam packed into this crafty piece of non-fiction, but somehow Levitt and Dubner manage to make it all fascinating and relevant. If you’re the kind of person who loves knowing how things work or interconnect, then I would highly recommend Freakonomics.
2. The One & Only by Emily Giffin
In my very first PopSugar Must Have Box (which I don’t have a posted review for) I received a hardback copy of Giffin’s latest novel. Not only is this one of my favorite things I’ve ever received in a subscription box but it turned out to be a perfect summer read. The One & Only was my first Emily Giffin book and I’m anxious to read more from this contemporary writer.
3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
If you’ve been following my blog you probably already know about this post. Not only did this book have a profound effect on me as a person and a reader, but writing a review of this piece of nonfiction changed the readership of my blog. I was deeply honored to be Freshly Pressed and in the process have discovered so many new readers and writers.
Grief is one of the most personal experiences we have and reading Didion’s memoir let me in to her grief while allowing me to come to terms with my own. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking solace from loss, but I also recommend waiting for at least a year so that you can better understand your own journey.
I have a weird obsession with this book. It wasn’t even that it was such a phenomenal read that I gave it five bubbles; it was a fairly pleasant run-of-the-mill reading experience. Yet I have mentioned this dratted book on nearly every Top Ten Tuesday list that reflects upon my reading habits. So it must be better than I thought initially.
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Again, this shouldn’t surprise anyone because I’ve been talking about how much I enjoy this book quite a bit. You can read my full review here if you’re interested.
6. Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky
This was a pleasant non-fiction read that changed the way I think about staying at hotels (not necessarily in a bad way) and how I approach service industries at large. So while it didn’t get the highest rating I can give for a book, Heads in Beds really stuck with me in a positive way, which is why it makes it on to this list. Check out my full thoughts here.
7. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This is a book for book lovers. The reverence and adoration for books and writing is at the heart of this tale. Zafon is also an expert at magical realism, which shines through in this inventive, thoughtful novel.
8. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
My very first Michael Crichton novel and I adored it. I can see why so many of his books have been adapted for film because Crichton has a cinematic style to his fiction. I’m incredibly excited for Jurassic World to come out next year, and I would like to catch up with the books as well.
9. Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame by Ty Burr
This list wouldn’t be complete without a book about film, since that is such an important part of my life. I know I don’t talk about film on here as much as I do books and beauty, but that’s because movies are a major part of my day-to-day life and I don’t have enough of an outlet to talk about the other stuff, so I blog. Anyway, I am a big fan of Ty Burr’s writing style, which is both informative and accessible. Burr is also the film critic for The Boston Globe so he knows his stuff about film. This book tracks the evolution of the star from the first celluloid celebrities in the teens and twenties to modern reality stardom. If you’re a bit of a film buff, this is the read for you.
10. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm
I won’t say much about this book, except that it comes out this January and you should look for it on the shelves. I got an ARC through Goodreads and will be posting a full review in the coming weeks. So keep an eye out for that as well.
This past year I made more of an effort to read non-fiction, and I would say that paid off immensely as four of my favorite books from the year are non-fiction. I’ve also been more open to others’ recommendations and just grabbing things from the library instead of only reading my favorite authors, so that has been a ton of fun!
Hope you’ve had some noteworthy novels in your life this year! I can’t wait to start reading for 2015.
Thanks for popping in!
2 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2014”
Great list! I really loved The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Best regards and Happy New Year!
Thank you! And Happy New Year to you too!