My Favorite Reads in 2014

I consider myself a reader, a lover of books, a bibliophile. My first job was at a library, and my Master’s Degree is in Library and Information Sciences. That being said, you might think that I read all the time – that I rack up books like some people rack up speeding tickets. And, for the most part, I’d like that to be true – but it usually isn’t. After counting up all the books I read in 2014, I came up with 35. 35 books read in 2014 – for me, that seems like a very small amount – it’s much less than I expected. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that I am actually listening to more books via Audible than I am reading the hard copies – So while I’m enjoying a book nearly every day, I’m not finishing them at the same rate (audiobooks are a much slower form of reading for me). Even so, I read some great ones. Below are my Top 5 for the year. Enjoy!

BestBooks2014

1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This was by far my favorite read of 2014. Think spy novel mixed with conscious reincarnation. Harry August, born to average parents in an average village, is destined to relive his life – his exact life – over and over, all the while, combating the indisputable fact that the world is ending. Not just is the world ending, but it’s ending at a faster rate with each life Harry lives. Without giving too much more away, you’ll have to settle with the simple fact that I adored this book, and strongly recommend it to history enthusiasts, scifi fans, and readers of adult fiction. Seriously, go read this book!

2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

This was an underdog of a book for me – a short read/listen as I drove across the state to visit a friend for Christmas (the audio book was roughly the same length as the drive). Yet, the little book packed a big punch. A.J. Fikry is the owner of the only bookstore on Alice Island – and he is just going through the motions until he can retire. That is until, a series of somewhat unfortunate, and somewhat amazing, events give A.J. a reason to live life – to really live. This book is an amazing read for the book lover. It made me laugh. It made me cry. I loved it.

3. American Gods

First, I love Neil Gaiman’s Young Adult works. American Gods, therefore, did not disappoint me. Easily the longest read of 2014, it was also one of the most intriguing. When ancient gods (think Oden) must face off against new gods (like Internet), Shadow gets caught in the middle. Settle in for a ride full of norse mythology, coin tricks, and human relationships. It’s an epic tale, for sure, but one worth the investment. It will forever change the way you view the world.

4. Howl’s Moving Castle

By far, this is my favorite movie by Hayao Miyazaki, and for years, I had no idea it was based on a book. So, when Dad was laid up for his second hip-replacement back in January, I used this book to pass the time on the drive to/from the hospital and during our hospital stay. The book, as usual, has so much more depth than the movie and I love the magic in it. It forever changed the way I look at the film, but in the best of ways. If you’re looking for a family read, or a book to recommend to your middle-schooler – this is it.

5.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon

This book was my introduction to Sarah Addison Allen – and I loved it. It’s a quick read, full of magic realism and good ole southern charm. If your looking for a quirky, fantastic read, I highly suggest The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

Runner’s Up:

I had an unexpectedly hard time coming up with just 5 best books. The 3 below are my honorable mentions – and well worth your time if you’re looking to add to your to-read pile.

  1. The Phantom Tollbooth – How had I not read this before? My fourth-grade self is kicking me. Seriously, have your kids read this – and read the hard copy you’ll miss all the puns otherwise.
  2. The Rosie Project – Listen to this one, the audio version is hilarious and I adore a quirky narrator. Think Asperger’s Adult looks for love using a systematic formula. How could it go wrong? (Plus, I just learned there’s a sequel published in September 2014!)
  3. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – History enthusiasts will love this one where Allan, bored with his retirement home life, escapes, forming varied friendships and reliving his history-defying past.

What were your favorite reads of 2014? Have anything that I simply MUST add to my to-read pile?

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