Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 - the year in books

In terms of books, 2014 wasn't too different from 2013. I struggled to find time to read, started but haven't yet finished multiple books and really, really miss reading but don't quite seem to be able to find my way back to it. A lot of that was down to having to study. Even though I didn't study half as much as I should have and didn't read half as many newspapers as I really should have, even the amount I did do meant less time for reading. And I started cycling to work, so don't even have the six or seven minutes on the tram to get a couple of pages read. Still, I did read some good books this year so here's the list. Although, true to the year it has been, I'm not even entirely sure I have a full list!

If you're interested in seeing lists for previous years, click 2012, 2011 or 2010. I'm joining in with Clickclackgorilla's booklovers' bloghop again this year. If you're posting a list of books that you've read this year, or about your favourite book or similar, click on over to bookpunks and link up.

(BC) = Book club books 
(RR) = something I've re-read - there are some books, such as by Georgette Heyer, that I invariably read every year when the escapism of new fiction isn't enough and I want to escape into familiar stories that always make me laugh or cry.

  1. Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan
  2. The Devil's Children - Peter Dickinson
  3. Heartsease - Peter Dickinson
  4. Embers - Sandor Marai (BC)
  5. Barnheart - Jenna Woginrich
  6. Made from Scratch - Jenna Woginrich
  7. Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (BC) (accidentally bought this children's version first - totally ridiculous adaptation of a, if not the, major plot point to make it suitable for kids made this silly book even more tedious)
  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (BC)
  9. Hit by a Farm - Catherine Friend
  10. One Hundred Great Books in Haiku - David Bader
  11. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
  12. A Tree grows in Brooklyn - Better Smith
  13. Perfect - Rachel Joyce (BC)
  14. Hard-Boiled Wonderland - Haruki Murakami (BC)
  15. The City and the City - China Mieville (BC)
  16. This Organic Life - Joan Dye Gussow
  17. The Postman - David Brin
  18. The Hedge Knight - George R. R. Martin
  19. The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  20. Downturn Abbey - Ross O'Carroll Kelly as told to Paul Howard
  21. Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding
  22. Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  23. Dragonquest - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  24. Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  25. The White Dragon - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  26. Dragonsinger - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  27. Dragondrums - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  28. All the Weyrs of Pern - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  29. The Renegads of Pern - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  30. The Baker's Boy - J. V. Jones (RR)
  31. A Man Betrayed - J. V. Jones (RR)
  32. Master and Fool - J. V. Jones (RR)
  33. Balthasar's Odyssey - Amin Maalouf (BC)
  34. Keeping up with the Kalashnikovs - Ross O'Carroll Kelly as told to Paul Howard
  35. Picknick auf dem Eis - Andrej Kurkov
  36. Das Große Los - Meike Winnemuth (three chapters left, finishing today)
  37. Tackling Depression - Ian Birthistle (one and a half chapters left, finishing today)


nikki @bookpunks said...

Is "One Hundred Great Books in Haiku" actually a book of haikus??

I have never read any Anne McCaffrey. Where do you recommend starting with her, if one were to start?

Ahh, that answers my question about Mieville. I want to know more of your thoughts on that! That is on my phone waiting for me right now.

And you read The Postman! That is on my list too. How was that??

Also, did you like Hard-Boiled Wonderland? Yet another one from your list that is on my to-read shelf.

Moonwaves said...

100 Great Books in Haiku is indeed actually a book of haikus. It's a fun little book. Here's Little Women, for example:
Snowdrops hand like tears.
Shy, sweet, saintly Beth has died.
One down, three to go.
Or how about The Metamorphosis:
"What have I become?"
Uncertain, Gregor Samsa
puts out some feelers.

Anne McCaffrey's Dragon books were my introduction to fantasy and science fiction. Before that, I mostly read romance novels, chick lit and the occasional classic. Without wanting to sound disparaging (because I still love lots of her books), these were a good bridge, I think, there's some romance but it's not the main story. I love the Dragon books (although there are so many tangents etc. written about the world, Pern, that it could get a bit boring to read them all) and the Crystalsingers trilogy in particular.
I really liked The City and the City and am looking forward to reading more of his stuff. It was weird, starts out like a standard Krimi-type book but the parallel worlds come into play pretty quickly and play more and more of a role as the story unfolds. I was somehow left with the feeling that I nearly knew the cities from real life. Yeah, it was weird. But good.
The Postman - well, the film of that is probably one of my guilty film pleasures. You know, one of those films that's really not very good but if it comes on television, you can't help but watch it through. So I was interested to read the book. As long as you're able to put aside any feminist leanings (really, ANY). As I wrote in my goodreads review, you need your willing suspension of disbelief glasses firmly in place for this one. Some interesting dystopian stuff but if even I can pick holes in it...
Hard-Boiled Wonderland: I am still unsure about. I kind of struggled with it. I did like it. I think. It's one I will probably have to read again before I can make up my mind about it.

Fiona said...

I've never read Anne McCaffrey either but that summary sounds interesting and it does sound like a good bridge into a genre I don't read much.

I am really loving the end of year book recaps...I trust the blogs I follow for some great picks.

How do you go with the German books? I still read some French ones side-by-side with a translation (if available) or at the least a good online dictionary.

Nikki @ Book Punks said...

Have you read any other Murakami? I loooved Kafka on the Shore.

I think I will someday read the Pern books for sure. People keep recommending them, so why the hell not?

Too bad that The Postman is going to piss me off from a feminist perspective. At the same time, I do quite enjoy reading all the early PA classics and seeing where the genre I enjoy so much came from. It can be a joy to see how far we've come with some of the gender issues. Will have to watch the movie afterwards as well.

I LOVE those haikus. Excellent.