Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is throwback Tuesday. I’ve decided to show you the books I loved in 2014. Why 2014? Because that’s the year I started using Goodreads to track my reading. Before then, I was a pen-and-notebook kind of girl. I don’t have those notebooks anymore because I lose everything. Luckily, I can’t lose Goodreads, so here are my 2014 favorites. (In no particular order.)

Books I Loved In 2014

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. 
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories – Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in these tales of loneliness, quick violence, and the wrong kinds of love. Each of the portraits in Close Range reveals characters fiercely wrought with precision and grace.

Fat Kid Rules The World – K.L. Going

Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy's dad thinks Curt's a drug addict and Troy's brother thinks Troy's the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can't play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy's own life, forever.

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

A class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura's story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. 
Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Burned – Ellen Hopkins

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious—yet abusive—family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation. 
This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers—about God, a woman's role, sex, love—mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it? 
It's with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn's father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn't know. 
Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both—until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell—a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.

The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. 
Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies. 
We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost—and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.

Different Seasons – Stephen King

“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” The most satisfying tale of unjust imprisonment and offbeat escape since The Count of Monte Cristo. 
“Apt Pupil.” A golden California schoolboy and an old man with a hideous past enter into a fateful and chilling mutual parasitism. 
“The Body.” Four rambunctious young boys venture into the Maine woods and find life, death, and intimations of their own mortality. 
“The Breathing Method.” A tale told in a strange club about a woman determined to give birth no matter what.

Have you read any of these? Do you remember the best book you read in 2014?


  1. The Book Thief is on my list to read this year!

  2. I really want to read the Book Thief sometime this year. I am also interested in I Am The Messenger. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian sounds great too.

    Here's my TTT!

  3. I still need to read The Book Thief. One day I am sure I will get to it!

  4. I need to read The Book Thief. It's sitting on my shelf just waiting for time...I did the same year for my TTT, the year I started blogging :)

  5. I actually read Part-time Indian a few months ago, maybe last winter? I haven't read any of the others on your list!

  6. So many books on your list that I haven't read! I am going to have to add some of them to my tbr I think :)

    You can check out my Top Ten Books Published 10 Years Ago HERE

  7. I cried my eyes out at the end of The Book Thief! I won't put any spoilers for it though. My dad loved the Battle Royale films. I have the book but I'm a little worried about keeping all the characters straight in my head. This was why I watched Game of Thrones before trying the books. Maybe I should watch the film of BR before reading it...

  8. I should try that Goodreads thing sometime lol. Okay I do but I don't use it nearly enough, I still do the notebook thing. Which is sad. anyway Close Range sounds interesting, and Battle Royale I've never heard of but I kinda want to check it out. That one has me really curious, especially at this time in society.

  9. Great list! I still need to read the Book Thief myself.

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  10. The Book Thief was so good! I can see why it made your list!

  11. Hi AJ – the Book Thief is excellent isn’t it … I’d like to read Fat Kid Rules the World … seems I’d learn something about punk and music … Atwood’s Blind Assassin – you’ve converted me with your review … Sherman Alexie’s diary I’m sure would teach me loads too … lots of reading to do – cheers Hilary

  12. The Book Thief is one of my absolute favourite books!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/top-ten-tuesday-124/

  13. This is a great list, I also loved The Book Thief, I still need to read books by Ellen Hopkins, so I'm glad to see that she made it to your list!

  14. I tried tracking my reading with a notepad for a while but I always forgot to update it. Goodreads is just so much more convenient ��

  15. I have not read any of the books on your list. But I do have my book reviews going back to 2006, so I can name a few I loved in 2014; Inkheart, Out of the Ruins, The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle), and Number the Stars to name a few.

    My TTT: http://books.thetechchef.net/top-ten-tuesday-32/

  16. I haven't read any of those. Though I've read some stuff by King and Alexie.

    Come Here Often?: 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar
    A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
    Aimless Love (poetry from Billy Collins)

  17. My reading before Goodreads is pretty hard for me to remember. I have only read The Book Thief from this list but I did enjoy that one. Several of the other books mentioned are on my tbr list.

  18. The Book Thief remains one of my favorite books. It had such an impact on me. I ought to reread it soon. Great list!

  19. Ahh I ADORE the Book Thief. <3 Because good books always rip out your heart apparently. And I only read Diary of a Part Time Indian recently but I thought it was really good! And It's Kind of a Funny Story is so so sad. 😭😭

  20. It's Kind of a Funny Story made my list too. This book was bittersweet for me, since the ending was so hopeful, but I had read the book after Vizzini's death.

  21. So many great books made your list! I haven't seen Battle Royale in a while! :)

    Lauren @ Always Me