Since there is one more day left in the year, I thought my reading year in review might make a good inaugural post. I tried to keep up with the newest book trends, but I’ve also been trying to squeeze in some classics, so there is a mix of new and old in here. Overall, I’ve read some really great books (and a few crappy ones) in 2014, and I definitely have a few all-time favorites.
Let’s start with the unfavorites. I apologize in advance for the rant.
1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Rarely does a book annoy me as much as this one did. I can’t stand the poor-little rich girl thing, and while there was a decent twist at the end, it basically made the entire novel up to that point irrelevant. It could have been good. It tried to be good. But it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely do not recommend it.
2. Legend, Prodigy, and Champion by Marie Lu. In February, I went through a dystopian phase, and these were recommended by both Goodreads and Amazon based on books I’d liked. I stupidly ordered the whole set of them. And yes, I did finish all three books. But hate-read them. I sat in my bed and read all three books because I just needed to know what happened even though they made my blood boil the entire time. Again, these could have been good. But I just can’t get behind fifteen-year-old superhuman Romeo & Juliet. Protagonists need flaws, people.
3. The Magician King by Lev Grossman. This one is just barely an unfavorite. I enjoyed the first book in the trilogy (The Magicians), and I wanted to like this one, too. But you cannot spend an entire book sending your characters on a quest, and then force them to do it all over again in the sequel. I had to put this book on hold because I just couldn’t deal. I will finish this eventually. Because if I can finish the Legend trilogy, I can finish any book.
Now for the favorites!
1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This book changed my life. Seriously. I read this and was like, I want to work with books for a living. Two weeks later, I applied to grad school. This is an incredible example of writing. I don’t care what kind of books you like, you need to read this. It’s sequel, Golden Son, is out January 6 (and I get to go to the launch party!).
2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I don’t even know where to begin with this. It’s just incredible. It really is. It’s one of those books that makes you really happy, but at the same time feel incredibly stupid because your puny little brain could never come up with something so great.
3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is a beautiful book. The writing and the imagery are truly gorgeous. Morgenstern manages to write a love story that does not feel like a love story. It just seems timeless.
4. 1984 by George Orwell. I know, I know, how did I go twenty-five years without reading this book? Well, I’m actually glad I waited, because I would not have fully appreciated it in high school. It’s a classic. It will change your life. You need to read it. That’s all.
5. The Martian by Andy Weir. This book had me hooked from the beginning. Weir fit an awful lot of suspense and plot twists in a book that takes place over two years on a distant planet. And a bonus for all you science geeks out there: it’s been called technically accurate by NASA. So if you ever plan on getting stranded on Mars, The Martian would make an excellent survival guide.
6. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another book I waited too long to read. All I have to say is that my childhood was seriously deprived of good literature. This is a science fiction classic that also comments on humanity. Like 1984, this book will make you think differently about the world around you.
7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I sobbed for a good twenty minutes when I finished this book. It is heartbreaking and amazing. I found it to be an excellent portrait of the Holocaust, from a very unique perspective. The story of a German girl and a young Jewish man hiding in her basement, told by Death. So good.