Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Reading Recap

You say you don't want to read 100 books? How about a handful of really great ones? Here's a recap of my favorite books from my 2014 reading:

Best Fantasy:
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
A Golem, a Jinni, and lots of nights wandering around turn of the century NYC.

Best LDS Nonfiction:
Women at Church by Neylan McBaine
Lots of practical advice, anecdotal evidence, and support from LDS church leaders and behavioral experts showing how members and local leaders can work to help women feel more equal and included as LDS church members.

Best Historical Fiction:
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
A fictionalized retelling of the lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, abolitionists and women's rights supporters born in Charleston in the late 18th century, along with the story of Handful, Sarah's slave. 

Best Nonfiction:
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
Rob Peace's life is one that defies stereotypes or platitudes, and Jeff Hobbs tells it engagingly and with so much desire to understand.

Best LDS Fiction:
Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist
A portrait of a marriage over at least a decade, beautifully written but never sentimental, with a shocking, slightly unsettling twist near the end. 

Best Children's:
Girls Who Choose God by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding, Illustrated by Kathleen Peterson
These stories of women in the Bible is beautifully illustrated and set up in a way that helps readers relate the stories to their own lives. 

Best Horror:
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
This deliciously-creepy sequel to The Shining is as much about the relationship between the two protagonists as it is about defeating their soul-eating enemies. 

Best Essays:
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
On its surface, this is a book of essays and articles written by Patchett over the last 30 or so years. But it's organized in a way that gives it a beautiful and compelling narrative arc.

Best Book I Should Have Read a Long Time Ago:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
A book that takes patience and time, but the story of the dying Reverend John Ames, and the stories he wants to leave for his young son, are well worth slowing one's pace to enjoy.

Best Romance: 
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
The engaging tale of Sophy, a Regency-era Mary Poppins, who enters her cousins' lives and manages to straighten out all the messes they made.

Best Memoir:
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
This year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize shares the experiences that made her a crusader for girls' education and led to her being shot by the Taliban.

Best Thriller:
The Son by Jo Nesbo
Redemption and restitution are themes in this fast-paced, yet thoughtful, stand-alone Scandinavian police procedural.  

Best YA:
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Teenage twins whose close relationship is destroyed when tragedy strikes must learn to deal with guilt and grief to come together again.

Best Literary Fiction:
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
The third book in the Gilead series, Lila, the reluctant young wife of John Ames, is one whose voice and story I won't soon forget. 

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