Friday, January 2, 2015

2014...My Year In Books

I love Goodreads. It is a Website dedicated to books and it is the only I can keep track of all the books I read. Now, I realize how much of nerd I am, but even I was surprsied when Goodreads presented my year in books (a list of all the books you read in one year). I have read 86 books this year. I'm wondering if it is possible to read too much? No, the answer to that question is no you can never read too much.

I love reading, it is a passion. Like writing, reading is not simply something that I do, it is who I am. Getting lost in the words of a story is as natural as breathing and I couldn't imagine life without it.

I share with you now a link to my list: [CLICK HERE]

I don't want to bore you with all 86 books I read this year, but I was thinking it would be fun to make a list of the Top 10. It is difficult for me to choose only 10, but I want to give a worthwhile list of what I consider the best (and I'll lump series together so that helps.)

10. Safe Haven by Nicolas Sparks

This was a delightful story about the courage it takes to break free from abuse and the ability to love again. I love so many of Sparks stories, but this was one that just made my heart melt.

9. Paper Towns by John Green

Green has really come onto the literary scene as a power house writer. I love that his stories whisper to us that ordinary life is extraordinary. Paper Towns is a beautiful coming of age story, where it is okay to take the time for find out who your really are. Often that knowledge is discovered in ways that you would never dream. This is one of two of Green's novels that made it onto my Top 10 for this year.

8. Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

Roberts is another author that I just can't get enough of. I've read more books by her than anyone else I believe. She has a way of bringing that special moment in relationships into focus and making us all believe in true love over and over again. Chasing Fire is a story of great passion. I think that is what I loved about it so much. Everything these character encounter is met with this overwhelming force that only those who risk their lives on a daily basis can understand. It is a beautiful love story that showcases the true passion that life can hold.

7. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I actually can't believe it took me so long to read this novel since it is quite the classic. However, I picked it up on our vacation in New England and I couldn't put it down. It is a timeless story of the power to create your own ending. It is full of magic, companionship and the choice to become who you want to be.

6. Chosen by Ginger Garrett

This is one story that took me completely by surprise. Chosen is the tale of Esther (from the Bible) and how she became the King's wife. This has always been one of my favorite stories from the Bible because it is about the courage and boldness of a woman who would save her people, the Jews. Garrett really brings this story to life in a passionate way. It really brings out the prestige of becoming a wife and what that really means to the woman the King chose. It also showcases the conflict and animosity housed by those under the King's command. Since Garrett is not afraid to bring honest history into this story, you can really see how courageous Esther really was and what she went through to become the hero we know her as. She did something only a brave woman could have done, something that she was put in a place such as this just for one moment where she had the opportunity to make a true difference. This was such a great telling of Esther, it made me fall in love with the story all over again.

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

This book was a recommendation from a friend and it was a great one. This is another coming of age story of a girl who learns that she is the key to another world. I love this story because of the encouragement to be exactly who you are, who ever that may be, and the power of friendship.

4. Protector of the Small Quartet (First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight) by Tamora Pierce

This is another series recommended to me by a friend. I loved this series so much. It is definitely a Young Adult novel that is geared for an average of age 10, but I still got so much out of this story It is about a girl who desires to be a knight, something unheard of in that day and time. However, she is dedicated and strong and overcomes all odds to become who she wants to be. I love how much Pierce covers in this story. She speaks of overcoming diversity, protecting those smaller than you, bullying, friendship and confidence. I love this tale and I can't wait to share it with my daughter.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is a very popular book now and was made into a movie this past summer. Honestly, it is worth the hype. I was hesitant to read this novel because I try to steer clear of sad stories that I know will make me cry. However, I was glad I read this one...and yes, I did cry. Green creates characters that we can relate to, interactions that I would have with my friends. He makes an unimaginable situation seem real and raw and honest. I fell in love with these characters, who found strength in each other when they were at their weakest. There are just so many quotes and memorable scenes from this one that it is hard to forget.

2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I tend to read a lot of romance novels and teen fiction, but this was a story that I am glad I encountered. After finishing this novel, I have told my husband, brother-in-law and anyone else who will listen that they have to read this story. It is about a young boy who goes to an academy to become the next commander of the army's fleet; however, his story is so powerful I can't even describe it accurately. You just have to read it, but you will be glad you did.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Now this is a novel that I will not soon forget. It is the story of a German family in the early years of WWII. I imagine Zoey will be reading this in English class in High School, at least I hope so. There are so many wonderful elements in this story. The best part, it is narrated by death. I mean, there isn't a better perspective in my opinion, especially in the years of war. There are many literary devices at work in this novel, but more importantly it is a tale that is impossible to forget. This is one that stays with you long after you close the cover. Even now I get chills as I remember some scenes. (This is saying a lot because the reason I tend to re-read many books because I have a hard time remembering the details after time has passed.) This is one novel that I believe everyone should read one day.

Those are my Top 10. There are happy ones and sad ones, but all of them are memorable to me for one reason or another.

I also love to re-read books. I've re-read several this year that I did not include in the Top 10 list. However, if it is good enough to read twice (or more), I believe it is worth mentioning.

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  3. A Light in the Attic and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein (I read these two with Zoey and it was a great way to end our days together.)
  4. The Three Island Sisters Trilogy (Dance Upon the Air, Heaven & Earth, and Face the Fire) by Nora Roberts
  5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  6. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  7. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  8. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  9. The Mortal Instruments Trilogy (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess) by Cassandra Clare
  10. The Giver by Lois Lowry
That is my year in books. Honestly, one of the things I am looking forward to in 2015 is creating a new list of books read in one year. I want to at least read 50, but we'll see how that goes. 

What books have you read lately that stood out to you? Also, if you are on Goodreads, look me up, I'd love to experience the magic of books with you!

Happy Reading in 2015!

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