Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Laura’s Top Ten Books of 2014

I read a lot of wonderful books every year.  When I first started this blog, I used to do a top ten books list each year.  I have such lists for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 but then I started my new job as an instructor at NWTC and I fell off the list making wagon.  I decided this year, no matter how late in 2015 it became I would have my top ten list again!

When I make my top ten list, it is not of books published in 2014, but of books I read in 2014.  It also only includes books (or audiobooks) that I have read for the first time.  For example, I read A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich for maybe the sixth or so time this past year.  It’s one of my all-time favorite novels, but I’ve read it before so it won’t be on this list.   I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites this year – but here goes in no particular order.

1.       The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty – We read this for my book club, but sadly I had to miss the book club and discussion that month.  Moriarty wrote a fabulous multi-faceted novel that keep you intrigued and involved in the lives of all of the characters.

2.      The Innovators by Walter Isaacson – The Best Non-fiction book of the year for me.  I was fascinated by the lives of all of the individuals who through sacrifice, hard work, and a bit of luck were able to make the technology we take for granted today possibly.  This is a must read.

3.      You by Caroline Kepnes – I am still a little frightened thinking about this book.  The main narrator makes his love and the psychopathic choices he makes for this love seem like they make sense.  This is how a good love story can go very, very wrong.

4.      Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth – Stay up all night to read kind of books.  Divergent and Insurgent were exciting adventures.  I just read the third book Allegiant in 2015. . . it was not nearly so good.

5.      Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – Gabaldon is a master story teller and her books defy genres.  I loved getting to read more of Jamie and Claire’s tale, but yearn for more.  If you haven’t read this series, start with book one, Outlander.  You will not be sorry!

6.      Silent Spring by Rachel Carson – Even though I am an environmental engineer, I have never read this classic.  The disturbing part about reading it was discovering that although a lot has changed for the good since the 1960’s, a lot still hasn’t changed.  It was eye opening and still very relevant to today’s world.

7.      The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – A great historical fiction novel about a real historical abolitionist that I had never heard of and the relationship with her slave.  Riveting and a great book club selection.

8.      The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – Another great historical fiction novel, I loved the depths, the botany, and the struggle for a woman to find herself in middle age.  This was a great adventure and absorbing read.

9.      Me Before You by JoJo Moyes – Another book club favorite from 2014.  We still talk about this book and I still think about the ethical and emotional discussions it led to.  It was a wonderful love story, but so much more.  It really brought about a great discussion on what makes life worth living.  I really need to read more books by this author.  I read a lot of books last year, but I’ll admit that this was my favorite.

10.  The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – I loved Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy.  This final book in the trilogy was very satisfying.  The trilogy has historical fiction, time travel, witches, vampires, demons, and how to accept that we are all different but from the same fabric of life.  A great fantasy romance.

Some other fantastic books I read this year that wanted to be in my top ten, but didn’t quite make it were A Good Marriage by Stephen King, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, Netherwood and Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson, After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman, and Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield.

What were your favorite books of 2014?  Did you enjoy any of the selections above?


  1. Laura, I agree with you about Me Before You. I loved it! After wanting to read it for a long time (or something else by this author), I picked it up at the airport, and quickly became immersed in it. I will keep your other selections in mind. :)

  2. You're the first person who seems to have liked Signature of all Things as much as I. Most of these make my top 10, those that don't I've not read yet. Seems like we have similar reading taste.

  3. I loved Me Before You! Your post just reminded me that it's time for me to read another of Jojo's books. I l also have to try Moriarty's books.

  4. Elizabeth - I did love the Signature of All Things. I'm glad that someone else appreciates it as much as me!

    Laura and Suko - I'm glad to hear you loved Me Before You - what an excellent book!