Every year I try to feature the best books I read in a year (See 2012 and 2013’s choices). In 2013 my goal for #30before30 was to read 50 books one last time. I didn’t want to read that many in 2014 so I set a goal of 12. It might seem strange to cut back on reading but sometimes I find a book to be a good excuse not to do something else. Same with my laptop. It’s easy to get sucked away and look up hours later and realize I didn’t fold the towels or swap out the cabinets like I planned. Books are safe and easy and that’s why I love them and need to protect myself from them.
That being said, I still read 33 books last year. Oops. To be fair, I blame lunch breaks at my new job. There’s a ton of construction and no other workers who eat in my lunch space so it’s usually just me, a bowl of soup, and a book for an hour a day. I think that’s a safe way to do it. Read at lunch, read before bed, and take one devoted block of time a week to read. If I can stick to that routine I can read however many pages I can comprehend. Now, onto my favorites from 2014.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My favorite book of the year was Wild. I knew the movie was due out and I loved Bill Bryson’s take on the Appalachian Trail so why not try a read of the Pacific Crest Trail? I figured the book would be a spoiled rich girl getting her ass handed to her by nature and I’m glad to report it was so much more than that. I think a book about grief, loss, coming to terms with bad shit, failures and successes, and bad choices not defining a person as a whole are all lessons worth reading. I read this book at a time where I really did just want to run away from it all and it both encouraged and discouraged me in ways I needed.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
I hesitate to define this book in any way. It reaches out to young adults but reads more like adult fiction. It’s contemporary and set in the past, literary and choppy, spiritual and in search of justice. The book covers a horrible event for the main character’s family and how the events around it begin to define himself as he comes of age. Throw in issues like tribal history, an unfamiliar belief system, justice in a world biased against your people, and how we define friendship and family and this book is far more reaching than an after-school special.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
This book had some holes and some flaws at times but I can’t overlook how captivated I was in my reading of this. I really don’t know how I ate or slept as I read this. Picking it up sucked me in and putting it down just left my brain to dwell on murder and mystery. I haven’t found a lot of books like this one, when considering plot or drama factor. The book covers a girl attempting to solve her own attempted murder and she discovers the impossible is possible.
In Death/Eve Dallas Series by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts
Worthy of an honorable mention are the In Death books written by Nora Roberts under a pen name. The books follow Lieutenant Eve Dallas as she fights crime in the future. It’s not so far into the future that the technology is unbelievable and the characters she works with are a fun group of personalities. The book series is a good twist on the usual Law & Order style while still sticking to a formula. If you need some fluff books or palette cleansers between your next read, these insert perfectly. I’ve read about a dozen over the last year and enjoyed myself while doing so.