The Year in Books 2014

This year I included a new category in my reading totals–books of more than 100 pages that I read aloud to the kids (or audio books I listened to with them, or longer books I read in order to discuss them with the kids for our family book clubs).  I had never kept track of those books before, and it was interesting to note how much our school reading and nightly read aloud time adds up.

In 2014 I read 139 books for myself (including Hamlet, which I forgot to review, but it’s good, of course), plus an additional 73 books in the read aloud/kids category, for a total of 212 books.

Below I’ve compiled a list of my absolute top favorites out of those 212 (links are to my longer reviews).

Best Fiction

  • On Such a Full Sea – When a literary novelist combines incredible writing with a setting in the dystopian future and themes that delve into class distinctions, cultural narratives, and heroes, you almost have to read it.  And you won’t be sorry.
  • The Night Circus  – I actually read this book twice in one year (well, I listened to it on audio the first time, but still).  I’m not sure if it will go down as a classic, but the story is fabulous.
  • The Bone Clocks – Weird, but exceptionally well-crafted story about time, humanity, good and evil, and all sorts of other things. Gripping.

Best Life Management

  • Essentialism – This exceptional book is not about maximizing your life in 15 minute increments, but more about how to untangle confusion, busy-ness, and triviality to get at what’s most important to you, and then how to protect your time and focus so you can really give your best efforts to those priorities.

Best Education/Reading

  • Deconstructing Penguins – Makes talking to your kids about books much easier and more productive.  Great vision as well as practical helps for homeschoolers or traditional schoolers (it’s about a book club for public school kids, so not a homeschool book at all, just FYI).
  • How the Heather Looks – This travel memoir of a young family touring England in search of the locations from all of their favorite books is wonderfully written and inspiring.

Best Faith/Theology

  • A Neglected Grace – A succinct, inspiring description of the vision and practical implementation of family worship.  Very helpful.

Best History

  • The Great Influenza and Asleep – After reading these two books, my family will be getting flu shots every year.  Fascinating, frightening, and compelling.

Best Read Alouds

  • The Saturdays – Along with the rest of this series (the Melendy Quartet), a fun, original book about a group of siblings having great adventures.
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – A perennial favorite (read twice aloud plus several times independently by both Jack and Hannah) about a colonial boy who pulls himself up by his bootstraps.
  • Five Children and It – Also a series (all wonderful!), this book follows a marvelous family of children and a weird creature who grants wishes.

What were the best books you read in 2014?

2 thoughts on “The Year in Books 2014

  1. Thanks Catherine! Your posts are fantastic; I don’t read them nearly enough. Besides these books, I’m adding your blog to my New Year’s reading list. happy new year!

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