2014 in Reading

2014-12-30 01.48.33

Last book of 2014!

2014 was many things… good, bad and ugly… but at least it did not throw any 1-star books at me! Of course a lot has changed in the course of this year, and I’ve had a lot to reflect upon… but the one constant has remained my love for reading (and determination to beat the Goodreads Reading Challenge). Around this time of year, I like to look at my stats and pick out the few that really stuck with me. And okay, okay, I’ve read some books that made me feel that I’ve wasted my time, but I still think I’ve had a pretty decent share of good ones, and I wrapped up the year with a pretty book (and some amazing sweets but that’s besides the point)! But first, let’s see how I checked out on the resolutions front!

DONE

  • I read 50 books in 2014! It was a close call, having finished the 50th book yesterday, but I made it!
  • I read one children’s novel and one middle grade novel and liked the latter more. That is important because the children’s one was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I wasn’t all that enamored by it.
  • I didn’t stop reading any books! On a roll for more than two years now!
  • I’ve written a review for every single book I read this year. I even went back and wrote reviews for some books I read years ago.
  • I was not lured by pretty covers. Well, I was lured by a book or two, but I think I improved!

FAILED

  • I did not read any classics, though I bought two gorgeous leather-bound classics (The Wizard of Oz and Anne of the Green Gables) and an absolutely fantastic hardcover for Alice in Wonderland, so that should count for something, right? Right? 
  • I didn’t read a single indie novel and I feel terrible about it. I promise I will make up for it in 2015.
  • I failed miserably when it came to cutting back. If anything it got worse because I started buying hardcovers as well as paperbacks. They’re so gorgeous I couldn’t resist!

Next year I will have the same resolutions, though I’m forgetting about the cutting back because obviously that’s not working out for me, and I will be reading 60 BOOKS. 

So now comes the breakdown. Unfortunately I don’t have the books I read with me, on account of having left them when I moved to Dubai, so I can’t take any pretty pictures. 😦 Instead, I’m going to name the few that stood out this year.

hero of ages

Best book of 2014: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson was epic. Never mind that the Mistborn trilogy has become one of my favourite series to date, this particular book was all sorts of amazing. I can’t believe the effort and brilliance that went into writing it, and I got such a massive book hangover after finishing it. It’s incredible without a semblance of a doubt.

Honourable Mention: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

7103884

Funniest book of 2014: Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohiko Azuma was absolutely hilarious. I know there are some who don’t consider graphic novels to be actual books, but I don’t get it – so much work goes into making them, they tell a story, they’re made of paper… it all adds up! Either way, this was amazing and had me cracking up on more than one occasion.

Honourable Mention: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

18744630

Biggest disappointment of 2014: I don’t like doing this, but really I was very disappointed with Khaled Hosseini’s latest book. I absolutely love his first two, but this one… this one was missing something and I was left feeling very unsatisfied, which sucks because he doesn’t write all that many books and god knows how long we’ll have to wait before he releases another one.

Not-so-honourable Mentions: Paper Towns by John Green; and Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella.

17904603Biggest Surprise of 2014: I wasn’t expecting much from The Universe Versus Alex Woods. Honestly I wasn’t expecting anything. I picked it up because it had a nice cover. >.> But it had such a unique plot and was so full of heart and emotion that it actually made me tear up towards the end. Not many books can do that. And strangely enough for a YA book, romance had a very minimal part in it (refreshing really!)

Honourable Mention: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

18716399Most Awaited Book of 2014: Ever since I devoured Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Cress… especially since it was a retelling of one of my favourite fairy tale characters – Rapunzel. The wait was worth it, not only because the book was thicker than the first two, oh no, but it was pretty good as well! I was a bit torn as to how to rate it, but judging by how fast I went through it… well, I had to give it 4 stars at the end. Now I just can’t wait for the final installment!

Honourable Mention: My True Love Gave to Me by misc authors.

2015 seems to be off to a good start. I already finishing reading Legion and Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson and LOVED it. Feels so good to begin the year with a 5-star book. 🙂

What were your best books of 2014? Got any reading goals for the new year?

Oh, and happy new year by the way!

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23 thoughts on “2014 in Reading

  1. I love that you finished your 50th book of the year just in time – bravo! It’s fun to read what you thought of the different books, gives me ideas on what to read and what to add to my list of books to read. I liked And the Mountains Echoed (I didn’t love the previous one he wrote, the name escapes me now) but there were some characters in the book I didn’t care about as much as others.

    Happy New Year Zen and Happy Reading!

    • Haha, thanks! It was such a close call; I barely had any time to read those past couple of months! And do you mean the Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns? I think the latter is his best work. And The Mountains Echoed had too many characters and I couldn’t invest my feelings in any of them. 😦

      Happy New Year to you too, Letizia! =D

  2. Loved this wrap up! Especially the bit where you talk about your determination to complete the Goodreads reading challenge. I’ve never actually attempted one of those even though everyone else seems to enjoy doing them. I’ve always worried that if I started counting books I would put the emphasis on the numbers rather than enjoying the story. I can become a bit obsessed with stats, especially book stats. 😉

    Congrats on completing so many of your resolutions, sounds like you have had a busy year but *mostly* a good one! Hope you have a great 2015.

    • I know what you mean! I catch myself occasionally counting books, but that has never detracted from my enjoyment of a book. It’s fun! And with the number of books you read every year I think you’d easily complete the challenge.

      Thanks! It was a good year, and got even better towards the end. 🙂 Hope your 2015 is great as well!

  3. I read 50 books last year, 29 of which were Indies. I didn’t realize how many Indies I’d read until I just counted them up on Goodreads after reading your post. That’s good on one hand, but on the other, there are a lot of traditionally published books I’d like to get to. Never enough time. Sigh.

    I’m with you on Khaled Hosseini’s latest book. Not my favorite. It was more like a collection of short stories. I’d get comfortable with one character’s viewpoint, only to move on to a new one.

    I’ve pledged to read 50 books this year. We’ll see how I do.

    Happy New Year!

    • There is never enough time to read all the books you want to read. 😦 But 29 is a lot of books! You’re doing far better on the supporting-indie-writers front than I am.

      Exactly! I was frustrated that we never got to truly explore the characters’ lives and were only offered tiny bits and pieces. A Thousand Splendid Suns remains my favourite.

      I think you’ll easily manage to reach that goal. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Happy New Year, Zen! I enjoyed reading your comments about your favorites.You always read such a nice mix of genres. Congrats on reaching fifty!

    I’m setting a goal of twenty-five. That might be stretching it a bit, but I’m going to try. 🙂

    • Happy New Year, Maddie! It’s lovely seeing you here again. 😀

      I love mixing up genres – it offers me such a variety of things and I feel like I’ve got a foot in every thing, plus it helps me with my writing. 🙂

      25 is a good goal! Good luck!

  5. Congratulations on getting through all 50! I’m looking forward to Cress and I agree that Hero of the Ages is destined to become a classic. Haven’t read the rest. FYI The Wonderful Wizard of Oz isn’t nearly as good as the rest of the books in the series. It’s a rare case of the movie is better. Best wishes for 2015!

    • Thank you! Best wishes to you too. =D

      Cress was charming, and Hero of the Ages will definitely become a classic. It is amazing. Oh… well that’s a bummer. =[ Though I guess it’s still a good thing to read it since its a popular classic, no?

  6. Congratulations on achieving your 50 books resolution! 🙂 I have been doing rather poorly in puncto reading but for 2015 I plan on reading one book a month. Out of the ones you mentioned, I’ve only read the Rosie Project which I thought was an enjoyable one. Something to read on the metro. 😉
    Happy new year! Stay healthy and joyful!

    • Happy New Year to you too! And thanks! I’m happy I achieved it, but now I found the 60 books one rather daunting, haha. What did I get myself into?

      The Rosie Project is indeed enjoyable! Were you aware that a sequel was released recently under the title, The Rosie Effect? I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  7. Happy New Year!!

    You are doing so much better than me in reading books! My current goal is to get through the backlog of books I currently own, because I had fallen so behind in 2013 that I had over 30 books on my shelves I hadn’t read. It felt awful. 😦 Good on you! You are giving me a goal to live up to, that’s for sure. I was thinking of just aiming for 15, but now I’m thinking that is such a small number, haha!

    tldr; too many books and not enough time!

    Also, I LOVED Cinder. I ate that book up like nothing else. Scarlet is on my reading list for this year for sure. :3

    • Happy New Year to you too!

      Oh 30 books is nothing to feel guilty about. Try 70. >.> I cannot stop buying new books and they keep piling up more and more, and now I find the task of going through them a bit daunting, haha.

      Cinder was fantastic. Best retelling of Cinderella ever. You’ll love Scarlet! Oh, and the author is releasing a book about Queen Levana this month!

  8. Nice job, love! I had a goal of 25 in 2014 that I totally missed. I blame it on the thickness of Jane Eyre and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, along with publishing another book.

    It’s all good though. I set the same goal for myself this year and I think I’ll be victorious this time.

    • Oh I do not blame you – Ken Follett’s books are HUGE. Pillars of the Earth has been sitting on my shelves for more than a year and I don’t dare read it, haha. Plus no one can deny that publishing is time-consuming. 🙂

      Good luck achieving your goal this year!

  9. Congrats on making your goal from last year! ^-^ I think the only one of mine I managed to fully complete was keeping my blog going. hehe

    This year I actually have a reading goal thrown in among all my writing ones. I want to read my whole little box of unread books that I recently dug out of the garage. I’m two in already, so yay! ^-^

    • That’s a good resolution! I see people giving up on their blogs all the time, so it’s nice when people actually stick to it. 🙂

      Good luck with this year’s reading goal! I’m two in as well, but I’m starting to feel intimidated by my goal given that I barely have any time to read these days!

  10. Oh yeah, it’s suprsingly hard to find reading time, isn’t it? I also have the ‘problem’ of me buying more books for my box… 😄 I just bought one at the store yesterday and ordered another online. haha Actually, it was Cinder. I’d never heard of it before and it sounded super interesting, so now it will go in the box.

    I have a lot of reading to do. ^-^

    • Oh I think you’ll love Cinder! It’s one of the best retellings of Cinderella ever. 😀

      I’m already falling behind in my reading challenge. Got 58 more books to read! D=

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