Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Books of 2014

Here I go again with the books I read, tossed, trashed and adored in 2014. 88 of them! Imagine! I never quite reach my target of 100, though I do try.

The best - my five star ratings for 2014 though not in any particular order. If you want to read my more detailed critiques, click on Goodreads and find Wisewebwoman. I must say I was pleased there were so very many good books in my list. They far outweighed the disappointments.

The Very Best
Benediction - Kent Haruf
Heft - Liz Moore (2nd time!)
Flight behaviour - Barbara Kingsolver
The Breakwater House - Pascale Quiviger
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill
The Pure Heart - Susan Hill
The Quiet American - Graham Greene (re-read)
Friend of my Youth - Alice Munro (again)
A Long, Long Way - Sebastian Barry
Wild - Cheryl Strayed
House of Hate - Percy Janes
Private Life - Jane Smiley
The Novel - James A. Michener
The Stolen Village - Des Ekin
All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews
Annie Dunne - Sebastian Barry
The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham (re-read)
The Gingerbread Woman - Jennifer Johnston
The Temporary Gentleman - Sebastian Barry
Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman
The Rich Part of Life - Jim Kokoris
The Road Past Altamont - Gabrielle Roy
The Help - Kathryn Stockett

Here is the complete list:

(1)Benediction - Kent Haruf*****Fabulous, lyrical read
(2)Heft - Liz Moore (again)*****
(3)Abide with Me - Elizabeth Strout***
(4)The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout****{BC}
(5)Astray - Emma Donoghue****
(6)The Sentimentalists - Johanna Skibsrud****
(7)The Spinning Heart - Donal Ryan (Thanks #1 Bro!)****
(8)The Breakwater House - Pascale Quiviger*****
(9)The Dinner - Herman Koch***
(10)Flight Behavior - Barbara Kingsolver*****
(11)The Last Child - John Hart (loan)*couldn't finish
(12)The Book Thief - Markus Zusak*****
(13)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (loan) - Rachel Joyce*****
(14)The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim
(15)You Before Me - JoJo Moyes****
(16)The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill*****unputdownable
(17)Darcy's Utopia - Fay Weldon***
(18)The Pure Heart - Susan Hill*****
(19)The Night Lawyer - Michelle Spring - 0- tossed-bilge
(20)Half-Blood Blues - Esi Edugyan {BC}*
(21)The Ministry of Special Cases - Nathan Englander
(22)Dancing with the Virgins - Stephen Booth *avoid
(23)A Closed Eye - Anita Brookner****
(24)Justice for Sara - Erica Spindler***
(25)A Bit of Singing and Dancing - Susan Hill****
(26)Habits of the House - Fay Weldon****
(27)Until Proven Guilty - J.A. Jance 0(dreadful)
(28)Injustice for All - J.A. Jance tossed
(29)Trial by Fury - J.A. Jance tossed
(30)The Quiet American - Graham Greene *****(again)
(31)Friend of my Youth - Alice Munro (again)*****
(32)The Risk of Darkness - Susan Hill***
(33)A Long, Long Way - Sebastian Barry*****
(34)Private Life - Jane Smiley*****
(35)Death on the Ice - Cassie Brown{BC}****
(36)Burial Rites - Hannah Kent****
(37)Still Life with Breadcrumbs - Anna Quindlen****
(38)Wild - Cheryl Strayed*****
(39)The Evolution of Jane - Cathleen Schine{BC}0
(40)A Candle in her Heart - Emilie Loring***(for its archaic time)
(41)Trading Places - Fern Michaels 0 awful(from Emma)
(42)House of Hate - Percy Janes*****
(43)The Orenda - Joseph Boyden**
(44)Incidents in the Rue Laugier - Anita Brookner****
(45)Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison****
(46)The Novel - James A. Michener*****
(47)Stalking Irish Madness - Patrick Tracey (loan)***1/2
(48)The Stolen Village - Des Ekin***** (thanks D!)
(49)The Betrayal of Trust - Susan Hill**(I'm offya now Susan)
(50)Rails Across the Rock - Ken Pieroway
(51)The Deception of Livvy Higgs - Donna Morrissey -dropped, bored stiff
(52)Spadework - Timothy Findley**
(53)Beacons - Joseph Dobbin (not rating, a friend)
(54)The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham (re-read)*****
(55)All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews*****
(56)The Ocean at the end of the Lane - Neil Gaiman 0 awful
(57)Big Brother - Lionel Shriver***
(58)Annie Dunne - Sebastian Barry*****
(59)Certainty - Madeleine Thien* 1/2 way through I just didn't care anymore
(60)The Shadows in the Street - Susan Hill**
(61)The Boy who Walked - Michael Friis Johansen 0 too dry
(62)The Gingerbread Woman - Jennifer Johnston*****
(63)The Temporary Gentleman - Sebastian Barry*****
(64)In the Heat of the Night - John Ball****
(65)The Survivors Club - Lisa Gardner***
(66)Ghost Light - Joseph O'Connor****
(67)A Goat's Song - Dermot Healy***
(68)Piano Teacher - Janice Y.K. Lee{BC}**
(69)More Then 50% - Hilda Chauk Murray**thin material stretched far
(70)The Endless Knot - Gail Bowen**
(71)Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman*****
(72)The Rich Part of Life - Jim Kokoris*****
(73)No Turning Back - Ida Linehan Young***
(74)Grass - Sherri S. Tepper
(75)The Road Past Altamont - Gabrielle Roy*****
(76)Wild December - Edna O'Brien 0 awful
(77)The Girls - Lori Lansen**
(78)The Help - Kathryn Stockett*****
(79)Cuffer Anthology 2013 - various
(80)Frog Music - Emma Donaghue**disappointed
(81)The Secret Place - Tana French***
(82)Split - Tara Moss *
(83)The White Bone - Barbara Gowdy* second attempt, couldn't finish.
(84)I've been Working on the Railway - W.Chafe***
(85)Cop Town - Karin Slaughter****
(86)The Ghosts - Mary Swan (struggling - it was a gift.
(87)Burying Ariel - Gale Bowen**
(88)Hold Tight - Harlan Coben***


  1. I've only read Big Brother on that tremendous list! You might like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm going to try Flight Behaviour as I loved The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

  2. Enna how did you rate The Goldfinch? I heard from two readers it bogged down badly and was far too long.

  3. I read one or two in your favourite list! I enjoyed them too!
    I also read such a lot!
    Maggie x

  4. It did indeed drag on towards the end but I thought it well worth the effort. Absorbing story and very likeable characters. I wonder have you read anything by Hilary Mantel? Wolf Hall or Bring up the Bodies? They are about Henry VIII's advisor Thomas Cromwell and the only way I can describe reading them is to say its more like devouring something. All jobs were abandoned till I'd finished them!

  5. In your "very best" list, I've read The Book Thief, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Wild, and The Help. I enjoyed 3 of them. The Harold Fry book, not so much.

    Happy 2015 reading! Shooting for 100?

  6. Maggie - maybe you should do a list as well??


  7. I have Enna and I must say (I know, I know - not popular opinion at all) I found them a slog. Maybe we overstudied that historical period in school, but I just can't get into the characters at all. :(

  8. Hi Anita:
    Interesting on the Harold Frye, I see there's a kind of prequel out now about Queenie I haven't read it yet.
    I love the different opinions about books soooo much.

  9. No need to explain - my daughter was the same - and a good friend. Both chucked it. I tried to read Doris Lessing's Golden Notebook because everyone was raving about it and fell at the first fence. Its like fruit cake and cheddar; I love them together but does everyone else? x

  10. ...Harold Frye was my book club's selection so I wanted to complete it in order to participate in the discussion. I was reading it at a time when I was very busy or stressed. Sometimes that effects my ability to appreciate a book. Could have been the case with this book... or maybe not. I have it on my Nook. Once day, I might scan back through it to see if I have a different opinion; especially if there's a prequel. Surely others besides you will eventually mention it to me.

  11. Enna - in my case they were gifts from a bro who adored them so I did read them. Did you see there is a TV series now?
    PS I do love fruitcake and cheddar and also peanut butter and salsa :)

  12. Anita:
    Yes, it might be worth a revisit if characters stepping outside of "normal" might interest you along with the fresh takes on the world.

  13. Wow! You are a big reader! I probably should make a list like this myself.

  14. Good idea, Hattie, I know you read a lot also but more for study, I use it as poor escapism (mostly)


Comments are welcome. Anonymous comments will be deleted unread.

Email me at wisewebwomanatgmaildotcom if you're having trouble.