Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Head over there to see more lists like this one!

 

My list, I’m afraid, is in no particular order. I loved all of these books like children – individually and with no favorites.

nk_wwHow to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (2013)

Molly Harper is definitely one of my favorite light-reading authors, mostly for her deliciously snarky humor. This Alaskan werewolf romance is one of her best offerings yet.

 

 

farthingFarthing by Jo Walton (2006)

If you’ve never read alternate history fantasy, this is a great place to start. It’s set in a post WWII Britain where “Peace In Our Time” really lasted… at a price. Now the government is friendly with the victorious German Nazis, and Jews, homosexuals, and other “undesirables” fear for their lives. Farthing is the first book in a loosely related trilogy.

 

rithmatistThe Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (2013)

Although such comparisons are usually shallow, unfair, or both, I’m going to describe this to you like I did to my girlfriends with reading children: Harry Potter. With magic math.

 

 

w_girlsThe Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (2008)

This is the “not my usual” pick on this list – I don’t normally read crime. This one really worked for me, though – strong characterization, an unusual setting, and a mystery I couldn’t figure out. I originally got the recommendation from A Work In Progress, and so her review is linked above.

3tenses Take Three Tenses: A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden (1945)

This short, somewhat stylized novel explores the life of a house over 100 years. Although it was written in 1945, I also found it to be very modern in the way it examined women’s roles in society.

wildroseA Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert (2013)

What was the relationship between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her author daughter, Rose? This book is a fictionalized account of the years after Rose returned from Albania and settled down (or didn’t) to working with her mother on the Little House books. Albert does an amazing job of capturing Rose’s voice and filling in some missing years in these fascinating womens’ lives.

 bloodflowersThe Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirezzvani (2007)

This unusual piece of historical fiction is about a Persian village girl who dreams of working as a rugmaker in the big city. The story line of finding your place in a world that is not always friendly to women was so true that it resonated with me as a current-day woman engineer in heavy industry. There’s also some light romance and intrigue, and the setting is absolutely wonderful: richly and lovingly detailed seventeenth-century Persia.

imageMy Salinger Year Joanna Rakoff (2014)

This memoir successfully opens a window into another life & another world: in this case, mid-90’s  literary New York. Like most window-gazing, this book will satisfy your inner book-nerd voyeur.

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wisp

Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe (2014)

Although you could easily read it as a standalone book, Wisp of a Thing is the second installment in Bledsoe’s rural fantasy series about the Tufa, a mysterious group of people — or ?? — living in the hills in Tennesee. The books are infused with music and Appalachia and magic, and are the most wonderful antidote to too much urban fantasy.

ench_starsEnchantress from the Stars  by Sylvia Engdahl (1970)

Sylvia Engdahl gives us both fantasy and science fiction in this classic YA novel: a story of three brothers who try to slay a dragon with the help of an enchantress and a sorcerer, and science fiction about three anthropologists from an advanced race of humans that travel to a less developed planet to help the locals resist colonization.

 

Readers: What were the best books you read in 2014?

Recommended Audiobooks

In my last post, I discussed the benefits and challenges of listening to audiobooks, and ways to make them work for you.

Although I suggested that children’s literature is most successful in audio, I’ve had success in multiple genres. Here are a few recommendations for audiobooks. Not only did the audio versions of these books really hold my attention, but in most cases, I felt that the audio really brought something special to the book.

 

Adult Fiction (Light): The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I thought The Help was soap-opera-y, and in book form, that would probably have been irritating. In audio, though, the combination of humor and drama along with its episodic format held my attention as I listened on my daily commute over three weeks.

Adult Fiction (Serious): The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This is a great example of how a more thoughtful, character-driven book can still make for great listening. I finished this book with tears streaming down my face somewhere on the eastern leg of I-64.

Mystery: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall. I think anyone who is interested in this series should lirithmatiststen to at least one of its books on audio. The lyrical narration of Mma Ramotswe, performed by a South African native, adds to the overall picture of Botswana. Plus, the books are just plain fun.

YA Fantasy: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. This is an example of a book that should have been handicapped by audio, because it was about magical drawings. However, the audio descriptions were effective and other elements of the book, like its amazing world-building, helped too. I actually enjoyed coming up with my own mental image of the rithmatists’ drawings, similar to how print books allow you to develop your own voice and image for the characters.

 

Readers: What audio books have you enjoyed?