Best Books of 2014: Elizabeth Edition

It’s no secret that I love to read. I read something like 86 new books last year, and one of the ways that I create my “to-read” list is by reading other lists of what people like to read. How many times could I say “like” or “read” in one sentence? Anyways, I decided that I wanted to end my “wrap-up” of 2014 with a list of the books I enjoyed the most last year.

Most of them came out in 2014 (I have a serious Amazon addiction), but not all. I went through the list of all that I read, and a few definitely stood out. They aren’t listed in any particular order, I promise.

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simion

I had heard of this book before, but I decided that I really wanted to read it when it popped up on Bill Gates’ books of the year list. I inhaled this book; I loved the characters of Don and Rosie, the supporting “cast” was fabulous, and the way that the story developed was awesome. I get a smile on my face just thinking about it. The second book, The Rosie Effect, just came out. I’m a little conflicted about it — I know that I’ll love revisting Don and Rosie’s world, but I think that the first book just ended on a perfect note.

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

This book is equal parts motivating, humbing, hilarious, and touching. Just read it. I promise, you’ll love it.

The Laws of Murder, Charles Finch

I know I’ve sung the praises of the Charles Lenox mysteries before — and of Charles Finch, the author — but this was one of my favorite ones in the series. There had been a detour into Victorian politics (more interesting than it sounds, I promise), but in this book, Lenox retired from Parliament and took on his most challenging case yet. I’m consistently surprised at the twists that these books take, and I definitely didn’t predict the outcome of this one. If you like history, England, or a clever murder mystery, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the books in this series.

The Rook, Daniel O’Malley

I can’t remember who I heard about The Rook from, but I wish I did because I’d kiss them on the mouth. I loved this book and the world that O’Malley created. I think I reread the first chapter a few times just to make sure I had all of the essential details correct, but this book was incredibly detailed and dare I say, almost brilliant. I cannot wait to read the next one.

Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty

How did I make it this far without reading something by Liane Moriarty? I honestly have no clue. I read all three of her books this summer, and I’m pretty sure I stayed up until 2 AM finishing Big Little Lies the day that it was released. I’m both happy and sad that I did it — happy because it was awesome, and sad because I’ll never get to not know the ending again. Obviously, this was a quick read, but it was a fabulous one.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is another author like Liane Moriarty; I had definitely heard of her, but for some reason, I waited until 2014 to pick up any of her books. I read all of them in short order, but I have to say that Fangirl was my favorite of the bunch. I think its because I love Cath so much; I am a lot like her — nerdy, into fantasy books (hello, Harry Potter), didn’t really feel like I always fit in, not nearly as cool as my siblings. The only difference is that I don’t have a twin, a Levi, or a flourishing fanfiction career. This story has stuck with me, and its one of those that I’ve reread multiple times since March.

That Summer, Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is like Charles Finch for me — I check her website, I preorder her books months in advance (seriously, I’ve already pre-ordered the last in the Pink Carnation Series, which comes out in August and The Other Daughter, which comes out in June), and I devour them in a day or two once they are finally released. That Summer was no exception. As much as I love the Pink Carnation books — and I really, really do — I love that she is foraying into “modern” works, while keeping the same dual-story model that I love from the spy series. Both of the romances were believable, and I enjoy the research that she puts into her journeys to the past; in this book, the pre-Raph art scene in Victorian England. Can’t wait to see what she does this year!

The Magicians Trilogy, Lev Grossman

I don’t know where I was when the first two books came out (law school maybe?), but I started reading buzz about the third one sometime in early August. Naturally, I had to read all three, and I think I finished them in about 8 days. I can’t imagine how hard it is to create a world like Fillory — or even Brakebills — much less keep it consistent over three novels, so that act alone impresses me. To do that and make the story engaging is superb. I really enjoyed reading about Quentin’s adventures, and these are books I see myself revisting in the months and years to come.

Runners Up: The First Fifteen Lives of Henry August, Claire North; The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, Tom Rachman, Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver; The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, Andrew Sean Greer

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4 thoughts on “Best Books of 2014: Elizabeth Edition

    1. I think a big part of it is that I don’t have to read for school anymore. When I was in law school, I never read for pleasure. There is a light at the end of the tunnel — aren’t you done soon-ish?

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