Best of 2014 and Wishes for 2015

Happy new year good readers :)

I read 35 books in 2014, 10 short stories (that are not part of a finished short story collection), and watched 101 movies (!). I’m particularly happy with the number of books, as my book number had been pretty horrendous since I came to London 3.5 years ago. For the past 3 years, my number did not even reach 20 books per year. The last year I read this much was back in 2010, with 36 books (I came to London in May 2011). So I can’t tell you how happy I am with 2014, reading-wise :)

My year in books of 2014 is nicely summarized on this Goodreads page. Looking at those covers, the first book seems aeons ago, maybe because this year I read more than I have usually in the past years. Say, my first book of 2014 was 34 books ago – a big number of books to digest and remember.

Though I’m a bit scared to pick favorites, I shall do so. My favorite books of 2014 are, in the chronological order of my reading them:

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth — Reza Aslan

Zealot - Reza Aslan

I did not post a review for this book, which I read very early in the year, and has probably become one of the most influential books in my life. I did write a post, but at the end just decided to keep it private. I did not think this book is offensive in any way, but it is in many ways challenging the religious interpretation of Jesus of Nazareth, and I worried that what I wrote could offend or provoke arguments, which I won’t be interested to delve much into (religious argument is one of the things I take least interest in in this world). But if like me you have interest in history and want to know more about Jesus the person as a historical figure, this book is for you.

This is London — Miroslav Sasek

this-is-london-cover

A great picture book that will surely make me continue on the series (I’ve been eyeing This is Britain). I have also passed my copy to my nephew and mom :)

Song of Achilles — Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

This book reminded me how I love Greek mythology and the time I used to read the stories when I was younger. It’s also possibly the first book that I read featuring gay main characters.

Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe

things fall apart

Many people seem to have read this book in school and remember it as one of those books you’re forced to read in school and therefore did not fully enjoy it. Well I only read it last year and absolutely loved it. For me this is as good as a classic can go.

Oscar Wilde: The Complete Short Stories — Oscar Wilde

oscar wilde complete short stories

Love Oscar Wilde. The more I read his works the more I love him.

Fictions / Ficciones — Jorge Luis Borges

Fictions - Borges

This book opened my world about what fiction could do.

Gone Girl — Gillian Flynn

gone girl

I don’t read many mystery drama at all, so maybe that’s why I found this so compelling? I couldn’t stop reading and finished the book in only a few days — completely exhausted at the end of it that I could not get myself to start a new book in a while. For enjoyability factor, I rated Gone Girl very highly!

I read more great books in 2014, but based mostly on impact and lasting factors, I would pick these books to be the top … seven — an arbitrary number, I know.

I don’t usually give any mention for the worst book of the year, but I will this year because it is so clear for me (some years I did not have the worst book) and I really, really, disliked it. It is also a very popular book that has one of the highest rating on goodreads and it’s only on the bestseller list for a million weeks, so I’m sure nobody will care about my unfortunate award.

*drum roll*

The Book Thief — Markus Zusak

book thief - markus zusak

Hate. Just hated it. A very long melodrama about what is a very little story, with silly gimmicks all over the place. What a big waste of time.

But let’s go back to being happy.

Apart from the number of books, I’m also happy to have read 3 new-to-me Nobel prize winners, read from 3 new countries, 9 books from the 1001 books list, and 10 short stories — all of which I would really like to do again for 2015.

For 2015 I’m not gonna set myself any kind of goal or reading resolution or challenges. Let’s just say I wish to read another 3 new Nobel prize winners, 3 new countries, at least 10 short stories, and however many books from the 1001 books list (as I’m already quite happy with the percentage I’ve read). So if I don’t reach these numbers I’ll be totally fine, as there is always another year :)

Hope you’re doing well too and wish you a good reading year ahead!

 

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