Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Books of 2014

At the beginning of 2014 I set myself the target of reading 30 books. I'm told I've always loved reading, especially as a child, but I went off it for a while and hardly read at all, so this challenge was my incentive to get back into books big time. I surpassed my target during the summer, so upped my game and I'm proud to say I read a total of 50 books in 2014. If you're a regular reader you've probably noticed that I include a book of the month in my monthly favourite posts so I wanted to round off the year with some of my favourites.

My favourite book of the year? Now that's an impossible question. It's so hard to choose because I've read such a variety, but one of the ones that has stuck with me is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was incredibly moving and beautifully written.

Good comedies? Oh yes. Caitlin Moran's novel How to Build a Girl was brilliant. Living in the same town that Moran grew up in, it was weird knowing many of the places mentioned in this book and it was just so out-there and hilarious. A recent read is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling's autobiography I suppose. It's not too long and had me laughing aloud from the first page with it's relatability.

Classic Novels? I've read a few this year and all of them have been old, well-read copies which really makes me feel like I'm diving into the past. 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Great Gatsby by F. Fitzgerald all really impressed me. They were interesting and thought-provoking and it's easy to see why they're known as classics.

Best series? Again, very hard to choose. The Hunger Games is an obvious one but I was gripped to the books and now am enjoying the films (admittedly I was a little late on the bandwagon for that one!). Also the Divergent series by Veronica Roth was a real page-turner, although my favourite was probably the lesser known Delirium trio by Lauren Oliver. I was really dissapointed when I came to the end of the third book as they were such a good read.

Read any non-fiction? I've really broadened by reading horizons this year by reading many non-fiction books. For cat-lovers, I cannot recommend The Cat Whisperer enough. While (unfortunately) it doesn't actually teach you how to talk to cats, it is really interesting to find out why they behave in certain ways. Something that really opened my eyes was Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walters. It really made me think about the society in which we live in and has lead me on to do much further research into sexism of my own.

Any others? One more I think I need to mention is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This is the first book in her autobiographical series and I've now read 2 out of the 5 (I think) books. I read this before she passed away earlier in the year and loved it so it seems even more important for me to complete the series now. She was an amazing woman and her death was a great loss but I think her books really teach the lesson that no matter what you go through in life, you can still be an incredibly strong and confident person.

I record all the books I've read in this book journal I was given as a gift from Paperchase, along with a few thoughts for future reference. So for 2015? I plan on reading 52 books so if anyone has any recommendations, I'm very interested!

Olivia Ellen XXX

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