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Author Topic: Your Best and Worst Read of 2014  (Read 1425 times)

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January 01, 2015, 03:10:32 PM

Evreka

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Your Best and Worst Read of 2014
The books that made a lasting impression this year

 :hermioneread:

I've just looked at my list of books that I've finished reading in 2014. In total they amount to 31, which is pretty good nowadays to be me. In fact I have to revert to 2008 year's book list to have finished more books (33) during a year. Not all of these 31 books have made a lasting impression though. There are a few really good ones in that list, and as usual also a few I remember for quite opposite reasons.

Which were everyone's best and worst reading experiences in 2014?
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January 01, 2015, 04:46:21 PM
Reply #1

HealerOne

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Good thread! Looking back over 2014's reading list, I have to say discovering author, Mark Gimez, was one of the highlights. He writes novels (The Perk, Accused, Con Law) similar to John Grisham, which I do enjoy a lot. I also enjoyed reading Liane Moriarty's book The Husband's Secret. Stand out book? Might be the series, The Walk by Richard Paul Evans. I got in on the end of the series so I was able to read the whole series in one year which was great. I liked The Silkworm, By JKR, not so much the plot as the development of her main characters in the series. I am looking forward to more in this series because of the wonderful characters. The same can be said for Alexander McCall Smith's series of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and The 44 Scotland Street series. The Characters are just amazing, but the plots are just interesting and are there to support the character development. I am devoted to these series for that reason. 

Disappointing reads of the year were: 1) The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It had such a good premise, but it fell sort of flat for me; and 2) The GoldFinch by Donna Tartt - again good premise, starts off well, but fell flat in the end.

I am sure there are others that I read but these are the ones that stand out to me.
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January 02, 2015, 04:03:03 PM
Reply #2

Evreka

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Good thread! Looking back over 2014's reading list, I have to say discovering author, Mark Gimez, was one of the highlights. He writes novels (The Perk, Accused, Con Law) similar to John Grisham, which I do enjoy a lot.  ...
I read a few John Grisham years ago, and liked them quite a lot. Particularly I remember The Client, which I just loved (except for the excursion the main characters do near the end as it was WAY too improbable to suit me). So, I might look for Mark Gimez next time I go looking for a thriller.


The reads of 2014 that stand out in the most positive sense are primarily some autobiographies and stories based on reality. Two books by James Bowen starring his Streetcat Bob  :crookshanks:, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb, Treasures from the Attic by Mirjam Pressler, which contains lots of correspondence between various family members in Anne Franks nearest relatives. And An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick:thumbup: All of these really had me reflecting upon life as well as being great stories to read in their own right.

I also liked The Silkworm by "Robert Galbraith" a.k.a. JK Rowling, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and A Different Kind of Dream by Geraldine O'Neill a lot.


My worst read of the year,  :thumbdown: has to be The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom, which had a good premise, an interesting plot line and a good start. Unfortunately it also contained a good number of plot holes, one of which was huge and the whole thing just came tumbling down ungratefully in the end.  :(
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January 02, 2015, 07:29:32 PM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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My worst read of the year,  :thumbdown: has to be The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom, which had a good premise, an interesting plot line and a good start. Unfortunately it also contained a good number of plot holes, one of which was huge and the whole thing just came tumbling down ungratefully in the end.  :(
Yep, I Have to agree on that one. It was a disappointing read! I was actually surprised that his book got so many positive accolades. I assume that was because Albom has done well in the past, so the reviewers didn't bother to actually read the book. They just went on his reputation. Like they say - you are only as good as the last thing you've done ...

I hope you do check out Mark Gimez. The Perk has been my favorite so far.
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January 03, 2015, 09:33:34 PM
Reply #4

Laura W

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One book which I read last year and really, really enjoyed was the novel One Foot in Eden by American writer Ron Rash.  (I also read a book of his short stories which I liked but nowhere as much as One Foot in Eden.) 


Laura
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January 04, 2015, 10:43:12 AM
Reply #5

Evreka

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One book which I read last year and really, really enjoyed was the novel One Foot in Eden by American writer Ron Rash. ...
I looked that book up now, and it seems interesting. Is it a crime story of sorts?
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January 05, 2015, 12:34:57 AM
Reply #6

Laura W

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Firstly, thank you for acknowledging my comment Evreka. (big smile)

Yes, it is. 
Without giving anything away, what this story is about  is that there was a crime committed and Rash lets us know about it from the differing points of view of several characters.  And he does this so well!  Letting out bits and pieces of information as the book progresses as we learn more and more about both the crime and the about the lives (inner and outer) of the  different people involved.   

As well as being an engaging story, the book provides a true sense of character.  It is not a pretty tale, very gritty in fact, but in many ways reminded me of Steinbeck.  A story - most particularly in the dialogue (spoken and not spoken) - true to its time and place.  Like Steinbeck's, a very, very American novel.   Not syripy (sp?) and sentimental.  Totally in-your-face.  Yet so poetic in the choice of words the author used to tell his tale.  (I think Rash actually has written several books of poetry.)

(I couldn't help, as I was reading One Foot in Eden, comparing it to Cuckoo, and I liked Rash's first novel - as this was - SO MUCH better.  sorry)

Anyway, this is not a feel-good read, for those of you looking for that (a la that cat book series  :crookshanks:  you guys are always writing about ha, ha) but I thought it was beautiful.

Just my opinion

Laura
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 01:21:18 AM by Laura W »
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January 05, 2015, 06:23:51 AM
Reply #7

Evreka

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Yes, it is. 
Without giving anything away, what this story is about  is that there was a crime committed and Rash lets us know about it from the differing points of view of several characters.  And he does this so well!  Letting out bits and pieces of information as the book progresses as we learn more and more about both the crime and the about the lives (inner and outer) of the  different people involved.   
This sounds really interesting and reminds me quite a lot about another book I read this year, which I also liked quite a lot. (2014 was a year of many good reads for me.) The Todd Dossier by Collier Young was also (an  old) crime story where you learned of a grisly crime in bits and pieces. In that case you know a crime has been committed as you are, in fact, reading legal documents about it. And yet you have to start with no clue what has happened, why or even who the victim and the culprit are! It's also revealed during the course of the story. I liked the approach quite a lot, and I think the book you described just went into my "interested to read" imaginary "pile". I'll keep an eye out for it. 


As well as being an engaging story, the book provides a true sense of character.  It is not a pretty tale, very gritty in fact, but in many ways reminded me of Steinbeck.  A story - most particularly in the dialogue (spoken and not spoken) - true to its time and place.  ...

(I couldn't help, as I was reading One Foot in Eden, comparing it to Cuckoo, and I liked Rash's first novel - as this was - SO MUCH better.  sorry)
 
Even more interesting! :)


Anyway, this is not a feel-good read, for those of you looking for that (a la that cat book series  :crookshanks:  you guys are always writing about ha, ha) but I thought it was beautiful.
I read every genre of book, except usually: horror, science fiction or satirical books. And while it is the feel-good novels that can really lift your spirits at times, others can prove to be fantastic reads just the same, in their own right, I think.  :hermioneread:
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 06:26:36 AM by Evreka »
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January 05, 2015, 05:23:07 PM
Reply #8

HealerOne

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One book which I read last year and really, really enjoyed was the novel One Foot in Eden by American writer Ron Rash.  (I also read a book of his short stories which I liked but nowhere as much as One Foot in Eden.) 
Laura

Yes, it is. 
Without giving anything away, what this story is about  is that there was a crime committed and Rash lets us know about it from the differing points of view of several characters.  And he does this so well!  Letting out bits and pieces of information as the book progresses as we learn more and more about both the crime and the about the lives (inner and outer) of the  different people involved.   
This sounds really interesting and reminds me quite a lot about another book I read this year, which I also liked quite a lot. (2014 was a year of many good reads for me.) The Todd Dossier by Collier Young was also (an  old) crime story where you learned of a grisly crime in bits and pieces. In that case you know a crime has been committed as you are, in fact, reading legal documents about it. And yet you have to start with no clue what has happened, why or even who the victim and the culprit are! It's also revealed during the course of the story. I liked the approach quite a lot, and I think the book you described just went into my "interested to read" imaginary "pile". I'll keep an eye out for it. 
Oh My! I am intrigued by both books! I love crime novels especially inventive ways of telling the stories. Sigh, so many books!  :jester: So little time to read!  :hermioneread: Thanks Laura W and Evreka for bringing these books to my attention!
 
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January 06, 2015, 07:51:08 AM
Reply #9

RiverSpirit

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As part of my job last year I had to read two books for comparison. (I was a teacher aide and needed to help in Yr 10 English). These two books are the best and the worst book that I read in 2014.

The best is that Year 10 classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. I was thrilled to revisit this one. One of my all time favourites.

The comparative book, and I use that term loosely, was called Plenty. This tale of illegal immigration in rural Australia petered out to a completely inconclusive ending that had me wondering why the author even bothered.

Now that I am working in the school library the reading world will be my oyster in 2015!
  
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January 09, 2015, 10:00:49 PM
Reply #10

paint it Black

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I have not been keeping a list of the books I've read  :ashamed: (but I'm now remedying that for 2015 :thumbup:).  So since I cannot choose one specifically from such a list as my best and worst, I'll just choose a few that made an impression on me.

I'm one of those folks who prefers to finish a book even if it's not the greatest, but early last year I started The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern since so many people loved it.  I didn't get very far before I determined that it was just not for me.  :shake: I won't say it was "the worst" book, it just wasn't my style; it seemed too melodramatic, and the characters and the situations seemed too forced for my taste.  So I decided to just move on.

One book that had me rushing back to read it each day (and stuck with me for days after reading it) was The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.  The plot goes something like this: Shortly after learning from his father that his mother has been admitted to a mental hospital, our protagonist receives a call from his mother telling him that everything his father has told him about her has been a lie.  It sounds like only a mildly engaging idea for a novel, but joining the protagonist to listen to his mother tell her tale for the rest of the book was really gripping.  It has achieved the rare distinction of a book that I may read a second time someday.  Based upon the strength of the author's storytelling skills, I'm looking forward to reading his trilogy that starts with Child 44.  I'm delaying gratification on reading this, as there is a film based upon it coming out in April (starring Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman  :hearts:), and I'd like the book to be freshly read at that point.

I can't offhand think of another book that I enjoyed more last year, though I did like some of Evreka's favorites, I Am Malala, The Silkworm, and the first of Bob the cat's memoirs.

Now that I am working in the school library the reading world will be my oyster in 2015!
I'm so happy for you about this, (not to mention a fair bit jealous)!  :hermionelibrary:

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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January 10, 2015, 09:43:46 AM
Reply #11

Evreka

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I'm one of those folks who prefers to finish a book even if it's not the greatest, but early last year I started The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern since so many people loved it.  I didn't get very far before I determined that it was just not for me.  :shake: I won't say it was "the worst" book, it just wasn't my style; it seemed too melodramatic, and the characters and the situations seemed too forced for my taste.  So I decided to just move on.
I Googled it out of curiosity, and it does seem to be quite extreme and most likely not in my taste either. Would you go so far as to call it Literary Litter in your eyes?



One book that had me rushing back to read it each day (and stuck with me for days after reading it) was The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.  The plot goes something like this: Shortly after learning from his father that his mother has been admitted to a mental hospital, our protagonist receives a call from his mother telling him that everything his father has told him about her has been a lie.  It sounds like only a mildly engaging idea for a novel, but joining the protagonist to listen to his mother tell her tale for the rest of the book was really gripping.  It has achieved the rare distinction of a book that I may read a second time someday. 
I Googled this as well and the first sentence on Wikipedia places it in London and Sweden, which sounds very interesting in my ears. It's always intriguing to see what "foreign" authors make of your own country. On the other hand I'm not sure it's my kind of book, but I might keep an eye out to check what the book cover says.



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January 11, 2015, 01:54:20 AM
Reply #12

Marielle

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I had several best read for 2014:

1- Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15) by Jim Butcher
2- Styxx (Dark-Hunter #12) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
3- Most of The YA series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Chronicles of Nick
4- The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
5- Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8) Diana Gabaldon
6- Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore #1) by Robin Sloan
7- Midnight Riot (Peter Grant #1)by Ben Aaronovitch
8- The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith.

As for Worst read. Well .... when I looked into my low rated books, I realize that some of them were bad enough that I didn't even recall reading them  ???  So I decided I would go with books I expecting A LOT from and though they were good they were definitely far from being as good as I was anticipating them to be:

1- Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger
2- The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks
3- Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3) by Joe Abercrombie
4- Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb
5- Infamous (Chronicles of Nick #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
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January 14, 2015, 10:57:34 PM
Reply #13

Dreamteam

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My favourite books from last year were:
Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews
The Christmas Party - Carole Matthews
Wrapped Up in You - Carole Matthews
The World According to Bob - James Bowen
The Private Patient - P D James
The Lighthouse - P D James
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith
When I Was a Nipper - Alan Titchmarsh
A Highland Christmas - M C Beaton
Death of a Gossip - M C Beaton

Carole Matthews writes some great "chic lit" which are much more than romances, they have 3-dimensional characters with some really good and original story lines along with a good sense of humour. 

I realised that there were two of P D James' Adam Dalgliesh books that I hadn't read so decided to update my reading with them.  Since then P D James has sadly died so it looks as though we'll see no more of him and his wonderful sidekick, Barbara Havers, I will miss them. 

I will read anything by certain authors and J K Rowling (aka Robert Galbraith) is one of them.  The Silkworm was a little gory and I have to admit that there was one passage which I read and then decided not to spend too much time thinking about (*shivers*) but the story was, as always, compelling and the character development was good, we learned more but know there is more to learn. 

Alan Titchmarsh grew up very near to where I live and we're fairly close in age so it was interesting to take a trip down memory lane in an area I know fairly well. 

I loved the Hamish Macbeth tv series and I've recently started reading the books.  He's a lovely character but there's a whole village (and beyond) of characters to get to know, the plots are well done with subtle humour and descriptions that give a good feel for the way of life and the inhabitants of Lochdubh.  When I've finished the Macbeth books I'm going to catch up on her Agatha Raisin whodunnits. 

Perhaps I'm just easy to please (I have very wide tastes in both music and literature, so maybe I am) but there was only one book (out of 35) that I can say I didn't like to some extent and that was The Land of Green Ginger by Winifred Holtby.  It's about Joanna Burton who dreams of adventures in far-off lands, meets and marries Teddy Leigh who shows promise as a fellow adventurer but returns from WW1 needing a lot of care.  The life she hoped for fails to live up to her hopes and dreams just as the story failed to live up to mine and I lost interest.  It's one of the few books I've failed to finish. 
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 11:00:01 PM by Dreamteam »

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February 08, 2015, 12:56:53 AM
Reply #14

paint it Black

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I've got a late addition to my earlier post....  Last year I read Atonement by Ian McEwan and just loved it.  It seemed to have everything I look for in a book: great story, interesting plot twist, well-written characters, interesting (not superfluous) detail, and beautiful (but not cumbersome) language.  I've read one other of Mr. McEwan's novels since then and intend to read more.

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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