One of my great pleasures in 2014 was falling face first into a pile of books.
It’s funny, the year before I marveled at my friend’s commitment to her book club. How in the world could she guarantee that she’d read a whole book every month? I gaped. Motherhood is charged with so many interruptions. It seemed impossible.
I missed books, but I had no idea where to start. At the end of the year, with a reading resolution in mind, I stumbled upon a few middle-aged women bloggers who tallied up their favorite books in year end reviews. I frantically scribbled down their recommendations, pleased that they rarely gave away much plot. One of the reasons I’ve found titles hard to find is that so many reviewers ruin the story by divulging plot secrets. One of the great pleasures in reading is observing the masterful unfolding of events and characters as the author intended. It was enough for me that intelligent, literary women in my age bracket liked the books. I quickly typed my selections into my library’s request form, and soon received calls telling me my books had arrived.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern A surreal setting of a magical circus where a death match and love story unfold outside of the dimensions of time. I don’t think a movie would be capable of reproducing the amazing special effects contained in this book.
Light Years by James Salter An underappreciated classic about marriage, life, and how choices spill out over time. Salter’s sentences are true gems and any language lover is bound to stop reading just to appreciate the beauty of his words. Warning, the first 20 pages were a bit hard to read until I grasped his particular cadence, but then, how I loved it.
The Other Language by Francesca Marciano Lovely short stories set mostly in the Mediterranean. Good escapist reading.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith A novel about humanity and race told through powerful characters. Stunning sentences.
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin An epic novel with characters I fell deeply in love with. Simply beautiful.
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard A classic book on writing and living.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver Reading this book reminded me of being read to as a child. A gem in the art of storytelling.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett A beautiful love story that is so unexpected.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the internal world of Cheryl Strayed is so moving, I know it can’t do it justice. Such an amazing read about figuring out how to live inside life with all its messes and heartaches.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki Gripping, powerful, insightful. A uniquely structured book that examines zen, time, and Japanese culture.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra Haunting and beautiful novel. Enlightened me about current Russian (and former Soviet states) polictics through a poignantly human story.
The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Deepak Chopra, Debbi Ford and Marianne Williamson I strong-armed two friends into buying this because I underlined so many passages in my own copy. This spiritual text is about understanding and embracing our faults.
Why I Wake Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver Mary Oliver is my favorite new poetry discovery. Her poems are accessible, simple, profound, funny, and elegant.
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems by Louise Gluck Louise Glück is one of my favorite poets and this amazing collection won the National Book Award for its brilliance.
I have included affiliate links in this post. That means if you click on a link and order a book based on my recommendation, I get a small fee in return. Please use the link if you are buying one of these books because of me. If you are strapped for cash, for goodness’ sake, use your public library. I certainly do!
If you have any favorites from last year, please share in the comments.