Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Books In Review

I ended up reading 56 of my 52 goal of book reading this year.  Considering I'm now homeschooling, spent a summer in Kenya, and have a totally unhealthy relationship with Netflix I think that's pretty good.  Here is the breakdown.

Nonfiction - Of my 56 books only 8 were nonfiction, so 14%.  I made a goal this year to have a third of my books come from nonfiction.  This is probably going to be a stretch for me. Is Everyone Hanging out But Me, The Total Money Makeover, Zealot, Children of Paradise (technically this wasn't even non-fiction but it was based on a true nonfiction story so I threw it in here along with this next one), Thirty Girls, History Lesson, the First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich, Borrowed Names.

Poetry - I read two poetry books this year, May B. and Borrowed Names.  They were both fantastic.  As a general rule held over from high school I just do not enjoy poetry.  I sort of feel like it is slow torture but I realized while reading these books that poetry that tells a story, well that is something I can get behind.  I excited about the possibilities this opens up.

Hostage Situations- I felt like this year was the year of hostage situations as well as mega violence.  We had Bad Monkey, Waters Wars, Children of Paradise, The Princess Bride, Thirty Girls, Trafficked, First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich, Icons, Threatened, Down the Long Hills, and Talker 25.  The most chilling was Thirty Girls and Children of Paradise because these were really situations and in the case of Thirty Girls girls in Africa continue to be taken and used sexually.  Trafficked held a place in my heart as well, as a young illegal immigrant gets stuck as a slave to the family that brings her over and is sexually abused.  Talker 25 also has girls trading sex for favors a situation that plays off very real and makes you feel sick.

Aliens - Five books with aliens, The arrivals, Children of the Mind, Threatened, Talker 25, Cinder.

Environment - Four books pushing a little more awareness when it comes to the environment.  Bad Monkey, Water Wars, Threatened, The Bees.

Lots of Magic- Beautiful Darkness, Peculiar Children, The Arrivals, Vengeance, The Princess Bride, The Mirk and the Midnight Hour, The Klaatu Terminus, Spirits Chosen, Unenchanted, Cinder, The Name of the Star, Icons.

Lots of Romance - Beautiful Darkness, The Arrivals, Vengance, Her Dark Curiosity, The Solitary House, Harvesting the Heart, the Princess Bride, Celever Girl, The Mirk and the Midnight hour, Friday Brown, Children of the Mind, Children of the Street, Unenchanted, Out of the Easy, Cinder, The Name of the Star, Ginger Bread, If I Stay, Icons, Borrowed Names, Talker 25.

The Prairie - Three books about surviving on the prairie.  May B, Borrowed Names, Down the Long Hills.  Borrowed Names was great because it gave me a little more information about what Laura Ingells really was like as a person.  May B. taught me about survival without wood, how the homes of the prairie were built and what they burned.  Seriously I'd never really thought about it but there just wasn't much wood.  Down the Long Hill was surreal.  I was reading about travelling through Wyoming while we were driving through Wyoming.  At one point I read a town name and looked up to see the highway sign announcing our arrival there in just 5 miles.  For your information Wyoming is an ugly desolate state and I have no idea how a seven year old caring for a three year old and horse he wasn't tall enough to get on would survive any amount of time there.

Violence - 33 of the books I read this year had violence.  Really it's to depressing for me to write them all out.

Animal Violence - Seven books had animal violence.  Bad monkey, Children of Paradise, and Threatened had apes or monkeys attacking men.  Threatened and the Bees had animal on animal violence.  Did you know bees kill intruders by overheating them in the hive, or biting off their heads, pretty darn vicious.  Talker 25 and Unenchanted had mythical animal violence against humans. The Bees and Children of Paradise gave you first person accounts of what the animals were thinking.

Africa - Four books were set in Africa, which means that while I spent 16% of my year in Africa only 7% off my reading came from Africa.  Those books were 30 Girls, Children of the Street, Walking Together, and Threatened.

Orphans - 22 of the books I read this year involved being orphaned or abandoned by at least one parent.  I guess losing a parent is just to tempting a literally tool to be ignored.

Mother-Daughter Drama - 15 book involved mother daughter drama, some of the best were: Borrowed Names, Children of Paradise, Harvesting the Heart, One for Murphy, and Summer of the Gypsy Moths.

Book That Made me Cry the Most - Harvesting the Heart.  In second place was Children of Paradise.

Best Mystery Novels - I enjoyed Children of the Street and Solitary House the most.  Be forewarned I think Solitary House was probably the darkest book I read for the year.

Book I enjoyed but probably won't read the sequel because I just don't have time for the supposed seven books she's planning on writing in the series - Cinder.  

Biggest Disappointments of the year- The Elephant Keepers had nothing to do with elephants.  Sycamore Row...not one of John Grisham's Best.  Thirty Girls...the interview with the author when she describes the actual story is so much better than the novel she wrote about it.

My Absolute Favorite Reads of the Year - Easily Harvesting the Heart and Borrowed Names.  Honorable mention goes to all the 11 year old books.  Those were just great.

My Favorite YA book read of the year that I'm totally embarrassed about - Talker 25.  When I was reading this book Dr. J asked me the plot line.  I told him and he said, "Wait you actually like this?"  It was totally ridiculous, but ridiculous in a good way.  You know that sort of heartache that you get when you are reading a good YA book, like how I knew in the first 25 pages of the Hunger Games that I wasn't going to stop reading until I'd read the whole thing or how I was obssessed with Siege and Storm, or the Harry Potter Series, or the Last Apprentice, well I felt that the whole time I was reading Talker 25...which was just so ridiculous, I mean it's about dragons for crying out loud and it is just so silly and unbelievable, and the truth is I just loved it.  I hope you enjoy my secret shame :)


  1. I enjoy your book talk. I think I read four or five books that you recommended last year.

    By the way, I never think of Wyoming as you described. In my mind, it's a beautiful state. Now I need to google pictures and see...

    Happy reading this year!

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