I wrapped up 2013 with a list of the best books I read during the year, and it was so much fun looking back and talking to ya'll about your favorites that I wanted to do it again this year! I read a bunch of really great books in 2014, but I limited myself to my top 10. In no particular order!
"Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion
I listened to the audiobook wayyyyy back in February, but I can't stop recommending "Warm Bodies." Yeah, it's about zombies, and I really don't care about or like most zombie stories, but it is so not about the blood and gore at all. It's about a zombie, who calls himself R, and how he falls in love with a human named Julie as he's eating her boyfriend's brain. How all the best romantic comedies start, right? But Julie is supposed to be a zombie hunter! And their relationship is causing R to start turning back into a human! The narrator, Kevin Kenerly, was SO GOOD. He had the perfect semi-creepy voice that you'd expect of a zombie book. Basically, you should listen to this book immediately. Reading it would also be acceptable.
"The Green Mile" by Stephen King
Matt bought the movie a few years ago, so I actually experienced that first, and so I knew how the book was going to end before I even started. But that didn't make the journey any less interesting or nail-biting for me. John Coffey is a man that has been convicted of murdering two little girls, and is awaiting his execution on Death Row (called the Green Mile because of the color of the floor). Paul works in the prison, and his job is to keep the inmates on the Green Mile calm and stable before he presides over their electric-chair executions. But soon after Coffey's arrival on the Mile, Paul realizes that John Coffey is not like any other inmate he's ever known. John Coffey has almost no capacity for memories, and John Coffey possesses supernatural powers.
"Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick
"3 a.m." by Nick Pirog
I got this as a free Kindle download on one of those deal sites. (Bookbub? Shelfbuzz? I don't remember.) So don't take it as a piece of great literature or anything, but I just thought the storyline was so unique and engaging that I read through the whole thing extraordinarily quickly. Henry Binns has a fictional medical condition that causes him to remain unconscious/asleep 23 hours a day, and he cannot be woken up. The entirety of his life occurs between the hours of 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. One night, during his hour of consciousness, he hears a scream from his neighbor's house, and as he goes to the window to investigate, he sees the President of the United States running from the house. Is his neighbor dead? Did the President really attack her? It's up to him to solve the crime, and he's only got an hour per day in which to do it!
"10 Things Jesus Never Said: And Why You Should Stop Believing Them" by Will Davis Jr.
I'm chalking this one up to one of those right-book-at-the-right-time things. Between grad school, Matt's job search and my employment situation, this was kind of a rough year. I found myself overly stressed most of the time, and I loved the message that pervaded this book: Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." The whole book just gave me such a profound sense of peace. I wrote a pretty comprehensive review on Goodreads, which you can read here.
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green
I'm still counting it as a favorite even though it was a re-read. I read it when it first came out in 2012, and then re-read it right before I went to see the movie this year. And I cried and cried both times, and Matt walked in on me sobbing at the hands of fictional characters both times, and then I cried at the movie twice. (Matt read it too, but he didn't cry.) Basically, a book about teenagers with cancer, but it's not ABOUT kids with cancer, it's about living. And it's excellent.
"Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell
"The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak
This might go down as one of my favorite books of all time. This is the only book I've ever read that I sobbed right to the end, and then flipped back to page 1 and started reading again because I just couldn't let it go yet. I mean, Death is the narrator! And it speaks so beautifully about life and death. Which there's a good amount of, since the book takes place in the 1940s in Nazi Germany, but it's not about death. It's about a little girl named Liesl, who steals books but can't read (at first), and her newly adoptive father begins to teach her by painting words on their basement walls. That is, until her parents agree to hide a Jewish refugee and former boxer named Max in the basement.
"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler
I can't tell you what this book is really about. I'm sorry. Don't hate me. On the surface, it's about a young woman whose sister disappeared when she was a child, and because of her sister's disappearance, her brother rebelled against their psychologist parents until he, too, could escape from the family. That's all I'm going to say. You'll just have to read it. It was excellent, and gave me quite the book hangover.
"The Martian" by Andy Weir
What were your favorite books this year?