2014: A Good Year for Reading

I think awesome books deserve awards.  Yes, I know there are American Library Association awards and National Book Awards and Pulitzers and Nobel Prize Winners.  But mostly, amazing books get far less press than amazing movies.  And honestly, there are many un-amazing movies that get a bigger following and more publicity than many fine works of written art.

2014 was a good reading year for me.  Instead of posting my reading list as in previous years, I will share the highlights of my reading experience with you.  I wish I could award these books real awards but the best I can give is my recommendation and hearty praise.

Best Reads this Year:
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
This book was beautiful, surprising, and poignant.  It wins “Most Surprising” Book in my opinion.  It tells the story of a reserved British butler in the 30s, 40s, and 50s and how his personal story intertwined with history.  This book was my favorite of all the ones I read this year.  This book was adapted into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, but the film doesn’t have time to revel in the beauty of the characters the way the book does.  I highly recommend this read.

Gilead Trio by Marilynne Robinson
There is little commendation of these books that I could write that has not already been written.  The first of the series, Gilead, is my favorite, despite moving slowly at times.  Reverend Ames is one of my favorite characters out of all my reading this year.  These books are quiet, thoughtful, and intentional.  They are inspiring, but sometimes ambiguous and bittersweet.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart absolutely fascinated me through the entire book.  It’s tragic, beautiful, and compelling.  I would classify it as a tragedy, so if you are looking for a happy book, you’ll want to look elsewhere in the list.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
This 21st century twist on Daddy Long Legs centers on an intellectual misfit named Samantha with a rough past and an uncertain future.  I loved how Reay’s characters demonstrated God’s grace throughout the story.  Sam’s growth into a strong, independent, and healthy woman is inspiring and fun.  I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half when it became more of a love story and employed certain plot turns in order to stay true to its origin story, Daddy Long Legs.

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
Adriana Trigiani’s name is hailed as one of the greats in my locale.  So when I found one of her books for fifty cents at a yard sale, I snatched it up.  This book is intriguing.  While this book is a light read and much of the plot reflects the warm, Italian  family-centered world Trigiani is famous for, the setting makes it unique.  Trigiani does a wonderful job of making the glamorous world of the 50s’ live in the mind of the reader.  Lucia herself is a compelling, multi-faceted character, though I wanted more of her character development.  If you are interested in Trigiani’s work, check out Lucia, Lucia.

Well, that’s just a sample of what I read this year.  What did you read this year?

Stay healthy,
Specs

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