It was the best of years. It was the worst of years.
Really, I had some awesome experiences this year. I went back to grad school and started a master's program this year (oh, and aced my first semester with a 4.0!). I got pregnant and gave birth to the sweetest little boy imaginable, and had an awesome and redeeming birth experience. I got to spend a lot of time with family, I made some new friends, and overall had a very blessed and wonderful year.
Unfortunately, there were some terrible parts to this year as well (more of which I'll discuss in my next post), and in consequence this was not the best year reading-wise for me.
When I set my reading goals at the beginning of 2014, I anticipated some of the craziness and was thus pretty lenient with myself. I only set two goals: 1.) Finish John Adams and 2.) Read 12 books for pleasure. And while it was still a pretty pathetic reading year compared to 2013 (where I read close to a book a week), I did manage to blow goal #2 out of the water and read 25 books this year. (I failed on goal #1, but we don't need to discuss that right now).
One of my favorite things about using Goodreads (that I discovered last year) is that they track my reads and provide me with a nice little page of statistics and charts and bar graphs about all the books I read every year.
Looking at this just makes me super happy. And also motivates me to read more books just so I can see more titles on this bar graph.
I've mentioned most of these books in separate reviews or monthly round-ups, but I'd thought I'd give some highlights. Here are my Top Ten listed by category.
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. I mentioned this one in my November round-up, but I really need to do a full review. But I want to read it again first. This one inspired lots of thoughts. It was just lovely.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Another one that inspired lots of thoughts and that I plan to read again and mull over. This book deserves its own review post too, some day when I have time to process it all.
It's a rare year when both of my favorite favorites are already non-fiction, but honorable mentions go to:
The Gift of Giving Life by various authors. This one is so good, and was especially soul-filling for my 2014, the Year of the Difficult Pregnancy.
All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior. Really interesting parenting book. Can't stop thinking about it.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Because obviously.
It was a strange year for me in that I read way more good non-fiction than fiction, but there were still a few good ones for this category.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary. I debated between this one and Flavia de Luce (my most recent read), both about young girls who are too smart for their own good. In the end I chose this one, because I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I read it. Not exactly happy, but good.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I wasn't sure if this one would stay with me when I first read it, but with a new baby of my own I find myself thinking of it frequently. And it does have some beautiful writing.
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. Delightful, fun, adorable little read.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Beautiful little middle-grade novel. I cried (but I was also pregnant).
Bomb! by Steve Sheinkin. This was a fascinating read. Sometimes I even forgot it was supposed to be YA.