A 2014 Reading Survey

I “borrowed” this from Melissa at The Avid Reader’s Musings. A fellow Indy area blogger who I’ve been following for years.

Number of books read in 2014: 46 (I’ve been averaging just over 50/year for my blogging years)

Best Book You Read In 2014? (by genre)  

Classics —The Iliad and Middlemarch

Historical Fiction — Not sure I read any.

Mystery — The Last Policeman

Literary Fiction — Time’s Arrow(?)
Nonfiction — The Unpersuadables; Down and Out in Paris and London 
Fantasy — A Storm of Swords
Science Fiction — The Martian Chronicles; War of the Worlds 
YA — Looking for Jack Kerouac

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?  
Reading Lolita in Tehran and Northanger Abbey (the Val McDermid version, which I read along with re-reading the original by Austin, that I didn’t enjoy at all)

Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2014? 

Perfect Flaw. An anthology of dystopian stories. Also maybe Dead Man’s Hand – an anthology of “Weird Western” tales. I’m becoming such a reading omnivore. 

Book you read in 2014 that you recommended to people most in 2014? 
The Unpersuadables. So far, the only one I know has read it is Katherine at The Writerly Reader. And she reviewed it.

Best series you discovered in 2014? 
The Last Policeman. On book two now.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Jess Walter? Roxane Gay? Katherine Vaz? I discovered a LOT of great new authors this year, many through my Deal Me In short story reading challenge/project. 

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 
Born to Run. Who would’ve thought a book about extreme distance running would be interesting to a guy who hasn’t run (except maybe to get out of the rain) since the Bush administration. (and I’m talking G.H.W.B….)

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2014? 
Maybe The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins?

Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read? 
The Martian Chronicles? I don’t know. I’m vowing to do less re-reading going forward.10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? (Left)

Perfect Flaw. Loved the art.

  1. perfect-flaw-cover-webversion
  2. Most memorable character in 2014? 
    Odysseus or Achilles from The Iliad. I loved all the trash-talking in that book too, which I didn’t remember from reading it previously (long ago)
  3. 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014? 
    Indian Summer? (by the largely forgotten William Dean Howells )Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2014?
    The Unpersuadables. I still am thinking about parts of this book.Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? Middlemarch or Invisible Man. (I respectfully submit myself for disciplinary action)Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014? 

    To many to mention them all, but the “backwards movie passage” of Slaughterhouse Five is up there, especially since it helped inspire another book I read this year, Martin Amis’s “Time’s Arrow”

    Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2014? 
    A Storm of Swords 1,125 pages (thanks, George R.R.!)
    Benito Cereno (thank YOU Melville): 76 pages

    Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? 
    Eh, I don’t know….

    Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2014 (be it romantic, friendship, etc). 
    I forget their names in Middlemarch – the Mayor’s daughter and the doctor (okay, okay, Rosamond and Mr. Lydgate; I went and looked it up) That was an “interesting” match…

    Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
    The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins

    Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else: 
    The Light Between the Oceans by M. L. Steadman. A coworker read it for her book club and gave me her copy when she was done. It was good. For some reason, I never blogged about it…

    Genre You Read The Most From in 2014?
    Classics and Literary Fiction.

    Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
    Meh, I don’t really get fictional crushes any more, BUT just to answer something, I’ll say Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch. Although I would be totally not worthy…

    Best debut book you read? 
    The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen may be the only book that fits this category, and I didn’t really like it all that much. Except the scene where the guy hides the fish from the market in his pants. That was funny.

    Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2014?

    A Storm of Swords (ah, Westeros…) or The Martian Chronicles.

    Book That Was the Most Fun To Read in 2014?

  4. Looking for Jack Kerouac.
  5. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I didn’t cry, though. It was sad sometimes, but I didn’t cry.Book You Read in 2014 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out? 
    The Unpersuadables. Only 205 ratings on Goodreads.com? Come on, people! 🙂Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
  6. Just my annual one short story per week challenge, “Deal Me In” which I just finished this week. If you’re interested in trying this, the sign up post is here. 
  7.  Bookish Events on your blog in 2014? 
    Not much on my blog other than my hosting of the Deal Me In challenge, which featured a weekly wrap-up post. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
    My Jack London biography, which I got for Christmas last year. I started it a couple times but never got rolling. I WILL read it in 2015. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?  
    New short story collections by Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood.One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2015? 
    I’ll be moving to self-hosting my site in 2015. (I’ll finally be Bibliophilopolis.com instead of bibliophilica.wordpress.com/) I have top men working on it right now. <ahem> Top. Men. I also hope to be more bookishly philanthropic in supporting local literary events and initiatives. Hopefully, being a first edition sponsor of Indy Writes Books was just the first of many.


  8. What were some of your reading highlights in 2014?


  1. Jay said,

    December 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Not sure how I jacked up this numbering/formatting and my attempts to completely fix it have failed. My apologies for the mess. 🙂


  2. hkatz said,

    December 24, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Who would be worthy of Dorothea Brooke? 🙂

    I read Middlemarch years ago and remember liking the relationship between Mary Garth and Fred Vincy… but I’d like to reread the book.

    Anyway, I enjoy these kinds of posts as they’re full of excellent recommendations for new books to check out.

    For novels, I enjoyed Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

    For short stories, I read Annie Proulx for the first time this year (in the great collection – Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3); other collections I enjoyed were Other Worlds Than These (all parallel universe/reality stories), American Short Stories Since 1945, Anchor Book of Modern African Stories, and Legal Fictions (all stories about lawyers and the law).

    I hope you’re having a warm, happy holiday season. Have a happy new year too, and good luck with your new site! (I’ll link to it on my blogroll when it goes live.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

      I have Americanah on my bookshelf at home but haven’t read it yet. Good to hear it’s likely a worthy read.

      Other Worlds than These intrigues me. I had such fun with the anthology of dystopian stories that I noted in my post I’m ready to try more themed anthologies, even if the theme might be a little “out there.” The Anchor Book of Modern Africa Stories sounds promising too. 2014 was my introduction to Proulx as well.

      Thanks for the holiday greetings, and I hope you are enjoying the season as well!



  3. December 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I think it’s an advantage not reading Middlemarch until later in life. It’s one I re-read once a decade, myself. Since I was in my twenties when I really couldn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I did in my forties.


    • Jay said,

      December 31, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Good point, James. I’m not sure I would’ve stuck with it if I was reading it twenty years ago…


  4. Alex said,

    December 30, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Just added The Unpersuadables to my to-investigate list on GoodReads. My problem with this theme is that it makes me MAD, and I spend most of the book gritting my teeth…


    • Jay said,

      December 31, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Yeah, I won’t deny there was a lot of teeth gritting for me too, but I still found it very interesting, especially the sections about the physiology of why the brain “makes” us hold fast to even erroneous beliefs, etc.


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