Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Okay, sure, I’ll do a Top Ten Tuesday two weeks in a row!

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Hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is a popular weekly meme with a different topic each week, asking participants to post their “top ten” in a particular category. This week, it’s Top Ten Books I Read in 2014. My slight amendment is that I am excluding re-reads (e.g. Cat’s Cradle) from this list. These are ranked in descending order, with #10 being my “least favorite” favorite and #1 being my most. See here to view others’ Top Ten Tuesday lists.

  1. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Sure, it’s a lot like some of the other Murakami I’ve read, and the male character “feels” like the same guy, but I enjoy the author’s style, and the premise of this story really grabs you. When he was younger, Tsukuru was once part of a very close group of friends until one day they suddenly – for no reason he was aware of – cut off contact with him. This book joins him years later at the point where he is finally ready to investigate why.

  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Part of my intended “Summer of George” (I was also supposed to read The Mill on the Floss, but, uh, well, we won’t talk about what happened there) this was a great and epic read. Finally filled a gaping hole in my literary cultural literacy. 🙂

  1. The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins

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This was really a pleasant surprise, as I hadn’t even heard of this novel until this year. I read it back in the winter, when it seemed appropriate based on the title. A great story, and one short enough that it can be read in just a few hours. Read my post about it here.

  1. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Until this year, I hadn’t read any Orwell since college, when I read some of his essays about his harsh times spent as a student. This book was a fictionalized account of the authors time spent more or less as a vagrant in these two major cities.

  1. The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato

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Another short and easy read, this book offers a glimpse into an unbalanced and obsessive mind. Narrated by that mind in such a matter-of-fact way it’s rather chilling…

  1. The Unpersuadables by Will Stohr

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One of the most thought-provoking non-fiction books I’ve read in quite a while. Why do some people believe outlandish things that “cannot” be true (as you see it)? This book has some fascinating suggestions why, along with a lot of great case studies of ‘unpersuadables.’

  1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Read by me as part of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s book club schedule for “Banned Books Week”, this book – like Middlemarch above – finally filled an embarrassing void in my well-readness 🙂

  1. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Ever since I learned that our local university here is home to The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, I’ve become more and more interested in and enamored with this author. I’d never read this book, which is actually an after-the-fact assemblage of somewhat related stories not original written to be published together, until this year though. It left me in an odd but invigorated mood, contemplating how humanity really would treat a “new world” if we were able to colonize one. (Probably even worse than Bradbury’s imagined colonists did, I fear)

  1. Perfect Flaw by various (anthology of dystopian short stories)

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In sports terms, this is a “huge upset” as this book comes from out of one of the myriad of small presses, and yet I really enjoyed the dystopias that the authors of these stories came up with. Not an uplifting book by any means, but imagination run rampant and great fun. Read my post about this one here.

1. We Live in Water by Jess Walter

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Perhaps unfairly influenced by this author’s visit here last month, this was one of the better, single-author short story collections I’ve come across lately. Last year reads “Tunneling to the Center of the Earth” and “The Era of Not Quite” were of similar quality, but this was my favorite of the year 2014. Read my post about it here.

What were your favorite reads in 2014?

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