2014 Book Report

I read 82 books in 2014, which doesn’t include anything that I started but didn’t finish. This is, oh, the seventh or eighth year that I’ve kept track of the titles and dates, but the first year that I’ve made notes about what format I read each title in and how I came by the book. Because my full-time job is book-related, I have access to Netgalley and Edelweiss, through which publishers make available advance e-copies of their titles at their discretion, so most of the titles I read this year were e-galleys.

Format breakdown
e-galley:
29
physical galley: 19
regular physical book (bought, borrowed, or found at the office): 16
regular e-book (bought, free download, or left on the Kindle I inherited when a friend upgraded): 10
library e-book: 7
physical library book: 1

The only surprise to me here is how few physical library books I read. Other years that likely would have been at the top of the list. I’m also a little surprised at how many library e-books there were too, especially since [cough] I spent much of the year over my late-fee limit with the Brooklyn Public Library.

The genre breakdown was hard to do; so many books could easily fall into two or more. I counted Lauren Oliver’s Rooms as general fiction, for example, even though it’s a ghost story since the focus of the book is on relationships and family secrets and whatnot.

Author gender
Female: 65
Male: 13
I’m not sure: 4
Maybe I should try to read more male authors in 2015? (kidding/not kidding) One reading goal I do have, however, is to seek out more authors of color. I haven’t done a count of the 2014 titles to see what that breakdown is, but I know it’s not good.

Genre/subject breakdown
mystery/suspense/thriller: 24
YA: 19
general fiction: 18
memoir: 7
SF/fantasy: 5
nonfiction: 3
romance: 3
self-help: 2

Frankly, I’m stunned that there are so few nonfics on the final list, even if you throw the memoirs into that category too. I actually read a lot of nonfiction, just not so many from start to finish, I guess. And I’m a little surprised at how many general fiction titles there are, though many of those were ones I had to read for LJ‘s best books discussion and voting.

My favorites
These aren’t all 2014 books. Some are older and at least one comes out in 2015, but they’re the ones that make me say oooooh, yeah! I loved that book! when I spot them on the list.
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh. Hilarious, heartbreaking, perfect.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty. Memoir of the author’s time working in a crematory. Fascinating, often funny, occasionally gross, frequently sad.
The Secret Place, Tana French. The latest Dublin Murder Squad book unfolds over the course of a single day at a girls’ school. One of the best depictions of the mysterious, slightly dangerous workings of the minds of teenage girls, maybe ever.
An Untamed State, Roxane Gay. Brutal and beautifully written story about a woman kidnapped and held for ransom in Haiti. Not for the faint of heart or stomach, but when I was reading this book, my first thoughts when I woke up in the morning were of the characters.
Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge. Lovely and absorbing reimagining of the Beauty and the Beast story.
Summer of the Dead, Julia Keller. The third in Keller’s rural West Virginia-set mystery series. A character-driven mystery with a satisfying ending.
How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran. Another sharp, finely realized novel about being a teenage girl, this one a lot funnier and dirtier than French’s.
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell. IT guy falls in love with one of the newspaper employees whose emails he’s been hired to monitor. A little dated tech wise, but a pure delight to read, which I did three times in 2014.
Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin. The Happiness Project author’s latest is about how our personalities shape our habit formation and how we can use our self-knowledge to support developing habits that make us happier.
Family Life, Akhil Sharma. There’s a lot of warmth, humor, and sorrow packed into this slim volume.
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion. Logical-in-the-extreme scientist decides it’s time to marry, develops The Wife Project to find his ideal mate, meets a woman who’s the opposite of everything he thinks he wants. Super charming and funny.

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