There are still 3 weeks left in the year which is lots of time for more reading. But I have decided to post my favourite books of 2014 now. Note: these are just my favourite books out of what I have read this year. Most of them were not actually published in 2014.
1. World War Z by Max Brooks (review). It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality.
2. The Forever Watch by David Ramirez (review). The Noah: a city-sized ship, half-way through an eight-hundred-year voyage to another planet. In a world where deeds, and even thoughts, cannot be kept secret, a man is murdered; his body so ruined that his identity must be established from DNA evidence. Within hours, all trace of the crime is swept away, hidden as though it never happened.
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.
4. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn’t take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes and what they discover is an ancient secret that can only be solved by modern means, and a global-conspiracy guarded by Mr. Penumbra himself…who has mysteriously disappeared.
5. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.
1. Harry Potter: Page to Screen (review). From the acquisition of the film rights to the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the assembly of the creative team, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most popular film series in cinema history, as told by the people who made the magic real.
2. A Zeal of Zebras. An embarrassment of pandas, a galaxy of starfish, a shiver of sharks…these are all collective nouns – terms used to describe a group. Woop Studios has illustrated these quirky phrases, creating a series of truly stunning art that has been collected here for the first time. The colourful introduction to animals and the alphabet is accessible for young children, while the whimsical art and clever word play make it perfect for design-savvy parents and hip gift givers.
3. An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield (review). Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield’s success – and survival – is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst – and enjoy every moment of it.
4. This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl (review). A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends help to tell Esther’s story, along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.
5. The Heretics: Adventures With The Enemies of Science by Will Storr. Will Storr has travelled across the world to meet an extraordinary cast of modern heretics in order to answer this question. He goes on a tour of Holocaust sites with David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during ‘past-life regression’ hypnosis, takes part in a mass homeopathic overdose, and investigates a new disease affecting tens of thousands of people – a disease that doesn’t actually exist.
This year I have been slowly working through the reading list on wellread40. These are the three books I found most interesting out of what I read this year, however I couldn’t decide if they belonged in fiction or non-fiction so they get a special section.
Gilgamesh and The Five Books of Moses are both really fascinating in a historical sense. Someone once told me that you should read the Bible at some point in your life and after reading The Five Books of Moses I realised they were right.
The Dhammapada is also a fascinating read. This is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form. The really interesting thing about this book is you see that Buddhism is more a way of thinking than it is a religion. This book really helped my anxiety problem in a there’s no point worrying about stuff you can’t change sort of way.