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05.03.2014 admin
Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala: It's nearly impossible to review a book so centered on someone else's grief.
I forgot to include A Tale for the Time Being to my list, it definitely kept me glued to the book and thinking about things.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. July 15, 2014 by Jo 1 Comment July is always a very busy time for me in my day job, but to regain a bit of perspective it is nice to take a moment to reflect on some of the wonderful books I’ve read in the last six months. Only three titles have received my 5 star rating for both The Story and The Writing (I’m a hard marker).
I opened my Goodreads and scrolled through my 2014 list, writing down the books that really stood out in my memory.
That list of 12 is fantastic as is; but I still really wanted to narrow it down to the cream of the crop. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - Don Tillman is a social awkward professor (probably with Asperger's, although he doesn't have a clear diagnosis). Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - I had to put at least one Harry Potter on this list, since I just reread them all this year for the Young Adult Book and Movie Club. Persuasion by Jane Austen - I've been re-reading Jane Austen this year for the Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club, and I was surprised how much I liked this one. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley - I've loved Flavia de Luce for a while now, and I just caught up on the series, devouring this one in one evening. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer - This one reminds me how much I like a good true crime book. Deraniyagala's story of loss and family and rebuilding her life after the devastation of the tsunami in Sri Lanka is a testament to the lasting power of grief--and our ability to overcome the worst situations, even when we may doubt our abilities to do so.
Poissant's stories are emotional and wonderful and ever-so-slightly unreal, which makes them all-the-more perfect. Ward memorializes five men who died too soon, examining the traits that link their deaths: being Black, Southern, and male.
When the editor-in-chief of a major dictionary goes missing just before the launch of its last print edition, his daughter falls down the rabbit hole in her search for him. A lunchbox containing the diary of a depressed Japanese teen washes up on the Canadian shore, where it is found by an author with writer’s block.


Set in an alternate version of England, the students at the Hailsham school are told they have a special purpose in life.
A blind French girl and a German boy with a talent for fixing radios cross paths during WWII. In the not-so-distant future, a sentient race of aliens is discovered, and the Society of Jesus mounts an expedition to their planet to make first contact.
The wife of a famous author reflects on her marriage and the sexual double standards that led to the stifling of her own artistic talent. The daughter of a wealthy Haitian man is abducted and held at ransom. She is kept in captivity for 13 days, and when she is finally released, she struggles with PTSD and her altered relationship with her family. I really want to read All the Light We Cannot See and Dept of Speculation, they both sound fantastic! But All the Light You Cannot See was really great, and I have A Tale for the Time Being on my TBR pile.
I'm Leah, a mid-twenties Buffalonian with a penchant for offbeat literary fiction, outdoor adventures, and making as many Hamilton references as possible. I'm well ahead of my target of 104 books for the year, which is great, since inevitably my reading rate declines a lot around the holidays. Don is tired of being alone, and embarks on "the wife project" -- a scientific survey which theoretically ought to find him a perfect wife.
I read it about 15 years ago, and I think I was too young to appreciate how much hope there was in the story.
And oh goodness, SO MANY THINGS I want to say about this book, but I can't, because SPOILERS. Is it seriously far enough into 2014 to start talking about the best books of the year (so far)? Mazzeo's history of the Hotel Ritz presents the lesser-known history of one of the world's most well-known hotels, from famous novelists to Nazi occupation and beyond.
Violent and heartfelt and emotional and thoughtful and why the hell did I not read this one sooner?
Klay's collection of short stories focuses on the modern veteran and the ongoing struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the long-lasting, often unseen impacts of war on those we ask to fight for us. Add to that the fact that McCracken writes one hell of a sentence, and here we go: on my top ten of 2014 (so far) list.


This is a powerful, heartbreaking book about grief and the way society failed her loved ones. In poetic vignettes, a woman muses upon her marriage as she deals with everything from a colicky baby to bedbugs to infidelity. This novel follows a small group of friends as they navigate schoolyard politics and their roles in society. This is an incredible novel about the devastating consequences even the best intentions can have. Any book that so expertly draws parallels to The Bell Jar is bound to be a favorite of mine, and I LOVED this novel. Since starting this website in 2009 I’ve come to realise I enjoy writing about books almost as much as reading them. But then he meets Rosie, who doesn't conform to the survey at all; and yet who enchants Don, and turns his life upside down.
Finding out some of Voldemort's history, the teenage hijinks as Harry, Ron, and Hermione all flirt with love, and the darkening of the series atmosphere make book 6 fantastic. I've read a few other Mormon books, and I had a Mormon roommate at one point, so I had heard snippets of a lot of it, but it was interesting to read such a sweeping saga all together. On finishing, I turned to my husband and managed to mutter, "I need a tissue," before dissolving into downright happy-go-sadly tears. Powerful, emotional, and downright unforgettable: this should really be required reading for all Americans.
Because who doesn't want to read books about a feisty, snarky, brilliant 11 year old chemist with a penchant for solving murders? I was obsessed with reading Life After Life, because I couldn't wait to see what would happen with Ursula's next life.



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