We read a lot here at TheReadingRoom. To give you an idea of just what we are reading, some of our staff picked their favorite books they read in 2014. These are the books we loved—but what about you? Leave us a comment and let us know what you were reading this year!
Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
“My pick is Absurdistan—a novel by Gary Shteyngart. It touches on important subjects, but is hilariously entertaining. Shteyngart’s style is as someone said ‘socialist realism decaying into black comedy’”
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
“Amy Poehler is one of those hilarious, quirky women you want to be friends with. It was inspiring to read about someone who followed her passion regardless of monetary success and stayed grounded after achieving that fame. Her stories—ranging from childhood and professional experiences, to divorce and motherhood—are relateable and substantive, yet lighthearted. This is a quick, fun read from one of those celebrities who never fails to put a smile on your face.”
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
“I am not finished, but this is such a beautiful book. I am in love with the writing style. It’s truly stunning.”
“A great thriller; I really liked it. Kept me on my toes. Finished it in two days.”
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
“It was short, sweet, and deep. My kind of book.”
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
“This book tickled my soul.”
“This year I really enjoyed re-reading Malcon Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. I also liked Unbroken. The thrilling tale was a real page-turner.”
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
“Murakami’s seemingly simple but elegant prose is harmonised by the nostalgic music of Liszt’s Le Mal du Pays. Tortured by the loss of his closest friends, Tsukuru begins a pilgrimage of healing and discovery: to understand why they rejected him. To say more would be a spoiler.”
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
“The ability to tell a story with 12 main characters is pulled off flawlessly by Catton. Not for reading late at night – you need to be alert in the first 100 pages to understand all the suspects in this colourful “whodunit”. You won’t be disappointed but you will be kept guessing to the very end.”
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day
“In terms of physical books, my favorite acquisition of 2014 is Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes. I definitely recommend getting the physical book. It’s beautifully crafted–much like the cocktails. You can really see the love and care that went into its creation. It’s also deep on content with detailed recipes presented in a way that don’t feel too intimidating to tackle.
In terms of books I enjoyed reading, Flat Out Celeste was an unexpected but entertaining follow-up to the Flat Out Love series. This was also the year I discovered the very readable and prolific Jojo Moyes. She put out a couple books this year. I read The Girl You Left Behind. She gets categorized as Romance but I recommend to Chick Lit readers looking for something new.
“The best book I read this year was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s difficult to describe because there are so many moving pieces in this phenomenal work of fiction. The story follows Celia and Marco, two magically gifted people who train from an early age to eventually compete to destroy one another. They both end up being involved in a magical circus which is written so beautifully that it’s making me happy to just imagine it. Definitely a must-read.
I also enjoyed The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Although it was published a while ago, I finally read it in a book club this year and absolutely loved it. It’s definitely a book that makes you think in a wonderful and reflective way.”