Best of 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve dear readers!

Last year I listed my top 5 books of the year, but this year I read so many incredible and amazing and thought-provoking and charming books that it was already a struggle to limit them down to ten. I read a total of 79 books in 2014, so the books that I chose for this list have all stuck with me since reading and I feel will stick with me for years to come. These books are listed in no particular order, because even if I wanted to, I couldn’t pick a favourite – they are all wonderful in their own way. I have written individual reviews of all of these books, so you can click the links if you want to know more about my thoughts on them. Now let’s get started!

gatsbyPicMonkey Collage11. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale was my first Margaret Atwood and it certainly will not be the last. Although I originally gave the book only four stars, it has been in the back of my mind ever since July and it has really made me think about the concepts that she created for this book. I’ve now slyly changed my rating to 4.5, and this was the first book that came to mind when I started compiling this list.

2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Another first, The Picture of Dorian Gray was my first Oscar Wilde and I fell in love with it head first. It is witty and horrible and seducing, and the language is simply divine. Very, very highly recommended!

3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie is the Queen of crime fiction and this book reminded me again why she earns her title. I was completely enthralled by this book, trapped on the island with the other characters and trying to figure out who the murderer was. A gripping read.

4. Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words by Boel Westin
The biography that served as the starting point for my Tove100 project. What was only supposed to be a quick look for research purposes turned into instant infatuation and, over the year, a love for Tove Jansson as an artist and a writer. Inspiring to a tee.

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell  
What can I say about the brilliancy that is Animal Farm? Simply that it is a fable for the adults about a group of animals who overthrow the farmer and begin to run the farm independently.*coff*heavy criticism on Soviet revolution*coff*. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.                                                    PicMonkey Collage26. The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomäki                                                           
For truly opening my eyes to the wonders of science fiction. Up until this year, I considered science fiction as something that wasn’t really for me and that the only science fiction I enjoyed was the Douglas Adams kind. However, this ecological mystery extravaganza took me on an adventure that I won’t easily forget. As I said in my review: if every scifi book were like this, I would have converted ages ago.

7. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the D’Urbervilles vowed me from the very beginning and it managed to combine both an important topic, Victorian sexual hypocrisy, and stunningly poetic writing. The contrast between the two was very powerful and Tess’ story broke my heart to pieces. Emotional, but also intellectually stimulating must-read classic.

8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger                                                   
Another enthralling book, The Time Traveler’s Wife also appealed to my emotions and took me through a rollercoaster ride of feelings. The original timeline construction and the characters just made this a wonderful read, and it is all topped of with beautiful writing. Simply fantastic.

9. Forty Years On and Other Plays by Alan BennettImportance of Being Earnest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde
OK, so I couldn’t decide with collection of plays I liked better so I cheated and chose both. And technically I haven’t yet read all of the plays in Wilde’s collection, but here’s what’s going on: Last year I discovered Alan Bennett’s books, and he became on of my favourite authors of 2014. This year, the same happened with Oscar Wilde. Both of their play collections have witty, laugh-out-loud and amazing plays, but both also feature plays that were not really up there. So I’m calling it a tie.

10. As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka                                                                        
An amazing first book in a dark mystery YA trilogy, it is no wonder this book is selling internationally. The female protagonist, Lumikki, is a kick-ass character unlike anyone else, and Simukka’s use of language is so clever that you just want to marvel on how she weaves the story. This book also made me very scared to walk past the graveyard, even in bright daylight.

And that was my Top Ten of 2014. Let me know if you read any of these and also what was your favourite read of 2014!

Happy New Year!
Noora xx

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19 thoughts on “Best of 2014

  1. 2015 will be the year I read Animal Farm and The Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s long overdue! And I need to read The Sands of Sarasvati. I still remember your review and I think I might enjoy it.
    I wish you the very best for 2015. Hopefully, this year will be as rich in amazing discoveries as 2014 was ;).

    • Agreed! And I really hope that you’ll be able to find The Sands of Sarasvati. I think it has been poorly marketed, because you can’t find it in Goodreads (which only has the graphic novel version) nor other online retailers. I’ll send it your way if I ever come across the English translation 😉
      All the best for 2015, and may it be even better than 2014!

  2. A few of your books appear on my favourite books of all-time list: Tess, A Handmaid’s Tale, and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had never heard of The Sands of Sarasvati , and you make it sound so good in your review. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your kind comment!
      I really do hope that The Sands of Sarasvati will be sold internationally, because I really loved it. However, at the moment you can only purchase the English translation from the publisher’s website which completely in Finnish. I really should give them some feedback about that…

      • Oh, now I want to read it even more :). Thanks for the heads up. I will check out the author’s website.

        Happy New Year!

      • Hmmm… turns out, I cannot make heads or tails of the Finnish website. Not available on Canadian or American sites. Ah well…

    • I do hope that you enjoy And Then There Were None as much I did. And thank you for the recommendation, I will keep it in mind for when I feel like reading Hardy again!

  3. You read Animal Farm this year?!
    God,I remember finding your blog thanks to a post on this book! It feels so long ago!!
    I read Animal Farm and Picture of Dorian Gray last year and they are among my favourites as well!
    I will try to read Handmaid’s Tale during my vacations in June when I’ll be back in Mauritius.I feel like the only one who didn’t read it!
    And Tess of the d’Ubervilles.Had you not lavished so much praise on it,I’d have thought it was just a boring story!!

    I hope next year you’ll read Kafka and/or Borges.Their literature,especially for the latter,is very different,and I’m curious as to what you’ll think of them! 🙂

    • I know! I too felt like that was ages ago! Time flies fast, huh?
      I too am looking forward to reading more Kafka because it’s been ages since I read The Metamorphoses. And don’t worry, Borges is definitely on my list of authors to read in 2015!

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