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!
1. 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. 6. 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 Bennett + Importance 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!