Best of the Best: My Favorites of the 100 Books I Read Last Year

I hope everyone has had a nice relaxing holiday season full of fun, food, and family. I for one enjoyed the break from classes but did not have much opportunity to slow down otherwise. As my last post suggested, 2013 was an incredibly busy year for me and 2014 promises much of the same. Of everything I accomplished in the last year, reading 100 books is one of the things I'm most proud of- even if it did take me a few days into the new year to complete.

I read some awesome books this year so I thought now would be a great time to offer my suggestions. I had originally intended to summarize my top five favorite books, but then I went through my list and I had not five, but twenty books I absolutely had to share! Clearly that's too many to summarize in a short blog post. That said, before I give my list of favorites I think it's worth noting the range of genres represented on this list. Trying to read 100 books in a year not only stretched me to read more but it also pushed me to try genres I never thought I'd be interested in.

The truth is truly stranger than fiction, something I learned again and again as I made my way through true tales of life in Savannah, Georgia (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), Prison (Orange is the New Black), and working as the food critic for the New York Times (Garlic and Sapphires). I read several graphic novels and came to better understand the style and its ability to convey complex ideas and emotions differently than novels. Mystery has never been a genre I know much about but working in a public library where mysteries are among the most popular books made me realize how much fun they are. So here you are, roughly in the order they were read, my list of the top twenty books I've read in the last year. Got any great suggestions to add? I'd love to hear them! I may not be able to keep up with my list, but in the last year, I feel like I've made a lot of progress.

  1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  3. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
  4. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  5. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  6. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  7. The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
  8. The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
  9. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling
  11. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  12. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
  13.  Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
  14.  Snobs by Julian Fellowes
  15.  Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
  16.  Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  17.  Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
  18.  The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen
  19.  The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
  20.  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach


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