Books I’ve read in 2014 — Part I

I read and listened to a bunch of good books this year, but I had to go through my Kindle and my Audible App to find them all!  I like to separate out the list into books I picked up and read for fun, books I’ve read for book club and those I’ve listened to.  I’d love to hear from you if you read any of these and what you thought, or if you had a favorite book you read or listened to in 2014.

Here is Part 1: Books I’ve read.

 

Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

I enjoyed this odd, magical, fantasy story.  There are tow main characters who we meet as children.  Each is prepared by a mentor for a life long challenge that will take place in and around an enchanted circus.  Neither character knows any details of the challenge or what they are supposed to do to win it.  The story is full of fun fringe characters but focuses on the development of and the interaction between, the two protagonists.

 

 

State Of Wonder, Ann Prachett.

I found this book on my bookshelf  and so I read the actual paperback version of the book.  It had been quite a while since I read a “real” book.  I don’t think that the format impacted my enjoyment of the book in any way!

State of Wonder was a riveting story and (I can say this here) a real page turner!  A pharmaceutical researcher is sent to the Amazon to investigate the death of her colleague who was working with an allusive scientist researching a new fertility drug that could greatly impact the world and make the company millions.

 

The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson  

I loved this book.  It was light, funny and full of adventure.  It reminded me a little of Forrest Gump how the main character finds himself in situations with world leaders, thereby weaving in a little history into the story!

 

 

And the Dark Sacred Night, Julia Glass

I very much enjoy Julia Glass’ novels.  This one did not disappoint.  The story stands on its own, however it provides some back story to two characters from her earlier work, Three Junes.

In this book, the main character is an adult man whose life is stuck.  His wife believes that in order to move forward he must first discover his past and sets him on a search to find his biological father, about whom his mother has refused to provide any information.  In his quest, he discovers family secrets and develops warm and loving relationships.

 

The King of Elfland’s Daughter, Lord Dunsany

This was another book I discovered in my bookcase!  As I enjoy fantasy stories, and this one was billed as, “one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists.”  Well, maybe it was in its day, but I didn’t find it all that interesting or enjoyable.

 

Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, Nicholas Schou

As the title suggests, the book is a true story about the “hippie mafia” who manufactured acid (Orange Sunshine) and tons and tons of hashish and other drugs into the US in the 60’s.  It was interesting, but a little unsettling how easy it was to smuggle drugs into the country.

 

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

Wow, what a book!  I totally enjoyed this book although it was very different from the books I typically read.  It is an autobiographical novel set in the underworld of modern Bombay (Mumbai) India.  The main character, Lin is an escaped convict from Australia who makes a new life in India.  His guide and friend Probaker takes him (and us) on a fascinating journey through the streets of Bombay.  Along the way, Lin is a counterfeiter, smuggler, gunrunner, and street soldier for a branch of the Bombay mafia.

 

The Book of Life (Book 3 of the All Souls Trilogy), Deborah Harkness

I couldn’t wait for this book to come out.  It was the third and final book of the All Souls Trilogy.  After reading the book, I went back and reread the first two, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night and then just to tidy things up, reread The Book of Life.  I really, really enjoyed the trilogy!  It involved witches, vampires and daemons; however the ultimate point of the story is that all creatures (including humans) are basically the same and we need to live together, accepting each other in order to survive.

 

 The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve

The Weight of Water is a novel which presents an alternative motive and murderer of two women at the Isles of Shoals in 1873.  As the Isle of Shoals is just off the coast of New Hampshire (where I live), and the crime is somewhat of a local legend, I was interested in the story. Anita Shreve presents her version through the eyes of a photographer who finds an eye witness account of the events.  The story goes back and forth between the photographer’s personal struggle and that of the woman who survived the double ax murder.  By the end of the book, the weight of water becomes very clear.  I enjoyed the book and the way that the author presented the material.

 

 

 

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