A Year of Reading – Part 2

On Tuesday, I posted books read between January and June 2014. Today I’ve included those from the balance of the year using the same rating scheme: GR = good read, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type; LR = light, enjoyable read.

Jul The Miniaturist Jessie Burton OR Atmospheric, set in 17th century Amsterdam; review for Washington Independent Review of Books
The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd ER Begins in 19th century Charleston when Sarah Grimke is given Hetty to be her handmaid
The Shadow of War Stewart Binns GR HNS article on WWI novels; confused by too many story threads
Aug A Cool & Lonely Courage Susan Ottaway GR HNS review; non-fiction; too linear, too many extraneous details
The Queen’s Exiles Barbara Kyle LR Drama set in Tudor times; part of Thornleigh stories
Certainty Victor Bevine ER HNS review; great character study and court drama
Voyage of Strangers Elizabeth Zevlin GR HNS review; set during Columbus’s time; too slow
Sep Devil’s Cave Martin Walker LR Detective Bruno mystery set in France
GI Brides Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi GR HNS review; non-fiction
Oct The Divine Sarah Arthur Gold & Robert Fizdale ER Biography of Sarah Bernhardt
The Yellow Birds Kevin Powers GR Book club; soldier returned from Iraq; fragmented non-linear structure
An Invisible Thread Laura Schoff NMT Book club; Too sappy for me
The Summer Queen Elizabeth Chadwick OR Superb; first in a series on Eleanor of Aquitaine
The Lewis Man Peter May ER High suspense mystery
Gray Mountain John Grisham GR Disappointing for a Grisham novel; a rant on the coal industry
Never Forget Angela Petch GR WWII & present day; set in Italy
Nov The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty ER Book club; Slow start followed by great build up to surprising climax
The Course of Honour Lindsey Davis ER Set in ancient Rome
Dec Arctic Summer Damon Galgut GR HNS review; fictional biography of E.M. Forster
Stormbird Conn Iggulden ER First in series on the Wars of the Roses
Me Before You Jojo Moyes LR Book club; A bit too sappy and predictable
Wild Cheryl Strayed ER Non-fiction; occasional slow bits but a page-turner

Good news, I received two books for Christmas: Penelope Fitzgerald – a biography of this writer by Hermione Lee and Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. And the mail just delivered Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway to be reviewed for the Historical Novel Society. Hopefully 2015 will also be a year full of books.

What were your favourites from 2014? Any idea of how many you read last year?

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available in paperback from Amazon and in e-book formats from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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14 Responses

  1. The Minaturist is on my TBR list. Don’t let Me Before You put you off JoJo Moyes. It’s my least favourite of hers. Try The Girl You Left Behind (WWI) or Ship of Brides (WWII)

  2. I see I reviewed 123 books I started to read on Amazon last year including some great 5 star books I read in previous years and found again. Not easy to reclassify these in your format. Reflecting back not an outstanding year for new first time reading. Nothing came close on fiction reading to Garden of the Evening Mists read in 2013. Outstanding two books in 2014 were anthologies – Reading A Little Aloud – one for adults and another for children. Pure magic. Best light read by far – The Silkworm, Best semi fiction – Regeneration. Enjoyed self published books by you – Lies Told in Silence, Calvin Hedley’s Turning Point and two books by Tony Riches – Warwick and Secret Diaries of Eleanor Cobham.. These held their own well against The Children Act and Sense of an Ending by established heavy weight authors. Best non fiction – The Prisoner List and related Chalker Illustrations. Twenty or so books started and not finished. Let us see what turns up in 2015.

    1. 123 books – wow, that’s amazing Alexander. Congrats on your dedication. Many thanks for your kind comment about LTIS. I have the Children Act and must get busy reading it. Must also read one of Tony Riches’s novels.

      1. I have just completed a new post in my Writing and Reading for Pleasure series on Mick Rooney’s TIPM with the subject “A picture is worth a thousand Words.” While drafting the post it struck me I recall books mainly in pictures of scenes created by the authors as well as memorable characters and a global memory of the overall story. How do you and other readers on your web site blog recall the books they read?

        1. A really good question, Alexander. I often forget what I’ve read until I see the book cover or read a quick synopsis of the book. What lingers for me is a general impression of whether I felt immersed in the story and characters or not. Very hard for me to recall specifics.

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