A Year of Reading

45 books in 2014!

Shocking admission: I’ve never tracked my books before, so when 2014 began, I was encouraged by others setting ambitious reading goals and decided that the least I could do was write down the titles, authors and impressions of each book tackled.

Some were superb, others I did not finish (life’s too short to read truly unappealing books). Several were enjoyable although not particularly distinctive. Most were historical fiction; a few were non-fiction. I read several in my capacity as book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and others for book club discussions.

Since I don’t like the five star rating system used by sites like Goodreads, I’ve taken a different approach. GR = good read, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type; LR = light, enjoyable read.

Here’s the first six months. I’ll post the second list on Thursday. For those I’ve reviewed, a link is included.

Books read in 2014


Jan The Aviator’s Wife Melanie Benjamin ER Book club; great story about Anne Morrow Lindberg
The Book Thief Markus Zusak DNF Death as the narrator left me cold
The Secret Rooms Catherine Bailey ER HNS review; non-fiction page-turner set in early 20th century England
The Book of Salt Monique Truong GR Book club; Gertrude Stein’s Vietnamese cook
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose GR Non-fiction; some excellent chapters, others I skimmed
Feb The Golden Dice Elisabeth Storrs ER Part of a series on ancient Rome
The Proposal Margaret Evans Porter LR 19th century romance with twists and turns
Becoming Josephine Heather Webb GR Stronger after Josephine meets Napoleon
Mar The Mountain of Light Indu Sundarasan ER Fascinating look at India
Churchill’s First War Con Coughlin GR HNS review; non-fiction about Churchill’s time in
To Serve a King Donna Russo Morin LR The story of Genevieve, a spy for Henry VIII
Go Away Home Carol Bodensteiner LR Coming of age in early 20th century Iowa
Lionheart Sharon Kay Penman ER Superb account of Richard I
A Discovery of Strangers Rudy Wiebe ER Book club; based on Franklin’s failed arctic voyage
Apr The Expected One Kathleen McGowan NMT Rated ** on Goodreads
Empress of the Night Eva Stachniak DNF About Catherine the Great
May Girl Reading Katie Ward NMT Book club; more like a set of short stories
The Storms of War Katie Williams GR HNS article on WWI novels; multiple threads make it read like a TV series
Starshine John Wilcox GR HNS article on WWI novels; story meanders too much
The Care and Management of Lies Jacqueline Winspear ER HNS article on WWI novels; wonderful read
Jun The Russian Tapestry Banafsheh Serov GR HNS article on WWI novels; on the Russian front
A Star for Mrs. Blake April Smith GR HNS article on WWI novels; American gold star mothers
City of Jasmine Deanna Raybourn LR delightful mystery set in post-WWI Damascus

Quite the range – and so many to recommend.

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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The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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