What a reading year I’ve had, beating my goal in the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge. I read 54 out of 50, and today I want to share seven stand-out books of Twenty-Fourteen.
2 Favourite Books for Big People
I’ve given A Prayer for Owen Meany the full, gushing treatment already. Suffice it to say here, John Irving is now on my list of most admired authors. I have a second-hand copy of The World According to Garp lined up for 2015.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has it all: lyrical writing, a compelling WWII story and an intriguing blind protagonist. Two disparate storylines collide for a particularly satisfying denouement. It’s a book with a lovely, lingering aftertaste to savour.
Favourite Book for Little (ish) People
The Graveyard Book is a unique spin on Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book, done in Neil Gaiman’s inimitable style. Witty, original, fabulously spooky and dark. When Nobody Owens ‘s family is murdered, the little fellow toddles off to the graveyard at the top of the hill, where the residents, a community of tender-hearted ghosts and such, raise the boy and keep him safe.
Favourite Covers & Artwork
Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela McColl. I would have liked to name the artist, but apparently such information is Googleproof. Whoever you are–nice work! Based on all the palace intrigue in the lead up to Queen Victoria’s coronation, this YA historical romance is so much fun! The story is crackerjack and the audio truly enjoyable, but it is the fabulous cover that stole my heart. I love the Victoria-meets-Andy-Warhol-in-a-candyshop design. The back, cleverly done in the style of a 1830’s newspaper, features headlines and snippets about events in the book.
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, artwork by Chris Riddell. Just holding this book in your hands is a sensory experience. The silky, translucent cover provides a peek through to the artwork beneath. Done in monochrome with gold highlights throughout, it’s a twisty and dark mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
Favourite Book by an Australian Author
The Rat Catcher’s Daughter by Pamela Rushby. A gripping historical novel set in Brisbane. Who knew that the plague had ever come to Queensland, Australia?
Favourite Audio Book
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs. [N.B.: This could also be headed Favourite Series, Favourite Fantasy, Favourite Funnies or Favourite Protagonist…]
Anything by Pratchett is already brimming with wit and hilarity; add in Stephen Brigg’s narration talent and verve, and you’ve got yourself one luscious treat. Worth the price of admission just to hear Briggs’s characterisation of the motley crew of Nac Mac Feegles with their weird and wonderful, sort-of Scottish dialect. I wish I knew how many individual voices Briggs created for this one book–it’s quite a feat! There were a half-dozen individual Nac Mac Feegles alone! Apparently, he’s done quite a number of the Discworld books.
Protagonist Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, is as kick-ass as they come. One Goodreads reviewer (Nataliya. Click to read the full, funny review) warns, The Wee Free Men is “…a gateway drug to fuel addiction to Sir Terry’s writing.” Too true. I for one will be going back for another hit.
2015’s Reading Adventures
My nightstand is locked and loaded, ready for a new year full of reading. I’ll be doing the Goodreads Challenge again, but in 2015, I’m shooting for 75 titles.
How about you? Do you have a favourite I should read? Please leave your recommendations in the comments!