The Ten Best Books I Read in 2014

Greetings,

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Although the photo above doesn’t contain all of my favourite books of 2014 due to some of them being lent out, it does contain a selection of books that I rated between 8 and 10. Including rereads, my top ten books of 2014 would be:

#10- ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte (9/10)

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Jane Eyre’! It was the first book by any of the Brontes I had read, and would have received a rating of 10/10 if it wasn’t for the last 3/4 of a page in the novel. I thought the way the book was written was truly beautiful, and found that I actually cared what happened to Jane and Mr Rochester. For anyone with a love of classic literature this book is a treasure. I was worried that it may not have lived up to its reputation, however I think it actually managed to exceed its ‘hype’!

#9- ‘Forest Gump’ by Winston Groome (9/10)

Eventhough I read this book way back in February, it has remained at the forefront of my thoughts. It was wonderfully written and never failed to make me smile. If it hadn’t fallen slightly flat at the ending it would have received 10/10. I adored reading about the protagonist’s various humorous adventures that made me both laugh and cry! I had previously seen the movie adaptation, a film I adore, and found the book to be just as wonderful and actually rather underrated!

#8- ‘War And Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy (9.5/10)

When I reached the first of December and realised I had still not read this book, I decided the time had come to tackle the imposing tome. This is a decision I most certainly do not regret! I loved almost every single page- there was romance, adventure, battles and friendships that kept me enthralled for the duration of the novel. If it hadn’t been for the incredibly irritating final fifty pages of the book I would have adored this novel even more. I firmly believe that everyone should experience reading this novel at least once, as it literally feels as though you’re embarking on a journey when you sit down to read it; then you are rewarded with the pleasure of finishing the epic tome.

#7- ‘Hens Dancing’ by Rafaella Barker (10/10)

Finishing ‘Hens Dancing’ on New Year’s Eve made this book the last novel I read in 2014. A great way to end the year! I loved every page of this novel, and The Beauty soon became one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. The prose was absolutely beautiful, making me laugh aloud at almost every page. Even the more sincere parts of the novel were written in such a manner that they made me laugh. The book was simply a delightful piece of light reading that I couldn’t put down. It managed to keep me engrossed without having a particular plot simply because its prose was so charming. Rarely have I enjoyed a book so much!

#6- ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn (10/10)

I’m not a person who is easily unnerved by films or books, but this novel was so tense that there were times when I could barely bring myself to turn its pages! It had one of the best twists in any book I’ve read in recent years and was ingeniously planned. It is yet another book that exceeds its rather complimentary reputation. The characters were all equally dislikeable, which worked perfectly given the rather dark storyline. It was actually a pleasure to be unnerved by this book. Credit should be given to Flynn as her writing style really helped to build suspense throughout the novel. I’m not sure such a dark story can be described as ‘enjoyable’, but there’s no denying that this is one of the best novels of recent years.

#5- ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky (10/10)

This is the first reread to make it into my list of best books I read in 2014. The first time I read Chbosky’s beautiful novel was 2-3 years ago, and since then it has remained one of my favourite novels of all time. I love everything about it, from the characters to the beautiful prose. In the conventional sense, a novel written only in letters feels as though it should not work due to the lack of a consistent narrative, however Chbosky’s novel always grabs my attention on its first beautiful page and owns it until I turn the last page. A large reason for this is Charlie, the protagonist the author so wonderfully created. Few books, young adult or otherwise, have ever moved me as much as this one. The way Charlie deals with the strains of mental illness never fail to make me laugh and cry in equal measures.

#4- ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell (10/10)

I decided to read this novel after tackling the wonderful film adaptation, and I have to say I was in no way disappointed. The book more than holds its own against its famous adaptation, and the film and the book are just as good as eachother but for many different reasons. A big draw of this book is its character development- I watched the characters grow as people throughout the novel. I both loved and hated Scarlett, the protagonist, in equal measures. I read this book during our summer holiday in Cornwall, and it proved to be the perfect holiday read (despite the way my family mocked me over my choice of book)! The novel too me the full holiday to read without ever being too taxing on the brain, or becoming a ‘chore’ to read.

#3- ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee (10/10)

This masterpiece is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve ever read- truly a joy to read! Everything from the  characters to the plot to the setting to the prose was masterfully created by Lee. Atticus Finch is one of my favourite fictional characters of all time and proves himself to be the perfect literary hero over the course of this novel. The quotes from this novel are stunningly written, with one in particular gem having become my favourite quote of all time. Innumerable words have been written about how fantastic this book is, so instead of repeating the words of others, I simply leave you with this quote- ‘Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remembered it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird’.

#2- The ‘Harry Potter’ series by JK Rowling (10/10)

In my opinion, these books are probably the best ‘young adult’ books ever written. Anyone of any age can sit down and adore a Harry Potter book. After all, how many eleven year old Brits HAVEN’T dreamed about receiving their Hogwarts acceptance letter?! Adults will love these books because their children will receive so much pleasure from them. Such is the general adoration for these books that the name ‘Harry Potter’ is now synominous with British literature. I was nine when I read these books for the first time, and my love for them has in no way lessened as a fifteen year old. It’s so rare that books aimed at the younger generation are actually well-written that one must savour the likes of the Potter books. Personally, I must confess that I am rather obsessed with them. Both my wardrobe and my bedroom are filled with merchandise relating to these books, and I can’t imagine that changing any time soon!

#1- ‘The Green Mile’ by Stephen King (10/10)

After spending a considerable amount of time bleating about my dislike for a lot of Stephen King’s work, it seems rather odd that I should choose one of his novels as my favourite of 2014, but I have to say that this novel has become my favourite of all time. Coincidentally, the film adaptation of it has also become my favourite movie. I think this is because I am so enamoured with the beautiful story the novel tells. This book showcases that, when he’s at his best, King really can write well. This novel is rather well-written and is so inventive that I’ve never read anything like it! John Coffey is probably my favourite fictional character, and his fate never fails to touch me. As an all rounder, everything about this book really is beautiful. It’s one of the few books that I could happily begin to reread as soon as I have put it down. Not being a fan of King has actually made me love this book even more, as I was so pleasantly surprised by it. Truly wonderful!

In conclusion, 2014 was a wonderful reading year! I hope you agree with my choices, and that you have an amazing 2015! I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to read my blog during 2014! šŸ™‚

Emma x

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