Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What was the best book you ever read?

And Now! Drumroll, please! What are the best books that I read this year?

First, feel free to take a look back at previous years:
See the list from 2011 here
See the list from 2012 here
See the list from 2013 here

I read a total of 67 books this year. If you took a look at previous years, you'll see that I generally had three categories: Fiction, Classic Fiction, and Non-fiction. As I looked at all the books I read this year, (by the way, please friend me on Goodreads. I like seeing what other people read), I felt like those three categories weren't working. Where do you put a book like Let's Pretend This Never Happened? Sure it's technically non-fiction, but... not really. So I've sorted the list into a bunch of additional categories. This is also better for me, because I can have more "Best" books.

Without further ado:



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Best Fiction
As I looked at the list, the three top contenders for Best Fiction are:
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

And the one I will name as Best is:



Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


This is the entire list of fictional works for 2014:
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Blameless by Gail Carriger
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Story and Its Writer by Ann Charters
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Red House by Mark Haddon
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
How to Love by Katie Cotungo
Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Longbourn by Jo Baker


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Best Classic Fiction
The next category is Best Classic Fiction. This category seems slightly slimmer than it was in previous years, but I still had some standouts. The winner of Best in this category is:



The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The 2014 list of Classic Fiction:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines



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Best Memoir
Three books also made the top of the memoir list.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My Life in France by Julia Child
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

I chose this as the Best:



My Life in France by Julia Child

The full list of 2014 Memoirs:
Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
My Life in France by Julia Child
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson



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Best Non-Fiction
I read a lot of really good Non-Fiction books this year. It was really hard to narrow down the list and choose the best. These are the five that I thought were the best:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup
The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Liebermann

For ultimate best I chose:



The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman

The full list of 2014 Non-Fiction:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Book of Ages by Jill Lepore
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup
The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Liebermann
The Perfect Theory by Pedro G. Ferreira
32 Ways to Outsmart Cancer by Nalini Chilkov
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean



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Best Self-Help
Although I read a lot of good self-help style books, there was an easy winner for best book.



Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Here is the full list of 2014 Self-Help:
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Essentialism by Greg Mckeown
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson



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Best Spirituality
It was also easy to choose a best book for the category of spirituality.



The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

The rest of the Spirituality category for 2014:
The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg
Plan B by Anne Lamott
An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism by William Stoddart
What is Tao? by Alan W. Watts
The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Dhammapada translated by Gil Fronsdal


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It was a good year for books. 

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