And now for my favorite top ten list—books! So this was a really great year for me, reading-wise, as I (somehow) managed to more than double the amount of books I read in 2013 for a total of 121 books. Granted, a lot of those were graphic novels or other short books, but still. And so picking a top ten was hard as I had about 40 books that I rated 5 stars. So I’ve grouped some together and also made separate lists for novels and graphic novels.
Note: These lists are for books I’ve read in 2014, and has nothing to do with release dates. Unfortunately I only read a couple 2014 releases or so (though I am currently reading The Martian, by Andy Weir, which came out in 2014 and is great so far)
Top Ten Novels of 2014
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. This book is long and dense, but definitely worth it.
- The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I was expecting to not like this as much, as it’s always been described as basically “a history book of the elves” and, well, I always hated reading history books for school (history is fascinating, but the textbooks on it less so). =P And yes, it is a history of the elves, but written exceedingly well (I mean, it is Tolkien) and not text-book-y. This book was just so interesting, and I really look forward to re-reading it someday.
- Stardust, Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and Fortunately, the Milk, all by Neil Gaiman. So sort of cheating here, but every single one of his books is absolutely fantastic, and I read all of these this year. My favorite is probably The Graveyard Book, but as I said, each was amazing. Gaiman is definitely one of my all-time favorite authors.
- The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. I’d heard so much about this, and it really lived up to all the hype. To put simply, it was really beautifully written, and simply reading each word was just as enjoyable as the plot and characters.
- Skin Game, by Jim Butcher. Butcher is another favorite author of mine, and the Dresden Files is one of my all-time favorite series. They seem to just keep getting better and better, and Skin Game was no different.
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. Can’t wait to read the prequel book, The Ring of Solomon, as this was one of the best series/trilogies I’ve read. The footnotes by Bartimaeus were hilarious.
- A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. Well, of course. This series is fantastic, and I finally got around to reading the latest novel early last year. Can’t wait for Winds of Winter.
- Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman. This was just an incredibly interesting read, focusing on the dreams of Einstein as he’s forming his theory of relativity. Really brilliant, not only being fascinating in itself, but also making you think and ponder about it.
- The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. Hilarious and exceedingly fun. Highly recommended to any fan of the film.
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite Sherlock Holmes “book” (counting each collection of short stories as well as the four novels as individual books), as it contains the most of my favorite stories: “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “The Red-Headed League”, and “The Speckled Band”, plus I enjoyed all the others.
Honorable Mentions: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle; Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card; and The Fault in our Stars, by John Green.
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I’m really saddened it’s taken me so long to read a lot of these, but I really only got into graphic novels and comics fairly recently (basically at the beginning of 2014 when I read Hush and fell in love with them—I’d only read a few here and there before), unfortunately. Better late than never, I suppose.
Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2014
- Watchmen, by Alan Moore. Without a doubt the best graphic novel I’ve read, and one of the best books I’ve read period.
- The Sandman series, by Neil Gaiman. There’s a reason this series is so highly praised, and that’s because it’s fantastic. Tied for my two favorite books would be Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, and Vol. 4: Season of Mists, followed closely by Vol. 7: Brief Lives because of how hilarious and fun-to-read Delirium is. I've been buying the single issues of Overture (with the Dave McKean covers ^^), but haven't read them yet as I was hoping they'd get on a more regular release schedule first, but it looks like that may not happen...so I'll probably just start reading them soon.
- The New 52 Batman, by Scott Snyder (this being The Court of Owls, The City of Owls, Death of the Family, Zero Year – Secret City, and Zero Year – Dark City, all of which I read this year). I’ve rated every one 5 stars, as Snyder really is an amazing writer and is doing such a great job with Batman. Can’t wait to see how Endgame plays out.
- Batman: Hush, by Jeph Loeb. Just such a great stand-alone Batman story, and it's the one that got me really interested in comics in general. Can't wait to read The Long Halloween, also by Loeb.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth, by Grant Morrison. First off, the art for this, by Dave McKean, is absolutely amazing, and fits the story perfectly. The story itself is fantastically dark and creepy.
- Deadpool: The Complete Collection – Volume 1, by Daniel Way. Just a blast. I recently picked up the other three volumes of Daniel Way’s run, and can’t wait to read them. Deadpool really is a hilarious character (can’t wait for the film, especially if it’s anything like that leaked clip, as that’s very close to the Deadpool in Way’s comics).
- Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon, by Matt Fraction. It's really fun to see Hawkeye in a non-Avengers setting, and just what his day-to-day life is like--great character.
- Captain America: Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker. Captain America is my second favorite superhero (after Batman), and this run was a great read.
- Kingdom Come, by Mark Waid. What was fascinating about this was how all the Justice League members were old, and it was great seeing them have to come back.
- V for Vendetta and Batman: The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore. Moore really is the master of comics, and while not as good as Watchmen in my opinion, still two fantastic books.
Honorable Mentions: Batman: The Black Mirror, by Scott Snyder; Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller; and Green Arrow—Year One, by Andy Diggle.
Also shout-out to Wytches, by Scott Snyder, and Rocket Raccoon, by Scottie Young, both of which are currently in-progress but absolutely fantastic and would’ve made it on the top ten list otherwise.