29 December 2014

My Books of 2014

The end of the year is always a time for Top Ten lists and Best Moments and such from that ending year. So the New York Times put out its “Top 10 Books of 2014” and I rushed to read it because surely as someone who enjoys reading I would have certainly read a few, right?  Not so. The Times split the list. Five were fiction and five were non fiction. So, how did I do? Not a single one! In fact I had not even heard of them. Was I living under a rock? No. Did I not read this year? No, I read.
 
So what did I read?  
One 2014 book that comes to mind immediately was Aviva Chomsky’s
Undocumented How Immigration Became Illegal. Chomsky is an immigrant rights activist and in this text she explores what being undocumented actually means. She does a great job putting things into a historical perspective too. So even though my family has been here awhile, her explanation really made me think. Clearly not everyone is afforded the opportunity to immigrate in the manner my ancestors did. It is not an easy Sunday afternoon kind of read. It opened my eyes though I am still unsure how I – unimportant as I am – can make a difference. 

I read several books that were published prior to this year. My sister lent me a book by Susan Wittig Albert. She writes the China Bayles Mystery series and it was a great simple read. I dare say her books are light reading. They reminded me a lot of the Murder She Wrote series. In face I just finished reading Rosemary Remembered today. Time to order in the next one. I would like to read them in order, much less confusing that way! 

I also picked up Steve Berry’s new novel, The Lincoln Myth. I had a lot going on this year and am only planning to actually start it today. I’ve read several of his novels and they always keep me interested the entire way through.  

There is nothing worse than being excited about a book and having it not live up to your expectations. This year I had three! The first was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I just could not get into it. My girls loved it. They could not put it down. I could not wait to put it down and sadly I have to admit, I did not even finish it.  

The second was more my fault than the author. I should know by now never to actually attempt to read a Stephen King novel after Hollywood has touched it. I liked the show Under the Dome. I liked the characters. But the book is so different than the movie. I could not keep things straight. I think had I read the book first I would have loved it. 

Finally, I used to really enjoy reading the Scarpetta Novels by Patricia Cornwell. This was perhaps more of a disappointment that the other two books because there was no movie to have “ruined” it and I had enjoyed previous books in the series. This one … was like someone else wrote it and simply signed Cornwell’s name. It dragged. It lacked any adrenaline that one normally feels while reading a murder mystery. It just … lacked. 

So what’s on my reading list for this year?
First and foremost to finally relax and read Berry’s The Lincoln Myth. I would also like to read the next novel in the China Bayles Series. That would be Rueful Death, I do believe. I also have several history and non fiction books that have been sitting on my bookshelf waiting for way too long now. 

Happy reads! 

Books Mentioned:
Berry, Steve. The Lincoln Myth. New York: Ballantine Books, 2014.

Chomsky, Aviva. Undocumented How Immigration Became Illegal. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. 

Cornwell, Patricia. Red Mist. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. 

King, Stephen. Under the Dome. New York: Gallery Books, 2009. 

Wittig Albert, Susan. Rosemary Remembered. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 1995. 

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2005.
 
 
C. 2014, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman