6 January 2015

End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition

In the spirit of the New Year, I couldn't resist repeating this post from last year when I spied it on Bailie's blog. As she's got such great taste I couldn't hold out from borrowing her version of the end of year book survey. Actually, it's partially her fault I have so many books...

PS: Amazon are doing LOADS of sale books, both kindle and proper at the moment so if you enjoy reading, go nuts. I won't tell anyone if you don't tell my husband that I'm doing the same...

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Like last year I actually can't pick this. Call me a coward, but I read so many wonderful books that shared "...years of writing, experience and the author's deep desire to put a portion of themselves plus the aspects of humanity they admire, hate, aspire to, condemn, onto paper or a screen." +denise greenwood

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
A curious history of food & drink, Ian Crofton. Ever wondered where noodles came from? How Worcester Sauce was invented? Or even who the 'Cucumber King of Burma' was? I did. The book was good, but it didn't blow my socks off.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2014?
The Forgotten Seamstress - On the brink of both a personal and work crisis, Carolyn Meadows discovers a quilt in her Mother's attic from her childhood. She discovers that every stitch of embroidery, every thread of fabric is impregnated with the poignant story of Maria Romano; an East End orphan from a young age, brought up in a workhouse and ripe with stories of Buckingham Palace, royalty, illegal adoption and war. Is it all true? Are they simply wild fantasies of a madwoman locked away in an asylum?

4. Book you read in 2014 that you recommended to people most in 2015?
Ozzy Osbourne's memoir is one of the funniest books I have ever read. If anyone ever asks me for a recommendation that puts a smile on their face, the first book that comes to mind is the surprisingly well written eccentric chaos that is "I Am Ozzy".
5. Best series you discovered in 2014?
The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare. An intriguing mix of fantasy, the supernatural, Victorian values and modern paradoxes.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
Ian Spragg - From ghost stories to weird items left behind on trains (more mannequins than you can shake a stick at), London Underground's Strangest Tales is a light read, an easily dip in and out collection loosely charting the history - real and urban fiction - of the Tube. We've used it as a reference book a few the times that we've been stuck out at an obscure train stop in order to entertain ourselves, and as a guide whilst traipsing around London.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Drinking goat's milk in a yurt, a collection of short stories edited by Monica Nebol. Many stories are flights of fancy, conjouring fantastical narratives that may never happen. On a cold windy day in London, I found myself drawn into the rich exotic maelstrom that is life as an expat in Kazakhstan.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2014?
My passport. Is that geeky?

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
This is the same as last year - everything by Terry Pratchett. No matter how bad a day I'm having, his writing always makes me smile. I adore his footnotes.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
The gorgeous thriller The Haiku Murder by Fran Pickering. Simply glorious!

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Tessa from the Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare. She was an intriguing mix of Victorian values and modern paradoxes.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
84 Charing Cross Road journals the letter exchange of Helene Hanff, a poor New York script writer, and a bookstore employee Frank Doel working for Marks & Co. a secondhand bookseller in London. The book is a heartwarming narrative of their friendship all the while an ocean apart, of 20 years.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2014?
I knew I'd cry. She was an ordinary little girl, living through an extraordinarily difficult situation where one wrong step at the wrong time could cost the lives of her whole family. Furthermore, visiting Anne Frank's home in Amsterdam only served to further emphasise the effect this small girl has had on the world.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Picture of Dorian Grey, Oscar Wilde. The classic tale of narcissism, casual cruelty and karma.

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
""Snapshots, moments, mere seconds: as fragile and beautiful and hopeless as a single butterfly, flapping on against a gathering wind." 

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
The shortest will be Drinking goat's milk in a yurt, a collection of short stories edited by Monica Nebol, and the longest will the monolithic The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?

My heart was broken by a weathered, whiskery old Sailor. His name was Simon, and served gallantly aboard the HMS Amethyst at times under heavy fire in turbulent seas during World War II. 

Infernal Devices Series - Cassandra Clare - Adventures of a London Kiwi

18. Favourite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2014
Running through all the maelstrom of 'owning' 7 cats, is the heartbreaking story of Tom Cox's long and chequered relationship with The Bear, his oldest cat: a "painfully sensitive" survivor moggy who may or may not be an evil genius. 

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.

20. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else
Hands down this has to be The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; recommended to me by the lovely Jess, no doubt helped by our recent explorations of Amsterdam, the author weaves a spellbinding tale of obsession, love, retribution and tiptoes on the darker side of life.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2014?
Again, like last year it's Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Classics probably in that order. Oh, and foodie books.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
We've very luckily been to quite a few countries in the last few years, and during that time, we've whittled down our favourites. Travel guides, we've tried a few. But there are one or two brands that seem to hold their place in our luggage. This book simply a gate-way drug to wanderlust and travel crushes. Yep, you read that right. Don't download this unless you want to be tempted into booking a fabulous holiday somewhere exotic.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
The Cherry Blossom Murder, Fran Pickering When Tokyo-based Londoner Josie finds a body under the cherry blossom, she sets out to track down the killer.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2014?
Well, technically this is cheating, but watching To Kill a Mockingbird on the Regents Open Air Theatre was hauntingly delicious. Clever, clever choreography, odes directly to the text, engaging actors, a fantastically simple set - no wonder they have had rave reviews. Whilst we were there we noticed several school groups, learning viscerally rather than through ink and page; oh to have had that opportunity as a kid.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2014?

The latest Rivers of London series installation - Foxglove Summer.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Again, it's the The Forgotten Seamstress - On the brink of both a personal and work crisis, Carolyn Meadows discovers a quilt in her Mother's attic from her childhood. She discovers that every stitch of embroidery, every thread of fabric is impregnated with the poignant story of Maria Romano; an East End orphan from a young age, brought up in a workhouse and ripe with stories of Buckingham Palace, royalty, illegal adoption and war. Is it all true? Are they simply wild fantasies of a madwoman locked away in an asylum?

27. Book You Read in 2014 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
The premise is that an ex-teacher, turned reviewer finds a mysterious disposable camera in a restaurant on Charlotte Street. Chaos ensues as he tries to match up the camera via it's contents with the lost owner. This is a humourous, quite pithy tale about friendship, romance and making sure you give life a real go.

28. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I joined a book club, I've well on the way to reading 60 of the BBC's top 100 books, and I've finished reading critically 5 foodie books, learning SO much on the journey.

29. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What was your standout book or reading experience this past year?
What book are you reading right now?
Did you try any new genres?


  1. I could reread terry pratchett until the end of time and not get bored! x

  2. You've done so well, I used to read so much before my addiction to social media significantly reduced my attention span and now I can only read 140 characters at a time...seriously though, great list...I'm going to have to get some recommendations from you and get back on the band wagon. Dorian Gray is one of my all time faves!

    Lots of love,


    SilverSpoon London

  3. So many great book recommendations on here! A goal for the new year for me is to read more so I will be most definitely using this post to find some new books to add to my list!

  4. Lots of love for the cats in there.. look on amazon for Derek Longden 'the cat that came in from the cold, I think it is no longer printed (?) but there are usually second hand versions there!

  5. Thrilled to see Josie Clark made the cut!

  6. This is an incredible list! You're quite the reader - my favorite was the shoutout to your passport for most thrilling read hahaha We are responsible for our own adventures.

  7. Very very interesting to read - might take note of a few of these for sure :)

  8. Definitely not geeky that's an impressive passport. Lot's of inspiration here for me for this year. I devoured a disgusting amount of teen dystopian novels last year. Non of which really worth much of a mention.

  9. Thanks for this collection..hope i might as well find something interesting in it..

    Turkey Tour Packages

  10. I listed a few favorites for 2014 on my blog, but none of them compares to my favorite of 2013, which was The Time Traveler's Wife. Such an amazing story, and beautifully written! I'm hoping that 2015 will be a great year in books, especially since I set my goal for the Goodreads Reading Challenge at 50!
    The first book I read this month was one from the Anita Blake – I needed something fun and uncomplicated to unplug from the post-holiday exhaustion, but even then, it was a disappointment. I think I am done with that series.
    Right now I have a few going at once, as one is a photography idea book, which is the kind of thing you browse while sitting on the sofa; one is Eat The Yolks, which is a very good non-fiction book debunking a lot of the nutrition myths we have been force-fed in the past 4 years; and the last one is The Void, which is the last book in a trilogy I started in 2014.

    Other books on my reading list for this year are The Maze Runner, The Paleo Approach (which looks like a great read for anyone with an autoimmune disorder) and Sense and Sensibility. The rest I'll pick as I go along :-)

  11. There's always something new & wonderful to find!

  12. Uh oh, the dark side of blogging strikes! I have to admit that Twitter seriously impairs my book time (but luckily 2 30-hour flights fixed that well & truly!)

  13. I'd love new suggestions as well - what can I say, books are my jam!

  14. One may have done an Amazon ebook search on your recommendation and is now eagerly awaiting a spare chance to read said download...
    Thank you!!

  15. I'm a bit of a book addict it must be said! It is a definite upside to London commuting...!

  16. I picked up a few as well funnily - the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, the Slated trilogy by Teri Terry & Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman but wasn't really sure whether or how to write about them?

  17. Good luck with your goal - I know you can do it!!
    I hear ya on the Anita Blake series, it was good to start with but just got meh!

  18. What a brilliant list! Oh that i had the time to do one of my own! I finally read Requiem this holiday and loved it as much as the other two.

  19. It was so much funny piecing it together again this year!

  20. Ahhh I am so happy to inspire book buying and talking and all things books!!!!!


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