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.” 

Delirium, Lauren Oliver


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?

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