2014 Reading Year in Review

So this is kind of depressing: I just re-read my Reading Year in Review post for 2013, and it’s pretty much exactly what I was going to write this year. I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to, and I didn’t love a lot of the books I did read. Same thing, different year. Last year, I said that “wasn’t blown away by a lot of what I read”, and resolved to be more selective this year. I think I was pretty selective this year, but I still didn’t love a lot of the books I chose. As I said last year, I think I am too picky, or grumpy, or both.

Last year, I read 49 books, which I was bummed about because I wanted to hit 50. In 2014, I fell short again. November and December were particularly slow for me, due to being really busy and getting mired in The Art of Fielding. I managed to get to 48 books, which is one shy of last year. 2015: I will reach 52! A book a week!

Here are my standout reads from 2014:

Best audiobooks were Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (read by the author) and The Blessings by Elise Juska (read by Therese Plummer).

Most disappointing books: To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and Lucky Us by Amy Bloom.

Most creative read goes to One More Thing by BJ Novak.

For the last three years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2014: infertility, loss of a child (three times), giving up a child for adoption (twice), agoraphobia, infidelity, loss of a spouse in Iraq, being a widower, latchkey childhood, Japanese internment, PTSD, untimely death of a spouse, grief in general, abusive parents, arson (twice!), Brooklyn parenting, Iraq war casualties, dystopia, Holocaust reparations, loss of a parent, Puritanism, cerebral palsy, death from AIDS, suicide. That was actually a lighter year than 2013…

The breakdown:

  • 43 fiction, 5 non-fiction
  • 8 repeat authors during 2014: Maria Semple, Maggie Shipstead, Ann Hood, Sarah Pekkanen, Sue Miller, Joshua Ferris, Jojo Moyes, Jane Smiley
  • 16 audiobooks
  • 11 male authors, 37 female authors

How was your 2014 in reading? What were the highlights?


  • December 31, 2014 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    I seem to always fall short of my goal to not accept as many books for tours/reviews. I have a few books on my list for the first few months of 2015, but after that I will only accept books that I feel tugging at me to read. Hopefully I’ll stick to it this year.

    I borrowed Unremarried Widow from the library a few months ago but never got a chance to read it, so it’s back on my saved list.

    Good luck to you meeting your 52 book goal in 2015!

    I hope you and your family have a great New Year!

    • gayle
      January 7, 2015 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! Good luck to you too with your goals. I am finding that the mantra of “read what you want, when you want” really helps.

  • Diane@BibliophilebytheSea
    December 31, 2014 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t as wowed by the books I read this year either for some reason. Hope 2015 is better for us both.

    • gayle
      January 7, 2015 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Glad that I am not alone.

  • January 2, 2015 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t make goals … just meeting work and other obligations seems enough for me.

  • January 2, 2015 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I learned not to set reading goals or do challenges. It was too disappointing when I didn’t meet them. This year I read 74 which is the least amount of books I’ve read since I started reviewing. That surprised me.

    • gayle
      January 7, 2015 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I hope this year is more productive for both of us!

  • January 9, 2015 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I felt the same way about Rise Again! It made so many top lists and I couldn’t even finish it. Just goes to show the diversity of readers.

    I did not read Redployment but you’re the third blogger I’ve seen with it on their list so I need to get after it.

    As a couple of other comments have mentioned, I’m letting go of goals this year. Last year I read an insane amount of books and lost some of the joy because of it. I’m also learning that DNFing a book is not a bad thing. Life is too short if you’re not enjoying what you’re reading.

    • gayle
      January 13, 2015 - 12:28 am | Permalink

      Good advice. It’s important to keep the joy in it!

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