The Best Books I Read in 2014

During law school I thought maybe I'd never want to read for pleasure again - my brain was so tired of consuming words on a page. I'm so glad I was wrong. It took a little while to get back into the habit, but I'm deep in now. And 2014 was a good year for it. Here were my favorite reads last year: 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Adichie's epic tale had me captivated from the very beginning. She weaves together the personal and the political and cultural masterfully, making this book touching, funny, and thought-provoking. When I finished, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a new and delightful friend. Goes into my top 10 books ever.

Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walters 

A beautiful set of interwoven stories about the power - and the limitations - of the human spirit. Walters has created a cast of touchingly real characters and sewn their lives together across time and space in such a moving way that finishing the book left me in tears at the gift of human connection.

The Signature of All Things*
Elizabeth Gilbert

A beautiful Jane Austen-esque journey through the life of brilliant and unconventional Alma Whitaker. The novel's scope could be described as epic - covering two generations, as well as topics ranging from women and sexuality to faith and science. Gilbert created likable characters and kept my interest. My single quibble with the book was in the ending, which I won't spoil. Even with my dissatisfaction in the final pages, I'd recommend the book to anyone looking for an engrossing, enjoyable read.

The Orphan Master's Son
Adam Johnson

A thought-provoking and captivating glimpse into a country that most of us know very little about. I rushed to read interviews with Adam Johnson after I finished so that I could understand how much of what I read was based in truth and how much in fiction. Simultaneously devastating and inspiring, Johnson created believable characters and kept me guessing to the end.

Tiny Beautiful Things
Cheryl Strayed 

There is much to cry over, laugh about, and connect with in the letters sent to Sugar through the years that she kept her column at The Rumpus. Strayed's compassion and insight into the human condition rival any self-help book out there. But she beats them all with her eloquence and wit. This is one to read over and over and over again.

I Know This Much is True
Wally Lamb 

I blame Mr. Lamb for many sink-fulls of dirty dishes, unswept floors, and dinners eaten directly from the pantry. I Know This Much Is True kept me firmly in its grip from the very beginning until the very end - and beyond. After turning that last page, Dominick and Ray and Lisa Sheffer and Ralph and all the others stayed in my head, acting as the lenses through which I viewed everything in my life for weeks afterward.

What were your favorite books in 2014? Please share - I always love adding good ones to the list!

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*Listened to audiobook on Audible.