This is the hardest Top 5 Wednesday category I’ve had to do, hence why I am sat here writing it on Monday so that I have time to change my mind! 2014 was the year where I really got back into reading, having not read regularly since I was in primary school. Therefore, this year, I was reading all of the previously released popular books, as well as the new releases for the year. It was incredibly hard to narrow it down to 5, but I have 5 – whether or not I change my mind remains to be seen! (update: I didn’t!)
This will also be a taster to my ‘Top 14 Books of 2014’, as all of these will obviously feature on that list. That post will probably go up on New Year’s Day, as I am still reading books, and I would not like to write it and post it, then finish something that may well go on the list, so you can take this as a glimpse as to what my ‘Top 14’ will contain! It ruins the surprise ever so slightly, but oh well. As with my ‘Top 14 of 2014’, I will be saying that only one book per series can feature on the list. I will say that this list surprised me quite a lot, as for someone who is not a huge fan of contemporaries, there are quite a few on here! It just goes to show, if a book is done right, it doesn’t matter what genre it is, it is purely a good book.
5. ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Cecelia Ahern
Read – 24th October
I picked up this book because I intended to see the film, ‘Love, Rosie’, as it starred Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. I never did see the film, but it didn’t matter in the end, as the book was so brilliant. It is a pretty large book (at 585 pages, HarperCollins UK) so I was rather put off starting it – as I often am with larger books – because I like to fly through my books in a day or two, and I assumed I wouldn’t do so with this. I was wrong. Written in epistolary form, I flew through this book in two evenings, and I loved every word of it. Centred around two best friends, Rosie and Alex, and their will-they?-won’t-they? relationship, I quickly fell in love with Cecelia Ahern’s writing and characters, and at the same time gained a whole no appreciation of adult romances, which I now accept that I love a lot more than YA contemporary romances (which I still cannot tolerate). I cried multiple times throughout the book, and the story felt incredibly cute yet believable. It was this book which made Ahern one of my favourite authors, and gave me a whole new respect for adult contemporary romance books which I never had before.
4. ‘Looking For Alaska’ by John Green
Read – 30th July
This was the year when I finally became aware of John Green. A little late, I know. However, between May and September, I read every John Green book, and fell in love with his writing. I had to conclude that ‘Looking For Alaska’ was my favourite. This book felt slightly darker than his other books for me, even ‘The Fault in our Stars’. There was also a lot of philosophical undertones and questions, which I am very fond of in any book. I love the anticipation as it counts down to the ‘event’ and the mystery it evoked. The romance is not ideal or cutesy like it is in most YA contemporaries (which obviously satisfied me), and I just found this book a lot more enjoyable than the majority of YA contemporaries I have read and not enjoyed.
3. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
Read – 16th June
This is the most relatable book I have ever read. Cath’s journey meant a lot to me, as I’m sure it would anybody who seemingly dedicates their life to reading and writing. I read this whilst in hospital after a pretty big operation, and I found that it cheered me up immensely. I could identify with Cath more so than I have done any other protagonist, Reagan made me laugh hysterically, and Levi is essentially the perfect love interest (such a shame I am yet to come across anyone like Levi, and doubt I ever will).This book was a light read that, despite it being a pretty easy read, means a lot to so many people. Rainbow Rowell’s writing in this book was fantastic, and it made me want to read something else by her (so I picked up ‘Eleanor and Park’, which is one of my least favourite reads of the year, and certainly the biggest disappointment). I do not reread very often, but this book is definitely one I can see myself enjoying time and time again.
2. ‘Crown of Midnight’ by Sarah J. Maas
Read – 8th September
As a person who much prefers fantasy to contemporary, I am surprised that this is the only fantasy book on this top 5. Ten, I factor in that I am only allowing one book from a series and I realise that ‘Throne of Glass’ would definitely be joining ‘Crown of Midnight’ on this list if it could. Maas’s ‘Throne of Glass’ series has been the series which I have gotten into the most since I began reading regularly again. It joins the likes of my childhood favourites ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Cherub’ as my most anticipated and best-loved series. This series is surrounded by hype, and I was beginning to think that it would disappoint me. I received ‘Throne of Glass’ for my birthday and jumped into it almost immediately. It did not take long for me to fall completely in love with this world and its characters (Chaol!). ‘Crown of Midnight’ topped its predecessor for me, and is to this date my favourite of the three (four if you include the novella bind-up), as ‘Heir of Fire’ was a little bit of a disappointment – it was still 5 stars, but it is the only one of the three book not on my favourites list, and it was more a 4.5 that a solid 5. Saying that, the fourth book in this series is quite possibly my most anticipated release, and I am so excited to continue on with what has become one of my favourite series of all time.
1. ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon
Read – 1st July
This is easily the most powerful book I have ever read, and it means such a lot to me. Written from the point of view of a boy with Asperger’s, this book follows his attempts to understand the world and make significant breakthroughs as a person. Autism spectrum disorders play a significant role in my life, yet it is something that while I know a lot about, I always wonder how it feels to be that sufferer. Of course, as Mark Haddon himself does not suffer from Asperger’s, his take cannot be perceived as perfect, but I feel that he does a wonderful job in describing the mannerisms and thought processes of such a person, and I feel like this strikes a chord with people acutely aware of autism spectrum disorders and not. Some of the stories that the other characters divulge, especially the mother’s story about coping, really hit home to me, and there were many times when I was in floods during this book, both as it was so poignant and as it really rang true to me. The last line of this book has to be one of my favourite lines of all time, and there are times when it just crosses my mind spontaneously and makes me want to both weep a little and smile from ear to ear. I’m clearly a sucker for punishment, as I saw it at the theatre and cried more. This book is a must-read for teens and adults alike. Any book that affects me in the way that this did is clearly a winner, and I cannot imagine having any other book at the top of my list.
That rounds up my Top 5 Books I Read This Year (and gives away my top 5 for my ‘Top 14 of 2014’). There were so many other books that nearly made this list, and all will be revealed in my ‘Top 14’. I firmly recommend every book on here (although you’ll have to read ‘Throne of Glass’ before ‘Crown of Midnight’!) and I am intrigued to see other people’s Top 5’s. Hopefully everyone has found 5 books they read this year that they loved as much as I did these.
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