Well, 2014 was actually a rather lackluster year where reading was concerned. There wasn't a whole lot to get me excited, and by the end of the year I had lost my passion for reading. I'm hoping to reignite the fire again. However here are the top five books I read in 2014:
journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your
understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl
Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son
is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned
as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari
as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl
temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world.
Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for
the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of
those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society
where women have almost no rights and little freedom.
The Underground Girls of Kabul is
anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life:
Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her
fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who
struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her
back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living
for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the
undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise
At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new
perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against
the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts,
the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but
who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty,
only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul
charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and
the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression
Fascinating, eye-opening and written with intelligent compassion, this nonfiction read is my top pick for the year. I really loved it!
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
#1 New York Times
bestselling novelist Greg Iles returns with his most eagerly anticipated
book yet, and his first in five years – Natchez Burning, the first
installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secret past
and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern mayor and
former prosecutor Penn Cage.
Although these books are listed in no particular order, this book was probably my second favorite of the year. While a hard read, it was still a fun read, and it made me go buy the first in the series!
Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes
A terrible loss. A desperate journey.
A mother seeks the truth.
In December of the year 1377, five children were
burned to death in a suspicious house fire. A small band of villagers
traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for
their children’s deaths.
Sinful Folk is the
story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has
lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in
this isolated village.
For years, she has concealed herself
and all her secrets. But in this journey, she will find the strength to
claim the promise of her past and find a new future. Mear begins her
journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.
A charming story with well-crafted characters in a bleak setting.
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Triumphant…Big, visceral, achingly humane." —Jennifer Egan
this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi
Kobayashi, child of Japan's New Empire, daughter of an ardent
expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a
March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm--an attack
that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in
ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi's old life will blur beyond
recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and
shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken
prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who
helped modernize Tokyo's prewar skyline but is now charged with
destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the
blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly,
each will shape Yoshi's journey as she seeks safety, love, and
A lovely literary creation about an ugly moment in time.
100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible by Stephen M. Miller
A bestselling author
tackles 100 tough questions both Christians and nonbelievers ask,
reporting popular viewpoints among biblical scholars and inviting you to
draw your own conclusions.
I thought the author did a great job at remaining unbiased in answering some tough and oftentimes controversial questions.
So those are my top picks for 2014. Here's hoping that 2015 is more literarily exciting!