Favorite Books from the First Half of 2014 – Twitterature-Style

The year is more than half over, so it’s a perfect time to look back at the best books of 2014. Links go to my reviews if I’ve published one, or to Amazon if I haven’t.

Nonfiction

Women Heroes of World War IIWomen Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood

Fascinating look at women who worked to defeat the Nazis in various ways. I’m about to start her similar book focusing on World War IWomen Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (Women of Action) by Kathryn Atwood, and I’ve got high hopes for it.

Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Gripping account, and I loved the emphasis this account gives to the Sherpa climbers.

Frozen in TimeFrozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff

Compelling look at both the historical events, and the modern search. If you don’t already know the outcome, try not to spoil yourself by searching online for details.

Mastering the Art of French EatingMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah

If you love food memoirs, this is a phenomenal one. And if you think you don’t like food memoirs, this one might change your mind.

The Professor and the MadmanThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester by Simon Winchester

Yes, it’s an account about the writing of the dictionary, but don’t let that stop you from trying this fascinating tale. A great book club pick too!

And a Runner-Up:
Courage Has No ColorCourage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

Written for kids, this is still worth reading by adults, and missed being one of my absolute favorites only because the lack of depth kept me wanting a bit more.

Fiction

Velma Still Cooks in LeewayVelma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

Loved the story-telling, loved Velma, loved it all, even though it made me cry.

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Follows Morton’s typical pattern for her novels – alternating story lines between historic and contemporary events; a mystery; strong, well-developed female characters. Just because it’s her sort of book doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading – it was terrific.

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner by Wallace Stegner

Another great book club pick, with my full review publishing tomorrow (it’s now published!). Slow start but oh so worth reading.

The Paradox Series by Rachel Bach – œFortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1) by Rachel BachFortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s QueenHeaven's Queen (Paradox Book 3) by Rachel Bach

The series that convinced me I might like science fiction.

And a Runner-Up:
The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Not at all what I was expecting, but oddly fascinating. I read it in one night, staying up way past bedtime because I couldn’t put it down.

Young Adult/Juvenile Titles

CressCressCress (Lunar Chronicles book 3) by Marissa Meyer reviewed by @SheilaRCraig by Marissa Meyer

Love this fantasy series so much – the fairy-tale retellings are well done, and she’s got me so hooked on the story I can hardly wait for the final book to come out next year.

Princess AcademyPrincess AcademyPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale by Shannon Hale

Fun fantasy story, and one of these days I will finish the sequel.

The Queen of AttoliaQueen of AttoliaThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) by Megan Whalen Turner and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Books 2 and 3 in a series, and it has been so enjoyable. I’m intentionally waiting to read book 4, because I want to savor the anticipation a little bit longer. Another one for fantasy fans.

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hard to read because of the subject matter, but she is such a wonderful writer.

And a Runner-Up:
Jenny of the TetonsJenny of the TetonsJenny of the Tetons (Great Episodes) by Kristiana Gregory by Kristiana Gregory

Based on a true story, I wanted more from this account, but what is there is compelling historical fiction.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

recent cookbook reads, twitterature-style

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Comments

  1. I am totally obsessed with the Lunar Chronicles books, too. Winter!! We need you!

    And now I know I MUST read Mastering the Art of French Eating. Although I’m afraid it may make me want to book a trip to Europe.

    • I know! It seems like I’m usually late to series so I don’t have the anxious wait for the next installment – there are some definite advantages to reading that way! Now the wait just seems endless…

      Yes you need to read that book – it was sooooo good. But, yes, it likely will, especially the one dish that is impossible to recreate in the US because the right kind of cheese can’t be obtained here. Those pesky food regulations.

  2. Wow, so much good stuff here. Mountains and WWII are two of my very favorite reading subjects.

  3. Oh, the Women Heroes of WWII looks great! Off to see if my library has it…

  4. What a cool list. Such variety. Oxford Dictionary and murder?? Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’ve got Crossing to Safety on my nightstand, ready to start! Good to know about it being slow at the beginning, I get pretty impatient with books like that but I will stick it out!

  6. You read such a fun and amazing array of books. I always love to see what you have been reading, so this list is gold.

  7. Thanks for picking my book as one of your favorites! Writing BURIED IN THE SKY, I had no idea whether anyone would actually read it — I’d never written a book before and wondered whether I could do it — so it means a lot to me to see it on a list like this. Those other books look like good ones, too.

    My favorite book of the year? Probably THE SIXTH EXTINCTION by Elizabeth Kolbert.
    -Peter Zuckerman, Portland, Ore.

    • I had to go and look up the Kolbert book as the title wasn’t familiar. I’m intrigued by it and may see if my library has a copy.

      Now I’m just waiting to hear about your next book. 🙂

  8. I need to read Buried in the Sky, because I love that genre. You’ve convinced me: I added Mastering the Art of French Eating to my list. And you’ll be happy to hear I now have my own copy of Cinder. 🙂

    (Loved your full review of Crossing to Safety! I love that book.)

    • I think you’ll really like both Buried in the Sky and Mastering the Art of French Eating. I’m not so sure how you’ll like Cinder – haven’t heard much about your taste for that sort of book. 🙂

      Your feelings about Crossing to Safety played a large role in it becoming a book club selection. 🙂

  9. I have recently read The Invention of Wings and also Unbroken – the story of Louie Zamperini and enjoyed them both.

    • I haven’t read The Invention of Wings (although I’ve heard great things about it; you’re just adding to the praise), but Unbroken was one of my favorite books from last year. Such an amazing story, and so well written.

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