I confess. I read. A lot. Setting annual goals for my reading has been something I’ve been doing for a few years now, and it’s helped me immensely to increase my already sky-high numbers. (Last year I read 200 books).
But in all those books, how many novels did I actually read? Less than 15. The truth is that although I like reading novels, I don’t make much time for them, instead tending towards nonfiction memoir and business books more often than not. In 2014, I’m dedicating myself to trying my hand at a few more novels. Good ones. Ones that come highly recommended. Ones that really are life-changing.
Here are the five top novels on my list of to-reads, or my list of recent reads. All are relatively new novels, and all are novels that have topped chart after chart of must-reads — for a reason. They are all spectacular, and all should be on every shelf. If you only read 5 novels in 2014, let them be these.
My mother told me I would love this book. When I saw it was 750 pages, I asked, “Will I love 750 pages worth?” The answer is yes. Reminding me of Incredibly Loud and Incredibly Close in some ways — as it begins with the tale of a precocious New York boy, the tale weaves a sweet, inventively created drama mixing tears and laughter in one fell swoop. For good reason, it’s inspired a more than cult-sized following.
One of the most unputdownable books I’ve read in a long time, this tale of suspense literally flies by (despite the lofty page count), and leaves you wanting more. I can’t wait to see how Ben Affleck fares in the movie.
There is laughing, and then there is laughing. This book, which I read last month, had me laughing (the latter). On the floor. On any semi-vertical surface I could find. When I found out later that the author was a screenwriter for such awesome programs as Arrested Development and Mad About You, it all became clear. This hysterical (did I mention this book was funny?) tale of privileged Seattle life is one that anyone will find hard to put down.
Although Elizabeth Gilbert has written a host of books in her time, most know her only for Eat, Pray, Love, her memoir of reinventing her life on an around-the-world journey after a painful divorce. The Signature of All Things is her first novel since Eat, Pray, Love and its sequel, and it’s an amazing tour de force, sharing the 19th century story of an extraordinary female botanist. I loved this book, and found myself drawn in more and more with every passing page. Another long read, and one well worth it.
I have long been a fan of Sue Monk Kidd, and both her novels and nonfiction have kept me awake at night, turning pages ferociously. Although I haven’t yet read this NYT bestseller, it’s top on my list of to-read novels, telling the story of a wealthy Charleston girl who grows up to be a prominent abolitionist.
So, are there any novels in 2014 you would add to this list?