READING: Reading Challenge 2014 Book Ratings

A follow-up to my 2014 reading wrap-up, here’s a best-to-worst list of all 56 books I read last year…

  1. Daniel Price‘s The Flight of the Silvers
  2. Rainbow Rowell‘s Eleanor & Park
  3. Andy Weir‘s The Martian
  4. Ginn Hale‘s Lord of the White Hell (pts. 1 & 2)
  5. Neil Gaiman‘s The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  6. Amanda Palmer‘s The Art of Asking
  7. Edan Lepucki‘s California
  8. Rainbow Rowell‘s Fangirl
  9. Khaled Hosseini‘s And the Mountains Echoed
  10. Sarah Waters‘ Fingersmith
  11. Ann Leckie‘s Ancillary Justice
  12. Pierce Brown‘s Red Rising
  13. Lynn Flewelling‘s Luck in the Shadows
  14. Shyam Selvadurai‘s The Hungry Ghosts
  15. John Green‘s The Fault in Our Stars
  16. Jeff VanderMeer‘s Annihilation
  17. Tina Fey‘s Bossypants
  18. Ernest Cline‘s Ready Player One
  19. George Pendle‘s Death: A Life
  20. Nnedi Okorafor‘s Who Fears Death
  21. Lynn Flewelling‘s Stalking Darkness
  22. Marisha Pessl‘s Night Film
  23. Gillian Flynn‘s Dark Places
  24. Ian Tregillis‘s Something More than Night
  25. David Nickle‘s Monstrous Affections
  26. Rainbow Rowell‘s Landline
  27. Matthew Olshan‘s Marshlands
  28. Benjamin Alire Saenz‘s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  29. Amy Poehler‘s Yes Please
  30. Holly Black‘s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
  31. Lynn Flewelling‘s Traitor’s Moon
  32. Ginn Hale‘s The Rifter Book One: The Shattered Gates
  33. Claire North‘s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
  34. Alex London‘s Proxy
  35. Lauren Beukes‘s The Shining Girls
  36. Jenny Lawson‘s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  37. Ginn Hale‘s Wicked Gentlemen
  38. Sarah Jane Unsworth‘s Animals
  39. Anne Godbersen‘s The Blonde
  40. Jeff VanderMeer‘s Authority
  41. Sarah Beth Durst‘s The Lost
  42. Oscar Wilde‘s The Picture of Dorian Grey
  43. John Green & David Levithan‘s Will Grayson, Will Grayson
  44. Charles Yu‘s How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe
  45. James S.A. Corey‘s Leviathan Wakes
  46. Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham‘s Veronica Mars: Thousand Dollar Tan Line
  47. Meg Wolitzer‘s The Interestings
  48. Anthony De Sa‘s Kicking the Sky
  49. M.D. WatersArchetype
  50. Megan Abbott‘s The Fever
  51. Jesse Andrews‘ Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  52. Sarah Tregay‘s Fan Art
  53. Alex London‘s Guardian (Proxy 2)
  54. Jennifer Egan‘s Look At Me
  55. Lauren Owen‘s The Quick

A special how did I not throw this book across the room mention to the final three books on this list: Guardian, which was so dull it almost retroactively ruined the charming ProxyLook At Me, which I almost wished was more consistently terrible so I could have tossed it aside mid-read without worrying that I was missing out; and The Quick, which broke my heart: after a solid, interesting opening 100 pages that got me excited for the book, it spent 400 pages doing nothing, going nowhere with a cast of thousands of nobody I was particularly interested in.

As for the rest…

I’d class the top 5 as absolutely loved them, with Daniel Price‘s submline adventure The Flight of the Silvers top of the list for fun, flawed characters and an excellent, fantastically-paced story. All five of these books  – The Flight of the Silvers, Eleanor and Park, The Martian, Lord of the White Hell, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, will be entering my personal pantheon of favourite books hereafter.

After that, 6-19 would also be loved them. While not as head-over-heels, each of these books blew me away, from Amanda Palmer‘s treatise on art & generosity The Art of Asking, to tearjerker And the Mountains Echoed, to the fever dream of Annihiliation and on to the wit and fun of Death: A Life. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these to a friend.

I’d say 20-39 would be my awesome, buts. All of these are great books that, usually for a specific reason, I didn’t connect to as much – or books elevated by one particularly strong element. For example, Who Fears Death, which is a phenomenally realised and gorgeously written fantasy that I felt always held me at arm’s length; Night Film, with it’s beautifully evocative world and it’s dull as dust protagonist; Dark Places elevated by moving supporting character Patty Day; and Proxy‘s endlessly fun central dynamic wrapped in only decent prose.

40-49 were the pretty goods. Without the distinctive elements that elevated the above, these were generally enjoyable books with generally enjoyable protagonists. Three years from now I probably won’t remember these ones.

50-52 were okay. Decently-written but kind of tedious, even with some interesting ideas or dynamics baked into them. These were a bit of a push to finish.

53-55 were, as noted above, not good.

 

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