Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Reading Challenge Recap (Part 2)

And here we continue with my reading list for the 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. If you missed the explanation of the challenge, you can find it here.)

Here are the books that I read during the second half of last year:

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

This is an excellent book, but don't pick it up if you're looking for a quick read. You definitely want to take your time and savor it.

There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom, by Louis Sachar

This was a fun book to read with the kids. Sachar is not my favorite author of all time, but he is an entertaining story teller. (My main problem with him is that his writing style is a bit awkward at times. I found myself spontaneously editing from time to time, just to make the dialogue flow more comfortably.) But it definitely wasn't enough of a problem to keep me from reading more of his books.

No Talking, by Andrew Clements

This was another fun read with the kids, and I instantly became a big fan of Andrew Clements. He has a very realistic style that is easy to read, and he has the ability to tell a good story with a good lesson without being heavy-handed about it.

The Whole Truth, by David Baldacci

This wasn't my favorite Baldacci book ever, nor was it particularly memorable. It was fast-paced and entertaining, though, like his books usually are, so if you like him you'll probably enjoy it.

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

This is the 6th book in the King/Maxwell series. I haven't read all of them yet, but I have read several, and always enjoy them. I like the characters, and the way they interact. It always makes for a fun read.

Legend, by Marie Lu

I like YA novels, and I like dystopian novels, so I was bound to enjoy this one. And it definitely didn't disappoint. I found myself completely immersed in the story, and not wanting to let the characters go. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

I loved this book. It completely sucked me it to the story, and was very hard to put down. I spent the first part of the book alternating between "no way, he couldn't have" and "yeah, it's always the husband." The second part was mostly "wait - what?!!" and the third part was a bit of "wow, that's messed up." (On a side note, the movie was also very well done. I recommend both.)

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar

Another good one to read with the kids. It's in the same old slightly-awkward Sachar style, but other than that we all enjoyed it. The stories are silly, obviously, but it was always fun to watch the kids make the connections, and figure out why the silliness was important.

Wayside School is Falling Down, by Louis Sachar

Fortunately I bought these as a set, because the kids were ready to go right into the next one as soon as we finished the first.

Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, by Louis Sachar

Not necessarily as good as the first two, but still fun. The kids really enjoyed all three of them.

Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham

Like many people, I picked this up because I was a fan of Lauren Graham as an actress, and I was curious to see if she could write too. And also like many people, I wasn't disappointed. It's a really cute story (nothing earth-shattering or life-changing, necessarily, but cute.) The characters are likable, which makes their stories compelling. And there is plenty of the wit and whimsy that you would expect from someone like Graham.

Loser, by Jerry Spinelli

I immediately fell in love with the main character, and enjoyed every bit of his story (and instantly became a Jerry Spinelli fan.) The kids loved the story too, and often found the adventures laugh-out-loud funny. It was a great book to read with the kids, and made for some really interesting/thought-provoking discussions.

Holes, by Louis Sachar

This was probably my favorite of all the Sachar books we read this year. Setting my problems with his writing style aside, it was a really good story (for kids and adults.) I'm kind of sad that it took me so long to get around to reading it.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary

I loved it as a kid, and loved it just as much when I read it again with my kids. This was another time when it was a good thing that I picked up the whole set, because as soon as we finished this my kids were begging to move on to the next one. (We're in the middle of it right now.) I'm so glad that books like this are still around, and still just as popular as they were when I was a kid.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. It was beautifully written, with such wonderfully flawed and real characters that I couldn't help getting completely lost in their story (and didn't even mind the emotional roller coaster that it took me on.) This was a fantastic way to end the year, and I'm so glad that I finally got to read it.

And there we have it - my 2014 reading list. Please feel free to share your own thoughts. And remember that it's okay to disagree with my opinions. We all have our own tastes, and that's what makes life interesting. :)

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