What I read in 2014

2014 wasn’t a particularly big year for my library, but it is the first year I kept track of all of the books I read for pleasure, reproduced here in the order I consumed them:

  1. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners #1)
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #1)
  3. The Calling by Robert Swartwood
  4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)
  5. Allegient by Veronica (Divergent #3, finished the same day)
  6. Steps by Jerzy Kosinski (National book award-winner…in 1969)
  7. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  8. Canticle by Ken Scholes (Psalms of Isaak #2)
  9. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (a completely epistolary novel, rare form)
  10. Antiphon by Ken Scholes (Psalms of Isaak #3)
  11. The White Coat Investor by James Dahle MD (Basic financial literacy for physicians)
  12. Legion by Robert Swartwood
  13. The Dishonored Dead by Robert Swartwood (a highly unusual Zombie thriller)
  14. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day 1)
  15. Requiem by Ken Scholes (Psalms of Isaak #4)
  16. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day 2)
  17. A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Fire and Ice #5)
  18. Maze Runner by James Dashner (Maze Runner #1)
  19. Cod by Mark Kurlansky (the spiritual prequel to Salt; that’s right, history through fish!)
  20. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Maze Runner #2)
  21. The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maze Runner #3)
  22. The Kill Order by James Dashner (Maze Runner Prequel)
  23. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller side-novella)
  24. Light Boxes by Shane Jones
  25. Stiff by Mary Roach (cadavers do more than just get dissected, though that happens too)

Binge-reading young adult mega-hits over the course of a weekend off seemed to predominate interspersed with lengthy epic fantasy. For the record, the Maze Runner series isn’t as strong as either Hunger Games or Divergent. And truthfully, the weak third book in each of those trilogies almost ruins those series as well. Still can’t wait for Rothfuss to finish the Kingkiller trilogy; I almost wish I hadn’t already read the first entry so that I wouldn’t need to wait for the final/third book to come out!


Patrick 01.15.15 Reply

Any you totally loved, and would say are must-reads? :-)

Ben 01.15.15 Reply

For genre, I really loved Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller series (2 out of the 3 are out), The Name of the Wind is the first. Probably my favorite new fantasy series since Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. Ken Schole’s series is also a unique entry within the fantasy setting and comes recommended, though as we head towards the climactic final volume I’m just hoping he can pull it together.

The first Divergent book, like the first Hunger Games, is probably about as good as the dystopian young adult pseudo-romance genre can get it. Unfortunately the series suffers as Roth tries to raise the stakes with each successive volume (i.e. the same problem with Mockingjay). My wife almost didn’t finish the third book.

For literature, Steps is a great, disturbing, weird collection of vignettes and comes highly recommended for people who like microfiction and very short stories. And anything by David Mitchell is good.

For nonfiction, both Salt and Cod are fascinating pop-histories. Stiff held a little less mystique for me personally as a physician but otherwise would probably be truly fascinating.

Patrick 01.19.15 Reply

Great (mini) reviews! Now I’m going to have check out some of these. Thanks, dude! :)

Laura 04.13.15 Reply

Gilead stuck out like a 6th toe on your list but if you liked it you need to read Lila. Better yet, listen to it on audio. I did that & then went back & reread Gilead.

Ben 04.14.15 Reply

It certainly does, it’s true. Especially without Steps and Light Boxes (my tastes were historically more refined prior to residency). I do need to read Home and Lila to finish out the trilogy, thanks for the idea.

Jessica 04.16.15 Reply

Hi Ben,

I’ve been on a young adult kick for a while and I’ve read some of the same series. One series I recommend is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

Ben 04.18.15 Reply

Interesting premise. I’ll try to check it out, thanks!

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