I loved quite a few of the books I read in 2014, but I will only name the three that have quickly become my all time favourites. You should read all of them, of course (no, really). All three were published before 2014, I am still trying to catch up with everything that happened before last year – a hopeless endeavour, unless someone invents a time machine and immortality. If someone did, please give me money so I can read all the books. Anyway, let’s get started. As always, you can click on the pictures and it will take you right to the Goodreads page of that book.
Lady Susan by Jane Austen: I loved this! I have read the six novels by Jane Austen, and as the internet would say: Jane Austen is my bae. This shorter epistolary novel was so different from the ones I read before by Jane Austen and other authors of her time. And this is mainly because of her heroine: Lady Susan, who makes for an intriguing character.
Lady Susan Vernon is, for once, a character that is severely flawed, unlike other Austen heroines, who, of course not being perfect and having one or the other flaw to overcome, are overall quite well-behaved by the standards of their time, and are moral characters (or have developed more morals by the end of the novel).
Lady Susan on the other hand is doing the unspeakable – she’s a flirt and manhunter, plays with the affections of her admirers, manipulates them, and the only goal of her endeavours, after she is freshly widowed, is to secure a wealthy man for herself and her daughter (whom she doesn’t have much affection for). The daughter is the kind of heroine that, I think, you would usually find in an Austen novel, but here she is being tyrannised by her ambitious mother.
You can get through this novel very fast, it does not have many pages. It’s written in epistolary style – letters exchanged by characters, one of them of course Lady Susan. The reader gets an insight into how she is perceived by the letters of other family members, or the people she is staying with. If you like gossip, you will enjoy this novel! Also, if you want to read an unusual and intriguing, quick classic, this could be your pick.
Dune by Frank Herbert: What an epic piece of literature, this one really impressed me. I have read this twice, university be thanked, and it only got better. The world building in this novel is mind-blowing, I can never fathom how anyone could build such an extensive science-fiction universe, with so much history, so many cultures, myths and traditions.
This book follows our main protagonist Paul Atreides, whose House moves to Arrakis, also called Dune, a desert planet where water is scarce and the only resource is a spice called “melange”. This spice exists only on Dune and is crucial to the whole Galactic Empire. House Atreides now confronts sweeping political intrigue and deceit and has to survive on this hostile planet.
What really stuck with me were the characters that Frank Herbert created. They felt very real, none of them too perfect. They had rough edges, were at times unlikeable, but always believable and never stereotypically good or bad. Having to face many challenges on Dune, Paul undergoes a lot of character development.
Also, the scale of this world and the detail in which it was thought out was just marvellous. (Then again, I don’t have much to compare it to.) I’ve heard mixed things about the sequels, but I will check out Dune Messiah anyway and see how I like it.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: So. Beautiful. It’s one of those books that I will scream at you to read because it is just perfect and sweet and it gripped my soul until it was crying. Just read it. Especially if you are human.
This book is about Eleanor, who moves to a new town, and Park, a boy who rides the same bus as her to school. Not love at first sight, they slowly develop a relationship through music and comics AND THEN YOUR HEART GETS RIPPED OUT but in the most enjoyable* way, I promise. This is probably anything you need for a synopsis, because you will pick up this book right after you finish reading this, yes?
I also read Fangirl by the same author last year, a book that I will recommend to anyone who has ever fangirled. Eleanor & Park still topped it for me, but after that, check out Fangirl!
*Masochistic, you will love it!
So, those are my three favourite books I read in 2014. Which books were your favourites last year? Anything I should read immediately?