December 30, 2014

My favorite books of 2014

Hello strangers!

2014 has been one long, crazy year that pushed my family miles beyond our comfort zone, sapped my creativity and ended stronger and a bit more melancholy than we ever expected last New Years Eve.

About a month ago, I started to miss writing.  I began scribbling in my journal in the quiet hours in the margins of the day. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing worth sharing. But writing nonetheless.

Now I'm quietly back to Hearth and Homefront. I've missed you all, though it's been so long I'm not sure if anyone is still out there.

I'm figuring out what this space will look like in 2015. My life is very different than it was a year ago and things need to change to better reflect who I am now.

There will still be food, cute kids and dogs…and always books. THAT is one thing that will never change :)

In that spirit, I'm going to round up my favorite books of 2014. Later this week I'll pop back in to chat about my reading goals and book totals, maybe even throwing in nerdy stats or charts (totally inspired by The Quirky Bookworm's reading stats!)

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorites!

Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist

This book made everyone's "Best Of" lists last year, and I snagged it on sale for the kindle. Moving, comforting, and heartbreaking in turn, this is a book that will come back to again and again in the next few years. I read this with friends, and discussed it while devouring several of the recipes in the book. Perfection!

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

I stumbled onto Kearsley late last year and tore through her whole back catalog. This was by far my favorite. It's a gentle romance set at an archaeological dig in Scotland. They are searching for the lost Roman Legion (the 9th Hispana) and they have only the ghost of a lone centurion to go on.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

I adore Bryson. I read this as we moved cross-country and it was the perfect silly but occasionally serious foil to the craziness of our life this summer. My new commute to work crosses over the Appalachian Trail at one point, and every morning I giggle about Bryson's plan to fight a bear off with toenail clippers.

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

Stumbled on this mystery series about a vicar in post-war (WWII) Cambridge, trying to reconcile his involvement with solving mysteries and his duties to his parish through Katie's blog. Sometimes a little slow, but the overall effect is lovely. Each book has interconnected short stories, and I'm currently savoring the second in the series.

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

My first time reading one of the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries and I think they might just beat out Miss Marple for my favorite sleuths. Set in the 1920s, these are light and witty and follow the adventures of this young couple who discover a talent for solving mysteries.

Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

I'm a wimp when it comes to scary books, but St. James has the knack for writing ghost stories that are just the right amount of spooky. A young girl must sort out her ghost hunting uncle's belongings after his death, and stumbles into his final case. I also read Silence for the Dead by St. James this year, and that one is excellent as well. She does such a fantastic job portraying England at the end of WWI.

A few others that I really enjoyed but didn't quite make the list are The Silkworm, The Blood of Olympus, Where'd You Go Bernadette? and Dying in the Wool.

What were YOUR favorites this year?

I'm linking up at Modern Mrs Darcy-go take a look at more recommendations there. Your to-be-read list will explode :)

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  1. I have Susanna Kearsley on my reading list but haven't actually read any of her books yet. After your suggestion, I think I'll have to move her to the top of the stack! Thanks for the recommendations! I also have Bread & Wine but haven't read it yet!

  2. The Winter Sea is another excellent place to start with Susanna Kearsley. Or the Rose Garden…she's fabulous on Twitter too. I love when author's are as smart and engaging on social media as they are in their books! Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. How lucky to live so close to the AT!

  4. Welcome back! I'm trying to figure out what to do with my blog next year, too. We'll sort it out eventually. =) Happy new year!

  5. Isn't Bill Bryson the greatest! I am going to have to check out St James' books, I love a good ghost story!

  6. Anne @ I need some inspirationDecember 30, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I keep assuming because I am not a foodie that I will not be as into Bread and Wine. Is that a fair assumption? Soooo many people love it! I guess I need to just try it. I've enjoyed Bryson, too! Thanks for the titles I hadn't heard of!

  7. Yeah! So glad you are back! And thank you for so many books I haven't read yet! My favorite book this year was Station Eleven- a bit creepy but really, really good!

  8. Welcome back! :) I'm writing down the James Runcie title, as I found short story mysteries (like Sherlock Holmes) perfect after my last baby was born (little one due in July). :)

  9. I always wave madly at any hikers I see too…I'm such a dork about it now!

  10. I read short stories a lot when my boys were tiny too! Enjoy!

  11. I wouldn't worry about that at all! It's more about food and eating as a way to connect than a foodie memoir. Worth a try at least! If it's not your cup of tea you can always put it down :)

  12. Love him! I still need to read his latest book…that would be a fun way to start 2015 :)

  13. It's nice to be back! I keep hearing about Station Eleven-I'll check it out. How creepy are we talking? Will I be able to read it before bedtime? ;)

  14. Happy new year! Seems like the whole blogging world is changing now too, so we aren't alone!

  15. This is such an interesting list! Bread and Wine has been on my list for a while now, perhaps I will bring it forward soon!

  16. I loved A Walk in the Woods.


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