My Top 10 Books of 2014

Posted on January 1, 2015

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I rarely join memes but I figure I should make a list of my 2014 top books. I blog because it helps me process my thoughts about what I read and, in so doing, helps me sort my thoughts about life. I think it’s important to at least identify the books that had the strongest impact on me, to document my growth as a reader.

Most of my favorite books in 2014 are Fantasy. My top read though is the Rosales Saga, a series of five historical and political novels, which trace five generations of two families, namely the Samsons (poor farmers) and the Asperri (wealthy mestizos) through Spanish and American periods in the History of the Philippines up until the pre-Martial Law Period in the 1970s. It’s a gripping read that anyone who likes Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet will appreciate. The Rosales Saga is written by Filipino National Artist F. Sionil Jose.

Surprising for me, who can’t have enough of text, two in the Top 10 are graphic novels. One is an urban fantasy (Trese) following the cases of a paranormal investigator in Manila and the other is a dark fantasy (Locke & Key) following the trials of a family living in a New England mansion full of magical keys.

The first four titles in my list are rated five stars and the rest are four stars. 2014 was the year I devoured paranormal romances, but the ones that made it to this cut are those with very strong world-building and tightly written plots (A Hidden Legacy,  Guild Hunter, and Immortals After Dark). Also included are one horror series (Experiment in Terror), one dark fantasy novel (Strangewood), and one fantasy romance (Cruel Beauty).

I loved these books. Reading them was awesome. I only reached up to the third book of the horror series, though, as it became too exhausting trying not to be too scared. I’ll finish this series this year.

I exceeded my 2014 reading goal of 150. For  2015, I plan to just make it 100 as I wish to read heavier tomes such as the House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I want to read more horror and mysteries this year. I also want to read more older books gathering dust on my shelves for years. I tend to buy, swap, borrow, and receive books as gifts, and then keep them on TBR indefinitely. I feel I’m not honoring these books and their authors at all by just keeping them.

But I have so many on my virtual and physical shelves, and more awesome books are getting written. Authors are giving away books on Amazon. Kobo and other online bookstores offer a database of free books. Reading membership sites are cropping up. I also just discovered that there is such a thing as ARCs for honest reviews from websites that specialize in promoting new books. It will be a challenge to resist temptation.

 

Po-on, Rosales Saga by F Sionil Jose

 

TOP TEN READS of 2014 by Artseblis

  1. The Rosales Saga by F. Sionil Jose
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Trese (books 1 to 5) by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo
  4. Locke & Key Graphic Novels by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
  5. Experiment in Terror by Karina Halle
  6. Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrew
  7. Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole (scheduled)
  8. Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh (scheduled)
  9. Strangewood by Christopher Golden (scheduled)
  10. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

 

I have published or scheduled reviews only for  6 books in the list as of writing this post. I’ll do my best to blog about the rest, which I read before I resumed book blogging. I’m doing a lot of backtracking. I’ll link the titles to review posts as soon as they go up. I hope I get to blog regularly in 2015, that work will not become toxic draining my brain cells necessary to write. I’m an active volunteer for animal welfare and poverty alleviation through learning and this eats up a lot of time as well. I hope to manage my time better in 2015.

Overall, I’m very happy with my 2014 reading. I surpassed my reading goal and discovered many awesome authors and book bloggers to follow. I love reading reviews even during times I’m too busy to read books. Sometimes the reviews are better than the book! Glad to see the international book blogging community is thriving. I was also very active in my book club, participating in a Moviefied indie activity where we created short films based on a genre and book. That certainly enhanced my reading experience. Too bad I can’t show our movies here, only for private viewing I’m afraid.

A note on book reviews: I love reading positive and negative reviews. I get suspicious if there are only positive reviews on a book. Not everyone will like a book. What others disliked I may end up liking and vice versa. For example, my all-time favorite science fiction is Harm’s Way by Colin Greenland, but reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are few and most expressed impatience over the detailed prose. I don’t understand it because I love the book.

I’ll do my best to schedule it for a glowing review this year.) That people have different emotional reactions to a book is another reason books are so exciting for me.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!