Sarah Morgan

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2014 Top Tens: Books

Welcome to the end of the year: One top 10 post for each of the last 10 days of 2014.

  1. Songs.
  2. Healthy living.
  3. Goals.
  4. Moments.

Today: books. You may not be surprised to discover I couldn’t keep this to one list.

First, here are 10 I loved this year.

  1. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKerst. Oh my God, every one of my stressed, overcommitted, guilty friends needs this book. Now.
  2. The Silkworm and the rest of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Gilbraith (Jo Rowling). Just plain great detective stories.
  3. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. If you’re into arc plots about teenagers in dystopia, I liked this better than Hunger Games.
  4. A School History of the Great War by Albert McKinley
  5. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  7. The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair MacKay
  8. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann

Second, here are 10 I always come back to. Many are available free too, thanks to the Gutenberg Project.

(Sidebar, re: rereading: Once, a colleague offered me a book, saying she never reread anything. I nearly fell off my chair. I am not that sort of being. I do not trust that sort of being.)

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I just plain love this little book.
  2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I read this when I, too, left a miserable situation and found myself alone at school in a strange castle on the first of September. I couldn’t not love it after that.
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl and everything else by Louisa May Alcott. Elly reminded me of her a couple of years ago and I reread everything she wrote – but I love this best.
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis. I am a fairytale girl.
  5. The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens. I don’t like Dickens, as a rule, but this is comfy and rollicking and Sam makes it so you don’t mind the verbosity.
  6. Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility – Jane Austen. Lizzie and Emma and Elinor knew what was what.
  7. Will in the World – Stephen Greenblatt. He does more than a little guesswork but it’s a lovely sympathetic story even if you don’t care a bit about Shakespeare wrote.
  8. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess – Frances Hodgkin Burnett. So gorgeous.
  9. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson. Who doesn’t want to know nearly everything?

And here are 10 that I want to read in 2015.

  1. Letters from a Stoic – Seneca. Because it’s mentioned in TGL&PPPS and, as that book says, “That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”
  2. Shakespeare & Co. – Stanley Wells. About all those other dudes who hung out along the riverbank. I also want to read more of their work of the other Elizabethan playwrights.
  3. Zealot – Reza Aslan. A biography of Jesus.
  4. The Shallows – Nicholas Carr. Because the internet is not necessarily good for us.
  5. Smarter Than You Think – Clive Thompson. Because it isn’t necessarily bad either.
  6. Fic – Anne Jamison. Because inspired content relates to transmedia storytelling and the power of the conversational internet and this shit straight up fascinates me because I am a nerd of the first degree.
  7. Between Silk and Cyanide – Leo Marks. More about Bletchley Park and the codemakers and codebreakers of WWII. I am fascinated.
  8. Speaking Code – Franco Bifo Berardi. Not that same kind of code.
  9. Choose Your Own Autobiography – Neil Patrick Harris. Because he’s amazing.
  10. Becoming a Supple Leopard – Kelly Starrett. Because I own this and I’ve been lazy and trusted my trainers rather than learning it myself.

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