I’m a little late to the party with this, seeing as tomorrow is the last day of July, but I can’t resist. It’s been a good year of reading thus far, and I want to give you my highlights. So without belaboring the point, my top 10 books of the first half of 2014:
The Writing Class, by Jincy Willet – Sharply written, suspenseful, and utterly engaging from the very first page, this story of a maniac terrorizing a learning extension fiction-writing class had me both furiously flipping pages and trying to slow down my reading to make it last longer.
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6), by Alan Bradley – The sixth volume (and most recent) in the Flavia de Luce mystery series was a marvelous read – heart-wrenching, sweet, and surprising. The series is primed to move in a new direction now and I can’t wait to follow Flavia’s adventures as she embraces her destiny.
Little House on the Prairie (Little House #2), by Laura Ingalls Wilder – A childhood favorite I revisited this January, I loved this just as much as I remember. Although the thought did enter my mind, for the first time on reading these books: what did Ma think of all of Pa’s schemes and plans?
Henrietta’s War and Henrietta Sees it Through, by Joyce Dennys – Loved these two epistolary novellas. Henrietta, a Devon doctor’s wife, keeps her “dear childhood’s friend” Robert up-to-date on the home front happenings while he is off fighting for King George in World War II. Sweet, but not without a little bitterness to temper things.
My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Meade – Meade achieves what every bookish girl dreams of: the chance to travel around and immerse herself in the world of her favorite author (George Eliot). I read and loved Middlemarch for the first time last year and I so enjoyed learning more about George Eliot and the world of Middlemarch (I love that Mary Garth!) through the eyes of a devoted fan.
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, by Courtney Maum – Richard Haddon has to snap his artistic temperament right out of a funk when his (gorgeous, intelligent, French, totally-out-of-his-league) wife discovers his infidelity. In trying to sort out the mess he’s made of his life, Richard has a major epiphany: he loves his wife, and he wants her back. This was funny, sad, heart-warming and uplifting. And it didn’t hurt that Maum’s wonderful descriptive writing focused on such settings as Paris, London, the French coastline, and New England.
The Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1), by Elizabeth Peters – Amelia Peabody (indomitable Victorian spinster, forever armed with umbrella and sundry other weapons) is a marvelous character. Her first Egyptian adventure is full of fun. This is a can’t-miss if you enjoy cozy mysteries of the Agatha Christie variety, with a touch of the exotic for interest.
Snobs, by Julian Fellowes – The creator of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park can, of course, be trusted for sparkling wit and good upper-crust fox-hunt fun. I enjoyed this romp through 1990s Society-with-a-capital-S and the steamy British theatre world.
God is an Astronaut, by Alyson Foster – When a tragedy strikes Spaceco, a private space-travel corporation in which Jess’s husband Liam is a principal, Jess doesn’t know where to turn. Fraught with anxiety over the accident, and unable to seek any comfort from her embattled marriage, Jess throws herself into building a greenhouse and writing long emails to her colleague Arthur, on sabbatical from their university botany department. Jess’s emails are funny, pathetic, a touch clingy, and brutally honest about the disaster and her own mistakes.
There you have it – my top ten books of the year thus far! What have you read and particularly enjoyed in the first half… errrrr, seven months… of 2014?