Top Ten of 2014

Welcome to my top ten of 2014!

If I’m being completely honest, 2014 was a dodgy year for me in terms of reading. I was impressed with very little, and the overabundance of reading challenges at the beginning of the year in addition to trying to keep up a book vlog (which fell apart as soon as I started attending martial arts classes multiple times a week) caused me to burn out in a hurry. I started revving up again toward the end of the summer, using non-fiction as an entry point and also as way to revisit my interest in art. But you’ll see what kind of art books I was reading in a moment, which will also tie in to a post I’ll make a little later.

In no particular order, my top ten of last year:

2014_01

In fiction, we have Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, a science fiction novel that I personally feel was the best book I read all year. Following that is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which was incredible and also very unsettling. Hyperion by Dan Simmons is next–yet another very impressive science fiction novel that I can’t wait to follow up on by reading the sequels. (Is it just me or is science fiction winning the day?) Finally, there’s Confessions by Kanae Minato, which was a slightly disturbing Japanese novel of murder and revenge. Good stuff, and surprisingly difficult to put down, though the narrative style was unusual.

2014_02

In graphic novels, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples wins as the best comic I’ve read in a long, long time. I wait eagerly for new editions of that every time I finish a volume. Close on its heels is Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe, which I read toward the end of the year. It’s hilarious and fast-paced and so, so much fun. Finally, Locke and Key was an impressive series by Joe Hill. I went into it skeptical that I would enjoy it, but it proved to be incredibly good.

2014_03

And in non-fiction–or, more specifically, art books–we begin with Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet. The art is incredible–I mean, holy cats, the maps alone are amazing–and so colorful. I loved this book to pieces. The same could be said of An Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane, which is very similar in many ways, though it offers drawings of more locations than just Japan. The quirky, colorful art in this book could occupy me for hours. And, last but not least, is Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson, which is a how-to for people interested in keeping a sketchbook journal. Cathy Johnson’s art is amazing, and quite different from both Chavouet’s and Kane’s. Lovely to look at, even if you don’t plan on sketching yourself.

Honorable mentions for this year include The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig, Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, Shattered by Kevin Hearne, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. All of these were good reads, and on a top 15, they would have made the cut.

For those who are interested, below is a full list of everything I read in 2014 (minus some random manga on the internet and such). Feel free to ask about any of these titles. I’ll be happy to elaborate on them or join in a discussion about them.

FICTION (Novels and Collections):

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson *1.15.14*
Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger *1.17.14*
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood *1.22.14*
A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. LeGuin *1.28.14*
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie *2.10.14*
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss *2.16.14*
Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo by Miyuki Miyabe *2.23.14*
Audition by Ryu Murakami *2.23.14*
Mistborn: The Last Empire by Brandon Sanderson *3.19.14
Farside by Ben Bova *3.23.14*
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R.R. Martin *3.29.14*
The Ring (Ring Cycle #1) by Koji Suzuki *4.2.14*
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed *4.15.14*
The Cormorant (Miriam Black #3) by Chuck Wendig *5.9.14*
Shattered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #7) by Kevin Hearne *6.21.14*
Skin Game (The Dresden Files #16) by Jim Butcher *7.6.14*
Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin *7.19.14*
Confessions by Kanae Minato *9.14.14*
Spiral (Ring Cycle #2) by Koji Suzuki *11.18.14*
Waistcoats and Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger *11.20.14*
Maplecroft by Cherie Priest *11.30.14*

NON-FICTION

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura *2.12.14*
Dawn: The Worlds of Final Fantasy by Yoshitaka Amano *3.10.14*
The Flat Belly Diet by Liz Vaccariello *4.20.14*
How to Make a Journal of Your Life by Dan Price *8.7.14*
Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson *8.8.14*
The Creative License by Danny Gregory *8.9.14*
Every Day Matters by Danny Gregory *8.10.14*
A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal by Hannah Hinchman *8.15.14*
Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet *8.17.14*
Sketch Your World by James Hobb *8.23.14*
Quick Sketching with Ron Husband by Ron Husband *9.8.14*
Painting Watercolors (First Steps Series) by Cathy Johnson *9.13.14*
The Urban Sketcher by Marc Taro Holmes *9.27.14*
Sketching and Drawing (First Steps Series) by Cathy Johnson *9.27.14*
The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson *10.28.14*
500 Ways to Write Harder by Chuck Wendig *10.30.14*
30 Days in the Word Mines by Chuck Wendig *11.25.14*
An Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane *12.26.14*
A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson *12.29.14*

SHORT STORIES (Individual):

The Burning Men (Nathaniel Cade) by Christopher Farnsworth *11.9.14*
Blind Man’s Bluff by H. Russell Wakefield *12.15.15*

GRAPHIC NOVELS, MANGA, COMICS

Otomen, vol. 17 by Aya Kanno *1.7.14*
Natsume’s Book of Friends, vol. 15 by Yuki Midorikawa *1.7.14*
Black Butler, vol. 16 by Yana Toboso *1.22.14*
Ooku, vol. 9 by Fumi Yoshinaga *1.25.14*
The Other Side of the Mirror, vol. 1 by Jo Chen *1.25.14*
The Other Side of the Mirror, vol. 2 by Jo Chen *1.25.14*
I.N.V.U., vol. 1 by Kim Kang Won *2.27.14*
I.N.V.U., vol. 2 by Kim Kang Won *2.27.14*
I.N.V.U., vol. 3 by Kim Kang Won *2.28.14*
I.N.V.U., vol. 4 by Kim Kang Won *2.28.14*
I.N.V.U., vol. 5 by Kim Kang Won *2.28.14*
Blue Exorcist, vol. 11 by Kazue Kato *3.4.14*
Lazurus, vol. 1 by Greg Rucka *3.10.14*
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, vol. 1 by Joe Hill *3.17.14*
Locke & Key: Head Games, vol. 2 by Joe Hill *3.29.14*
Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, vol. 3 by Joe Hill *3.29.14*
What Did You Eat Yesterday?, vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga *3.30.14*
Saga, vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples *3.30.14*
Embracing Love, vols. 1 & 2 by Youka Nitta *3.30.14*
Embracing Love, vols. 3 & 4 by Youka Nitta *3.30.14*
Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, vol. 4 by Joe Hill *4.4.14*
Locke & Key: Clockworks, vol. 5 by Joe Hill *4.9.14*
Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega, vol. 6 by Joe Hill *5.27.14*
Drops of God, vol. 1 by Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto *5.29.14*
Drops of God, vol. 2 by Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto *5.31.14*
What Did You Eat Yesterday?, vol. 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga *5.31.14*
Natsume’s Book of Friends, vol. 16 by Yuki Midorikawa *6.9.14*
What Did You Eat Yesterday?, vol. 3 by Fumi Yoshinaga *7.19.14*
Black Butler, vol. 17 by Yana Toboso *7.25.14*
What Did You Eat Yesterday?, vol. 4 by Fumi Yoshinaga *9.28.14*
Natsume’s Book of Friends, vol. 17 by Yuki Midorikawa *10.20.14*
Blue Exorcist, vol. 12 by Kazue Kato *11.4.14*
What Did You Eat Yesterday, vol. 5 by Fumi Yoshinaga *11.4.14*
Lazarus, vol. 2 by Greg Rucka *11.16.14*
Rat Queens, vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe *11.19.14*
Black Butler, vol. 18 by Yana Toboso *12.30.14*
D.Gray-Man, vol. 24 by Katsura Hoshino *12.30.14*
Saga, vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples *12.30.14*
Ooku, vol 10 by Fumi Yoshinaga *12.30.14*

AUDIOBOOKS

Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles #2) by Kevin Hearne *1.3.14*
Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne *1.5.14*
Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne *1.11.14*
Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan *1.11.14*
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) by Dan Simmons *1.28.14*
Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne *2.22.14*
The Introvert Advantage by Marti Laney *2.27.14*
Trapped (Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne *3.4.14*
Hunted (Iron Druid Chronicles #6) by Kevin Hearne *3.6.14*
The Spirit Lens (Collegia Magica #1) by Carol Berg *3.16.14*
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds *4.30.14*

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