Best of 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This was a weird year of reading, as usually I have five or so books each of fiction and non-fiction that I can point out as my favorite. But this year I didn't feel that great about enough books to really comprise the same type of lists. So here are a few books that I would count on my best of list for the year overall.

We Live In Water by Jess Walter
I never did write a review of this one, but I found these short stories to be one of the best collections I had read. I wish I could remember more to say... maybe I'll re-read it and do an actual review. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I called this one a social commentary on our society. It was heavy and direct but a great read.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
I loooved this book! Even though I just recently read it, I will be doing a re-read in January to prepare for my month of hosting book club with this book. This was my favorite of the year (though published in 2010).

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
I just finished this yesterday, and I do have a review written and ready to post sometime in the near future. This man's biography will stay in my head for a long time. My second favorite book of the year.

Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Pages: 530
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Publisher: Scribner (Simon & Schuster)
Pub. Date:  May 6, 2014

I was so excited to read this because of all the buzz it was getting. It also started to show up on lots of year end lists. So we finally bought out own copy if it. I tried so hard to love this. But I ended up being so disappointed. :(

This book literally tells two different, parallel stories that take place during World War II in France and Germany. The Paris story is about a blind girl who has to escape from her home town and who experiences life in the nazi occupation. The Germany story is about a boy who goes to a school where he is being trained to be a nazi but experiences mixed feelings about it. 

And that is essentially the plot in its entirety. I have definitely enjoyed character driven stories in the last, but I can't say this is what this was. I thought of this almost as a setting driven story. The writing in this book was gorgeous! So the way the author described scenes was truly beautiful. In fact, the very first page/chapter is just a paragraph and drew me in because of the writing. I just felt that the other aspects were lacking to the point that I rarely had the desire to pick the book back up. The other thing I found somewhat bothersome was that most chapters were extremely short and since they alternated between the two stories it felt disjointed, even though the concept of alternating chapters has never bothered me before. And just as an FYI, the two story lines intersect only slightly and not until at least 400 pages in the book.

So in summary, All The Light We Cannot See is beautifully imagined, but there was nothing in the story or characters that made me want to read more. I finished this one for the sake of finishing it.