I’ve always wanted to do a top 10 list. I have a strange obsession with Best Of lists. It’s just that I never get the chance to make them, because I don’t really have anything to make them about. The other day I was counting the amount of books that I read this year, and then I realized that I read 10. This means that I get to make a top ten list about the books I read in 2014!
Now, it’s important to know that none of these books were published in 2014, and some of them are even older than I am. This is because I bought many of them at a 2nd hand store. Give me a break already.
So, here it is. In what will probably be my last blog post of 2014, here are my ten favorite books that I read this year:
10. Sofia Smit – Sê Amen
To my shame, this is the only Afrikaans book on the list. I’ve been struggling to find any good Afrikaans books to read, but I must say that this one was a real treat. I grew up reading Sofia’s column in Vrouekeur, and it was really nice to read this collection of those writings. In a way, this book also inspired me to start blogging.
9. Stephen King – Rose Madder
What would this list be without Stephen King? And yes, there are two other novels of his on the list. Rose Madder tells the story of Rose Daniels, who, after years and years of abuse from her psychopathic husband, finally decides to leave. And in leaving she discovers a strength within herself that she didn’t know existed. But of course her evil husband isn’t far behind, and soon she will have to fight for her life. Stephen King has said that he doesn’t like the novel, but personally I think it is the ultimate, feministic, girl power story.
8. Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars
This collection of four novellas centered around the theme of retribution remind us that karma is a bitch. And when Stephen King is the author of that karma, you had better run.
7. Christopher Durang – Laughing Wild and Baby with the Bathwater
Of course I had to slip some theatre in. Christopher Durang is one of my favorite playwrights, and with these two plays he does what he does best: showcasing life’s turmoil and heartbreak through hilarious comedy. Although the plays are really quite serious underneath, they will make you laugh out loud. That is, unless you are dumb or have no sense of humor.
6. André Carl van der Merwe – Moffie
It took me a long time to gather the courage to read this novel, but I’m glad that I finally did. It is a frank portrayal of being gay in South Africa, a must read for any gay guy. In fact, it impacted me so greatly that I wrote a blog post about it.
5. Stephen King – Dolores Claiborne
I’ve read quite a few Stephen King novels, but I have to say that this one is probably one of my favorites. Dolores is being accused of killing that bitch Vera, but she didn’t do it. She did, however, kill someone else. The novel is written in the form of one continuous monologue by the protagonist. I have always enjoyed Mr. King’s female characters the most, and it truly feels like you’re having a conversation with Dolores.
4. Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway
There is no one quite like Virginia Woolf. This novel, crafted simply around a day in the life of a woman preparing for her dinner party, ends up being much more than simple. A difficult read for someone as simple as my myself, but worth it nonetheless.
3. Lionel Shriver – We Need to Talk About Kevin
People are always interested in the stories of murderers, but they so seldom hear the stories of their families. Eva never wanted to be a mother, and when Kevin was born this was confirmed. But something is wrong with Kevin. Very wrong… Lionel has said that she likes to write characters who are difficult to love, and this is true. It’s difficult to root for Eva, but that’s because she is so real. And perhaps that is the problem. We see ourselves in her.
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
Susie Salmon was 14 years old when she was murdered. Now she watches the people she left behind from Heaven. Her Heaven. She watches her family, her friends… and the man who murdered her. A controversial novel that will undoubtedly change your outlook on life, death, and everything in between.
1. Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee only ever wrote one novel, and that is understandable. Trying to top a novel like this would be impossible. A heart-warming, yet troubling tale of family, racism and injustice. The loss of innocence is a painful thing.