My 2014 Reading

2014 books graphicI probably should have gotten around to posting this sooner, but here is the list of books I finished in 2014. Other people’s lists interest me, so maybe someone will find something of interest here.  2014 was kind of a tumultuous year for me, and I’m grateful for these books that kept me focused, thinking, entertained, and enlightened.

I’ll begin with my top five favorites of 2014, arranged alphabetically by author’s last name.  These are the books that thoroughly engaged me as I read them, and continue to stay on my mind weeks or months after finishing them.  To see detailed reviews, you can clink on the links to where I originally reviewed these books, either on this blog or on Goodreads.

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

Unleashing the Positive Power of Differences: Polarity Thinking in Our Schools by Jane A. G. Kise

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Apparently, I never reviewed Ordinary Grace–probably because I read it while on vacation—but it’s a mystery story with a midwestern flavor, appealing characters, and important ideas about post-traumatic stress disorder, trust, and grace. (One other book, Slouching Toward Fargo, was a favorite too, but I will deal with it in an upcoming post specifically devoted to baseball books.  Another favorite on the list below–Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles–actually comes out in 2015, so I didn’t include it my 2014 favorites list.  I know I’m making up the rules as I go along, but I’ll have more to say about this excellent book later.)

As I reflect on my 2014 year in books, I don’t really see that much in the way of trends, which doesn’t surprise me.  I have the attention span of a flea, so I jump around a lot in my choices, usually reading at least three books at the same time.  I consumed a lot of Randy Wayne White thrillers, and I’m now completely caught up on his Doc Ford books and eager for his new one—Cuba Straits—which comes out in March. I also see that my interest in books about education is continuing, although it seems to be expanding beyond literacy into broader issues involving how schools function in today’s culture, and how they can do better.

For 2015, I haven’t really set any reading goals. I put 52 as my goal on Goodreads, but that’s just a number. Last year, I set 114 as the goal. I ended up reading 111 books and then was too growly with myself about falling short by three books. I do hope to delve more deeply into my shelves to finally read some of those books that I’ve been meaning to get to for, oh, five or ten years. I’m also interested in more books about education, specifically higher education, learning theory, creativity, and innovation.

  1. Chip Kidd:  Go:  A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
  2. Jess Walter:   Beautiful Ruins
  3. Jane A. G. Kise: Unleashing the Positive Power of Differences:  Polarity Thinking in Our Schools
  4. Nina Laden: Once Upon a Memory
  5. Billy Collins: Aimless Love:  New and Selected Poems
  6. Kevin Guilfoile: A Drive into the Gap
  7. Audrey Vernick: Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?
  8. Sarah Lewis: The Rise:  Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search for Mastery
  9. Michael LoMonico: That Shakespeare Kid
  10. Karen Kaufman Orloff:  I Wanna New Room
  11. Kevin C. Pyle:  Take What You Can Carry
  12. Greg Pizzoli:  The Watermelon Seed
  13. Charles J. Shields: And So It Goes:  Kurt Vonnegut:  A Life
  14. Joelle Charbonneau:  The Testing
  15. George F. Will:  A Nice Little Place on the North Side
  16. Kate DiCamillo:  Flora and Ulysses
  17. NoViolet Bulawayo:  We Need New Names
  18. Michael Ian Black and Kevin Henkes: Chicken Cheeks
  19. Meenoo Rami:  Thrive
  20. A. J. Pine: If Only
  21. Helen Grant: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
  22. Aaron Reynolds: Here Comes Destructosaurus!
  23. Scott Magoon: Breathe
  24. Ashley Spires: The Most Magnificent Thing
  25. Jack Prelutsky:  If Not for the Cat
  26. Diane Ravitch:  Reign of Error
  27. Chris Raschke:  Cowy Cow
  28. Chris Raschke: Crabby Crab
  29. Randy Wayne White: Shadow Deep
  30. Adam Lehrhaupt: Warning Do Not Open This Book
  31. Mike Shannon:  A Whole Lot of Bar-B-Q and Other Baseball Stories
  32. Bob Shea:  Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great
  33. Donna Tartt:  The Goldfinch
  34. Kadir Nelson:  Baby Bear
  35. Joe Blair: By the Iowa Sea
  36.  Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe: Peanut
  37.  Michael Ian Black: Naked
  38. Rosy Lamb:  Paul Meets Bernadette
  39.  G. Neri: Knockout Games
  40. Paul Acampora:  I Kill the Mockingbird
  41. Barb Rosenstock:  The Noisy Paint Box
  42. George Saunders:  Congratulations, By the Way
  43. Antoinette Portis:  Froodle
  44. Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt
  45. Neal Karlen:  Slouching Toward Fargo
  46. Matthew Quick:  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
  47. Karen Russell:  Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Other Stories
  48. Peter Brown:  My Teacher Is a Monster
  49. Frank McCourt:  Teacher Man
  50. Bob Staake:  My Pet Book
  51. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner:  Think Like a Freak
  52. Herve Tullet:  Help!  We Need a Title!
  53. Randy Wayne White:  Night Vision
  54. Box Brown:  Andre the Giant:  Life and Legend
  55. Randy Wayne White: Chasing Midnight
  56. Kevin Henkes:  Junonia
  57. William Kent Krueger:  Ordinary Grace
  58. Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn:  Veeck–As in Wreck
  59. Tom Doyle: Man on the Run:  Paul McCartney in the 1970s
  60. Randy Wayne White:  Deceived
  61. James M. Lang:  On Course
  62. David Ezra Stein: I’m My Own Dog
  63. Pat Conroy: My Reading Life
  64. Randy Wayne White:  Night Moves
  65. The Waiter:  Waiter Rant
  66. Cece Bell: El Deafo
  67. G. Neri:  Hello, I’m Johnny Cash
  68. Bob Newhart: I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This!
  69. Raul Colon:  Draw!
  70. Deborah Wiles: Revolution
  71. Harold Bloom:  Hamlet:  Poem Unlimited
  72. Matt Tavares: Mudball
  73. Bill Geist and Willie Geist:  Good Talk, Dad
  74. Randy Wayne White:  Bone Deep
  75. B. J. Novak:  The Book With No Pictures
  76. Shawn Colvin:  Diamond in the Rough
  77. Laurie Halse Anderson:  The Impossible Knife of Memory
  78. Lorrie Moore :  Bark
  79. Kelly Bingham:  Circle, Square, Moose
  80. Nickolas Butler:  Shotgun Lovesongs
  81. Jose Jorge Letria: If I Were a Book
  82. James Patterson:  I Even Funnier
  83. Richard Byrne:  This Book Just Ate My Dog!
  84. Oliver Jeffers: Once Upon an Alphabet
  85. Jo Knowles:  Read Between the Lines
  86. Jacqueline Woodson:  Brown Girl Dreaming
  87. Chuck Klosterman:  Killing Yourself to Live
  88. Patrick McDonnell:  A Perfectly Messed-Up Story
  89. E. Lockhart: We Were Liars
  90. Steve Sheinkin: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers
  91. Mac Barnett:  Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
  92. Larry McMurtry:  Custer
  93. Katherine Roy:  Neighborhood Sharks
  94. Kevin Brockmeier:  The Brief History of the Dead
  95. Rick Bragg:  Jerry Lee Lewis:  His Own Story
  96. Randy Wayne White:  Batfishing in the Rainforest
  97. Jon Meacham:  Thomas Jefferson:  The Art of Power
  98. Kathryn Otoshi:  Two
  99. Amy Poehler:  Yes Please
  100. Mo Willems:  The Pigeon Needs a Bath!
  101. Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki:  This One Summer
  102. Tavis Smiley: Death of a King
  103. Haruki Murakami:  The Strange Library
  104. Charles Dickens:  The Old Curiosity Shop
  105. Charles Osgood: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House
  106. Deborah Underwood: The Christmas Quiet Book
  107. Jan Brett:  The Animals’ Santa
  108. A. S. King: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
  109. Rebecca D. Cox:  The College Fear Factor
  110. Jory John:  Goodnight, Already
  111. Raina Telgemeier: Sisters
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2 Responses to My 2014 Reading

  1. edcoaching says:

    Thanks, Gary. What an honor to have one of my books in your top five! Especially in a grouping that includes Ordinary Grace…


  2. KDixon says:

    Thank you for sharing! I always love a good book list, and you have some great recommendations here.


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