This past year has been especially bumpy for me with big changes in my living situation, fairly serious health problems, surgery for my mother, writing and editing jobs, financial struggles, and even adopting a kitten and a second puppy. Through all of that, I managed to read 33 books in 2014. Considering everything I’ve been through this year, I think 33 is pretty decent. My reading goal for 2015 has been bumped up to 50 books and with the Outlander series alone sitting in my Kindle, I’m sure to knock out at least 20 or so right there!
So what did I read in 2014? Let’s consult my GoodReads account, which has 31 of the titles.
The other two books I read, which I didn’t get to list on GoodReads as finished yet, were these.
Some of these books were written by friends of mine. Others reflected my love of history and spirituality. I wouldn’t say I loved every book I read this year though. There were some historical novels that I got on my Kindle but either never finished them or didn’t put them in my GoodReads list because I really didn’t enjoy them. It takes a lot to make me dislike a historical novel but sometimes I just cannot get beyond glaring inaccuracies with period characterization. Especially with novels set in antebellum America, there seems to be an inescapable Scarlett O’Hara complex with several lead characters that always turns me off in the end. If I wanted Scarlett, I would re-read Gone With the Wind.
One unexpected surprise was stumbling into the “Christian” niche of historical fiction. I’m not Christian, as you all know by now, but I don’t think I have to be in order to appreciate good storytelling. The truth is some Christian authors like Lynn Austin and Jocelyn Green are better at nineteenth century characterization and research than secular authors. I see very little difference between what’s marketed as “Christian fiction” and the real time period. Secular authors tend to not research quite as well and they’re too quick to throw sex in historical novels, which are two elements that rip me out of the period being depicted if they’re done wrong. No one actually needs to be Christian to read well-written historical novels that happen to have some Christian themes. Jocelyn Green, for example, penned one of my favorite novels that I read this year.
I’m curious about what books will end up on next year’s list! What did you read in 2014?