The Best Books I Read in 2014

For the last few years, I’ve done a “Best and Worst” books list at the end of the year, but this year I’m going to focus on the best books I read.  These are books that made a lasting impression on me through exceptional writing and/or a story that struck something deep in my reader’s heart.

So, without further ado, here are the standout books from my own reading shelf for 2014:

hpcoversHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


by J.K. Rowling

In these, the fifth, sixth, and final installments of the Harry Potter series, Harry and his friends grow up, have adventures, and ultimately fight the ultimate battle.  As someone who for years had no interest in delving into this series, I say now without reservation that it is one of the best stories I have ever read, and months after finishing it, I still miss Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and Hogwarts.  I hope that one day I make the time to read the series again.




by Elizabeth Heineman

This searing memoir about a homebirth that ends in tragedy faces taboos surrounding death and grief head-on.  Heineman’s gift with words paints so vivid a picture that I could almost see the film of the events in my head.  Ultimately a story about birth, motherhood, loss, and resilience.



Empire of the Summer Moon


by S.C. Gwynne

A raw and beautifully told historical account of the rise and fall of the Comanches.  Yet another chapter of American history that isn’t generally taught in school.  Epic and moving.



Me Before You


by Jojo Moyes

An unlikely love story that takes on tough issues: disability, self-determination, and assisted suicide.  Written with humor and a great deal of heart.


WUWcoverFINAL-200x300Waking Up White


by Debby Irving

A woman who could not be any whiter has a racial awakening; what ensues is the deconstruction of almost everything she thought she understood about race, class, privilege and equity in American society.  This book made such a deep impact on me.  Lessons for all of us white people, and especially relevant now among the current racial tensions.


61OX2ZRLqYL._SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


by Mark Twain

This classic tells the story, as narrated by Huck Finn himself, of his adventures escaping his abusive, drunken, no good “Pap” and hooking up with a runaway slave by the name of Jim.  Full of danger, high adventure, and colorful characters, it’s a story for the ages.  I’m only sorry that I never read it until this year.


The Orchardist


by Amanda Coplin

A gorgeous and heart-wrenching story about an old man, three young girls, love, loss, and what it means to be family.  One of those stories that keeps you awake at night, pondering and feeling really deep stuff.


And there you have it.  May 2015 be full of wonderful books!