On Learning: 2014 book list

During the course of my MFA program at Pacific University I had to keep track of the books I was reading for my Official Reading List, and, after graduation, the sense of accomplishment of simply having managed to continue to read books has made post-graduation writing life seem more productive. Before grad school, I was a haphazard reader, and I hated reading more than one book at once. In the months since graduating, I’ve read more voraciously than I ever have, greeting each book with the question, “What can I learn from you?” In fact, preparing this list for this post made me pay attention to the kinds of books and authors I read this year, made me think more critically about who and what I want to read. (And now, in the aftermath of some Christmas generosity, I need to find more bookshelves to house the growing stacks of books in Read This Next piles.)

So, here’s the list of books I read in 2014! The list doesn’t include the book I’m in the middle of reading (Julie Andrews’s Home, Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres), and it doesn’t include craft books I read during my last semester at Pacific. Some of the post-graduation titles will be obvious (no HP on my reading list), and some of these books I revisited like old friends (Jane Eyre is high on that list). My favorites are starred.

  1. Life After Life, Kate Atkinson *
  2. No One is Here Except All of Us, Ramona Ausubel
  3. Levels of Life, Julian Barnes
  4. Miss Fuller, April Bernard
  5. Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt
  6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon *
  7. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  8. Ralph S. Mouse, Beverly Cleary
  9. The Witches, Roald Dahl
  10. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, Lydia Davis *
  11. The World of a Few Minutes Ago, Jack Driscoll *
  12. The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich
  13. Blood, Bones and Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton *
  14. Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  15. Stardust, Neil Gaiman *
  16. The Killings at Badgers Drift, Caroline Graham
  17. The Magicians, Lev Grossman
  18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon *
  19. Tinkers, Paul Harding *
  20. The Obituary Writer, Ann Hood *
  21. The Blessings, Elise Juska *
  22. Little Century, Anna Keesey *
  23. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
  24. Haussmann, or The Distinction, Paul Lafarge
  25. A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis
  26. The Good Lord Bird, James McBride *
  27. The Collected Stories, Grace Paley
  28. Here Lies The Librarian, Richard Peck
  29. Still Life, Louise Penny
  30. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx *
  31. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowling
  32. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling
  33. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, JK Rowling
  34. Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick *
  35. The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, Mary Helen Stefaniak *
  36. The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, Mary Helen Stefaniak (I really did read this twice. Completely, utterly worth reading over and over again.)
  37. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf *
  38. The Devil’s Arithmetic, Jane Yolen

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