Left-Out Books of 2014

I read a total of 72 books this year. That’s a low for me (I usually read over 100), but because I spend most of my reading with research articles now for Ph.D. research, books have taken a backseat. While I usually write about every book I read, this year I didn’t. And there are books I read for my Ph.D. comp exams that I wrote about but didn’t post on this blog—yet. I bet you can’t wait to read those posts! They may never see the light of day on this blog, but they might.

So today’s post is a list of books I read this year but didn’t review. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but here they are.

Agnes Grey (1847) by Anne Brontë

This book is about a girl who takes a post as governess and has to deal with difficult children and their difficult parents. It was disappointing and boring. I’ve enjoyed other novels by the Brontë sisters, but this one isn’t as good as the others.

Men Explain Things to Me (2014) by Rebecca Solnit

Solnit’s collection of essays, one of which is the genesis of the term “mansplaining,” are witty and timely. I loved the ideas she presented, and her experiences reminded me of some of the frustrating experiences I’ve had in dealing with sexism. If you’re into feminism, you’ll like this book.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (2012) by Maria Semple

where'd you go bernadette cover

This book was popular in 2013, and I finally got to it early this year. I felt like jumping on the bandwagon since so many of my friends and fellow bloggers had commented on this book and how much they enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too. It is a wacky story of a mother, daughter, tortured genius, architecture, family, and fitting in.

We Should All Be Feminists (2014) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is more of an essay, rather than a book, but I read it through the free download in ibooks and enjoyed it while sitting in the Colorado Springs airport in September. The essay is from Adichie’s TEDx talk of the same title. She explains her experiences with being labeled a “feminist” and how she came to embrace the term and understand it. I loved it.

Eve and the Choice Made in Eden (2002) by Beverly Campbell

This is a religious book, one written at a plain and simple level for audiences of all backgrounds. I mostly skimmed it for information to round out a lesson I was teaching to the women at my church. Recently, I revisited it for some research I’m doing for a women’s discourses project at my church’s history library.

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (2005) by Richard L. Bushman

This is also a religious book, but not really. It is about the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my religion, from a historical perspective. Bushman does an excellent job of presenting Smith accurately, warts and all, and I think this should be recommended reading for any practicing Mormon. I feel more of an affinity for the history of my church, and I’ve come to understand how nobody is perfect. Fallibility makes us human, and we are all inherently worthy of God’s love.

Pedestals and Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights (2005) by Martha Sontag Bradley

This is also a “religious” book, but also historical, about the upheaval caused within my religious community during the 1970s and 80s when the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed. I learned a lot by reading this book. I gained further appreciation for the difficulty of historical research.

How many books did you read this year? Are there any you didn’t bother to review? What is your goal for books to read next year?

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42 thoughts on “Left-Out Books of 2014

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  1. Ack! Where’d You Go, Bernadette has got to move up on my TBR list! You, too, huh? 😃 I am trying to get to the point that I post about each book I read, but I find I want to spend my limited time reading more books! 😃 So, like you, there are books I want to write about but haven’t yet. Nice post. Glad I’m not alone in this…

  2. One or two books a week is impressive. I only manage to read 12-14 a year. But it’s not easy to breeze through Trollope, Hardy, Hawthorne, or Dickens! I like to savour the beautiful use of language in these classics, and read a little each day like treating myself to dessert. I am still focusing on (mostly Victorian) classics for the time being and enjoying it very much. I try to write a little Goodreads review for each. Always hoping to read more each year, but am happy to get read one or two a month.

    1. You are certainly reading some difficult novels that deserve time to be enjoyed and pondered. I love how you describe them as a little dessert each day. Perfect and better for you than actual dessert!

    1. Congrats to you! I finished my comps in early October; I passed with distinction. I passed my dissertation proposal defense. I am just waiting on IRB to approve it so I can begin! Let the research begin!

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed Bernadette. That was a fun read. 72 books is great! I know it’s not easy when you have a ton to read for your studies/work. I did not get as many books under my belt as I’d wanted this year, but recently started up again and it feels great! And happy new year, Emily!! Thank you so much for your last response to my email, which I hadn’t replied to in my craziness…

    1. I’m glad you’ve started up again. I’ve missed you! I hope you and your family are doing well and healing. I’m sad to say that many of my 72 are work/study books, but they still count, right? 😉

  4. I’m with everyone else, 72 books is impressive! I think I managed 16 books this year but I was up to my eyebrows in calculus and genetics through June so I’m counting 16 books in 6 months instead. I don’t usually set reading goals. I read as much as I want or as little as time allows. I do set spending limits though. In 2015, I’m reading all the books I have ‘on deck’ before I purchase another one. That’ll be tough!

    1. That’s a good goal, to read what you already have. I should really do that too… And yuck on being swamped by calculus and genetics. That counts for at least 200 books, right?

  5. When there isn’t time to fully review each book, I love to read the quick little blurbs just to get a sense of what you read and what you liked. I read about the same number of books as you (78), but, for me, it is a record! I am not a fast reader, just consistent. Something really important would have to be going on for me to miss out on my evening reading. Happy New Year!!

  6. 25 books that were new to me (according to Goodreads), I don’t have an accurate count on those I re-read – something I should record next year perhaps?

    Thanks for posting this list – you always flag up such interesting books and I think a few of these will end up on my 2015 ‘to read’ list.

  7. Seventy two! That’s definitely not a number to be ashamed of! I only read 22, and I’m not even in school anymore. Oh well! Like you, though, there were a couple of books that I read, but for some reason didn’t review. The most notable one was “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris. It wasn’t nearly as good as his older short story collections, and I just didn’t feel like explaining why. I wasn’t impressed by Truman Capote’s novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” either.

    1. Interesting. I would think that all of Sedaris’s and Capote’s books would be captivating, but I guess that isn’t the case. It took me a while to get into In Cold Blood, but once I did I was hooked. Did you see the movie about Capote? So good.

    1. Ah, Moby Dick! That is a classic. I didn’t read that one until one of my professors in my Master’s program told me how funny it was. When I approached it with a sense of humor, that made it enjoyable.

  8. Emily, as is so often the case, I gain so much from reading your blogs. It could have been a personal challenge for you to read books scrutinising Mormon history. As a member of the clergy in the Catholic Church, I often feel challenged when information is presented about Catholicism. But good and honest history is purgative and can, in the long run, make us even more authentic. It can also be a source of healing where justice needs to be done.
    Please don’t beat yourself up about not reviewing all the books you read in 2014. The life of a research student is onerous. We enjoy the reviews when you do have the chance to upload them. Happy reading for 2015!

    1. Thank you, thank you! You are too kind. And yes, it is challenging to read books that challenge belief and present things from a side not usually seen. But it was good for me. I love what you say about honest history making us more authentic. I think this is something that all religions and organizations struggle with, but as one of my good friends says, “Sunshine is the best antiseptic.” Thanks for reading my blog and being so supportive!

  9. Emily, 72 books is still quite a lot. You should be commended for doing so many with so many other duties and missions. Thanks for keeping us apprised of books to be read and not read, but more so for making us think about topics in a more reflective way. That is a gift to us all. Best wishes in 2015 to you and your family. BTG

    1. Best wishes to you too! Thank you for such a kind comment. I do hope to spark thoughts and discussions here, as my reading does it for me in my head. It is nice to share with friendly bloggers!

  10. Wow you did so well! I’m also studying, I’m completing my degree through the OU so reading has taken slightly more of a back seat, which sucks!!! I really enjoy your blog 🙂

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