Sunday, February 1, 2015

Good Books I Read In 2014 ~ Part 1

Looking back on 2014, I see that many of the books I read were unusual, and perhaps not for everyone, while others were classic novels from the 19th and early 20th century with some interesting mysteries thrown in for good measure. I divided the list into two parts. 

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Wonderful, magical, mesmerizing, spellbinding and enchanting ~ adjectives I borrowed from an AP review. They describe this book perfectly:

The circus is only open at night and within its tents awaits amazing acts. This is the story of two young magicians who have since childhood been set up and trained for a duel where, unbeknownst to them, only one will be left standing. The two meet and fall in love, which sets off serious and dangerous consequences for everyone from performers to patrons of the circus. This is a marvelous book, my favorite of 2014. 

My Antonia, by Willa Cather

"No romantic novel ever written in one half so beautiful as My Antonia." ~H. L. Mencken

I am sure my American friends are familiar with this book, so beautiful, so marvelous in its simplicity.  You feel, smell, and see nature in your mind through all its seasons. You live with Antonia through her harsh childhood of poverty and family tragedy; you are happy for her as she becomes a wife and mother on a Nebraska farm. This book honors the spirit of America's early pioneers and celebrates the vast landscape of the American mid-west. 

Russian Winter, by Daphne Kalotay

Now old and living in Boston, a former Bolshoi Ballet star puts her fabulous jewelry collection up for sale. As she goes through it, each piece reminds her of Russia and of her life of dance, love, fabulous gems, dangerous politics, betrayals, and long kept secrets. I found this book absolutely fascinating. 

Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Always found on the lists of the 100 best books ever, Middlemarch finally made it to my Kindle last year. I enjoyed the interwoven stories of romance and gossip in the English countryside and I felt sad for the main characters who made such horrible mistakes in marrying persons so wrong for them. The book is filled with many characters and stories, all intertwined. With the tools available at the time, I can't help but wonder how the author kept track of them all. 

And then there's the English language, so beautiful the way it was written in the 19th century. Since Middlemarch is a very, very long book, I got to enjoy it for a long time. One of the best books ever.

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

Loosely based on the life of Sarah Moore Grimke, an abolitionist, writer, and member of the women's suffrage movement, it tells the story of Sarah and the slave, Handful, who was given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. Sarah didn't want a slave, but had no choice; Sarah wanted to become a lawyer, but had no choice there either. This is one of my favorite books of 2014, a beautifully written story of two women, their struggles with oppression and the horrors of slavery.  

I read in reviews that apparently there's a version of this book that includes distracting notes by Oprah Winfrey. I bought the Kindle version, which does not have the notes. 

The Stars Bleed At Midnight, by Roland Yeomans

In this sequel to Death In the House of Life, the adventures of Texas ranger Sam McCord and his companions continue in the deserts of 19th century Egypt. Sam, his wife Meilori and old friends Samuel Clemens, Oscar Wilde, Ada Byron, and Nikola Tesla set out toward a destination that holds a very different meaning for each of them. Along the way, they encounter strange and otherworldly characters, some undead, some sinister, others not. Roland Yeomans novels are poetic, his English is as beautiful as any you will find in a modern book, and his imagination knows no bounds.  

Part two will follow soon.


On a personal note: Things are not going well here. My husband has become very ill in the past week. We are seeing the liver specialist tomorrow and will find out the results of his MRI then. 

I am not dealing well with this 'not knowing business' and know I will do better once I know what is going on. Reading online, he has symptoms of bile duct obstruction, but who am I to tell, could it also be liver failure, cancer return, HepC flare up.....

Last time the oncologist said if the cancer returns they can treat it again. 

Thanking you all in advance for the good thoughts and prayers I know you will send our way. Will let you know. 


  1. i am sorry, inger. i hope the specialist can tell you what is causing this turn for the worse and i hope it can be treated.

  2. this is indeed not good news. so sorry and I will pray for both of you.. i agree, the not knowing is the part that drives us nuts, with our brains conjuring all kinds of things.. keep us posted.

  3. Sorry if this is a repeat - I lost the other comment while I was writing. I love your book reviews and plan to read some of the those books in the coming year. I hope you are able to determine what is going on with your husband soon. Not knowing is the worst. I will be keeping both of you in my prayers.

  4. Oh Inger I am so very, very sorry! I am praying for you and your husband. Please take care of yourself and let me know how I can be there for you!!!! Sending you a million hugs!

  5. I'm sorry Inger. I hope it's something that is easily treated.

  6. We are so sorry about your hubby--you know how much we love you both!!

  7. Inger, I'm so sorry about the turn of events with your husband's health. It must be discouraging for both of you. I'll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.
    I'm praying that God will give you both hope, peace and courage as you await to get to know what is causing your husband to be so ill.

    I really care even though I'm far away, I'm just a click away really.
    Hugs and Prayers.

    1. I almost forgot to comment on your great book review. You should do this professionally, you do such a great job of it.

  8. Thank you for the update. I am so sorry for your husband's health problems. We are sending you much love and support across the miles.

    P.S.: I've always wanted to read My Antonia.

  9. So sorry to hear your husband is not well. I've said a prayer for him and you too.

  10. I love your reading lists! I enjoy seeing what you're reading and you often have books that I haven't been familiar with, and would more than likely enjoy. And I'm so sorry to hear that your husband isn't doing well. I relate VERY well to your emotional response and not doing well with the waiting. I will be praying for the both of you. I think that the blogging world is an amazing way to bring people together with thought and prayer. There's a connection that isn't easily described to anyone who hasn't been blogging and making friends in this way. I care, Inger, and will be praying for you in this time. ox Debra (breathe lighter)

  11. I hope your unknown gets known quickly so it can be dealt with! (((hugs!))))

    and your selection of books are intriguing - I may have to fire up my nook again!

  12. I so enjoyed your list and The Invention of Wings jumped out at me. Thank you.
    I am so sorry for this set back with your husband. I know you will feel more in control when you know just what is going on and what is needed to help him improve. I'm keeping you both in my prayers.

  13. I'm very sorry things are taking a downturn. I can only say they may well improve so keep your spirits up. My wife had a brain tumor, and I had to take the same roller coaster ride you are on. Our story ended happily and I fervently hope your's will as well.

    You like the same kind of books my wife does.

  14. My thoughts are with you. I hope it's good news from the specialist and I do understand that waiting for results is indeed a hard time. Take care of yourself, remember x

  15. We have very similar tastes in books Inger - I've read several of these, so I must go and check out the others ... I know I"ll love them.
    So sorry about the news about your husband ... the waiting is the worst. Will bel keeping you both in my thoughts. Fil ...

  16. Keep your hopes up and remind yourself of what the oncologist said, They can treat it".

    My heart is with you, dear Inger.

  17. Oh, Inger -- I am so sorry for your troubles. You and your husband are in my heart.

  18. Dear Inger - I am sorry to read this ... I have been thinking of you ... and now will do so even more - with a great many thoughts ... much love and soft gentle hugs as Lenny would say ... Hilary

  19. You put me into too much a distinguished company of writers.

    I am so grieved to hear of your husband's worsening health. You take extra care of yourself since who would watch after you? And stress is not good for diabetes. You are in my heart.

  20. I just finished reading Willa Cather's My Antonia and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a lit major in college, I have no idea how I missed it. How is your husband doing?


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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