It’s been quite the year on the reading front. I read twenty-four books in total, which means I met my goal of two books a month. (Yay!) Some of the books I read this year were fantastic, some were just good, and some were less than stellar. Instead of listing them all, which would make for a VERY long blog post, I decided to feature the standouts. Listed below, in no particular order, are my top six books of the year.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The very first book I read this year. Some would say I was being overly ambitious but it really set the tone for the rest of the year. Honestly, I was dreading this one and it didn’t get off to the most auspicious start (the story begins with Jane’s traumatic childhood experiences) but I ended up really loving it, despite its being such a strange, dark story. Jane is an inspiring, strong female character who rises above her circumstances and refuses to compromise her principles. The twists and turns in the plot will definitely keep you guessing up until the very last page.
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
I’m a huge fan of L.M. Montgomery’s writing style and deeply in love with Anne of Green Gables and the rest of the series, so I’m rather ashamed to say I didn’t know the Emily books even existed until I saw this lovely print. I picked this book up when I had a desperate craving for some Montgomery but didn’t want to finish the Anne series yet. Secretly, I worried I was being disloyal to my beloved Carrots. But to my relief, I absolutely loved the book and was delighted to find a kindred spirit in Emily. Whether you’re already a Montgomery devotee or just dipping your toes in, Emily of New Moon is a treat.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Somehow I didn’t read this beloved classic until this year. A travesty, I know. For some reason I was convinced I wouldn’t like it; science fiction isn’t really my thing. I was so wrong. This book was a page-turner with hidden depths. I was totally spellbound. Not only is it an exciting tale of adventure with top-notch characters, but it carries a beautiful message about the power of love. I was spellbound and the rest of the books in the series are now on my TBR list.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
This was a quick, light read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was witty and brilliant and really, really funny. Through satire, Wilde illuminates the idiosyncrasies of late-19th Century society. This is basically the Victorian stage version of my favorite sitcoms, which is probably why I ended up liking it so much. And there’s a delightful play on words with the title that ties into the story, which I won’t spoil for you!
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
This was my second Cather novel and I found it fascinating. The characters are intriguing, sure, but it was the historical aspect that really interested me. The story takes place right after the Arizona and New Mexico Territories were acquired by the United States. The main character, Bishop Latour, is tasked with establishing a new Catholic diocese, and must navigate relationships with Mexican settlers as well as the native tribes. It was a beautiful and thought provoking read.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I saved the best for last… This might just have been my favorite book of the year, which is saying a lot! It’s pretty much the best coming of age story I’ve ever read, and a testament to the resilience of life and the tireless search for truth and beauty. Betty Smith’s writing is exquisite. I loved pretty much everything about this book, except for the ending. Not because it was poorly written or sad, but because I’d become so attached to the main character at that point that I was just dying to know what happened next! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this one.