The Top Selling Book of 2014 was…

Honestly, if someone gave me all of three guesses I bet I could name three books out of the top ten best selling books of 2014. And I bet most of you could easily get at least one. Why? Because the YA trend is only continuing. Sure there was that ridiculous Slate article (that I won’t link to) that said YA shouldn’t be read by adults. Or something like that, I never got around to reading the whole thing. YA sells. And maybe it doesn’t make up as much of the total number of books as some might think, but when you’re talking mega bestsellers we all know they’re going to easily make those lists.

Now time for the guessing game. Which books do you think were amongst the ten best selling of the year? Come on. I’ll give you a minute to think it over.

LA LA LA

Me singing.

Okay. For the purposes of this list Nielsen only included print editions of books, and hardcovers and paperbacks count as distinct titles. Which is why the same title can appear multiple times within the top ten. Now I’m just going to show you the list.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (paperback)

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth (paperback)

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (paperback)

4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (paperback)

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (hardcover)

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (movie tie in, paperback)

7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (paperback)

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (hardcover)

9. Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly (hardcover)

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green (paperback)

When I look at the list I see the same thing I saw on the Twitter list of the year’s most mentioned books. I see John Green on top of the literary world at the moment. And I see Veronica Roth trying to take his title. Want to know what I don’t see? I don’t see any surprises. No random self published book. No unknown author miraculously making the list. It was a good year for book sales, and it was a good year for YA mega bestsellers.

What do you think of the best selling books of 2014? Surprised by any of these?

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My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

The Top Ten Books of 2014…on Twitter

BookVibe has compiled a list of books most mentioned on Twitter in 2014. Might as well just get into the list because I’m sure you’re more interested in the ten books than any preceding comments I have.

10. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

I suppose it would be unwise to think that a list like this wouldn’t include some classics, right? I mean, don’t high school kids have to read this? Maybe?

9. 1984 – George Orwell

I don’t know if high schoolers are reading this, but I’m not particularly surprised by it.

8. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton

Hey. This is a definite surprise to me. It’s obvious that this made the list because of the new movie coming out next summer, but it is still nice to see people talking about it (even though we’re coming up on movie four and there are only two books.) But I read this in high school and then read the second one. Enjoyed both.

7. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Haven’t read this one, but I know it’s popular. My only question is if her real name is really Rainbow. And I actually know the titles of all of her books even though I haven’t read any of them. That’s cool.

6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

When a book is adapted into a major movie that immediately gets some awards buzz going, well it’s hard to imagine a world in which Twitter isn’t right on board with that. Still haven’t read this, though I’m about 90 percent sure I know what happens. Eh.

5. Hannibal – Thomans Harris

Okay.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Obviously an American classic, but wasn’t this book just released as an e-book for the first time this year? Maybe that helped?

3. Looking for Alaska – John Green

I would have to go back and take a look at my banned books post, but I think this made the list. Cause I know it was published a few years ago and I figured that two of his other books would make this list over this one. Hm. What do I know?

2. A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

There is absolutely nothing for me to say about this. Who wouldn’t expect this?

1. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Well it sure looks like John Green is right at the top of the literary world at the moment. Heck, this is the only book on the list I read in 2014. And he has another movie coming out next June. And is there anyone out there who doesn’t think his other works will be adapted at some point? Doubt it. I still would just like to mention that I have the same initials as John Green. Cause that somehow matters. This book actually had more than double the mentions on Twitter as the second book on the list. Sheesh.

So that’s it! The top ten books of 2014 on Twitter. Any surprises?

The Best of 2014: Books I read

I began this series of posts yesterday by telling y’all about the best bloggers I know. Today we’re going to talk about the best books I read in 2014. Although not over yet, it’ll be my worst reading year since high school. I’ve only made it through seven books. Seven. Oh well. But there were some standouts among those seven that I do want to talk about. Remember these are NOT books released in 2014 but books I read in 2014.

#1 The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

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I read this book as part of my journey to read every book on Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This isn’t really a book. It’s her diary, as you well know. And maybe that’s why it really hit me like it did. She takes you through every emotion imaginable and she does so in such an eloquent manner that you can’t help but be impressed by her grasp of the written word. She’s able to take you back to one of the worst periods the world has ever known, and she does it while in hiding. It’s a remarkable work that everyone should read.

I currently have this book ranked #1 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. There’s no doubt that it will stay there for some time. Here’s the post I wrote the day after finishing it.

#2 The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly

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Michael Connelly is right near the top of my favorite authors and I’ve never once been disappointed by one of his Bosch novels. The Drop is no exception. Bosch is working two cases at once. One is the death of a city councilman’s son and the other is a cold case. That’s all I’ll say. It’s vintage Bosch and I already have the next book in the series on my shelf.

I currently have this book ranked #13 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. One spot ahead of the third and final book on the list.

#3 The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

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I don’t need to tell you anything about this book because you’ve probably already read it and made up your own mind about the story itself. This was the first time I’d read any YA title since Mockingjay in 2012. I really enjoyed this book. Yeah I thought Gus was too perfect and I thought the way he talked to Hazel was a little too much for a couple of teens, but those are pretty minor things. I loved them both as characters and John Green got millions of people to read about a tricky subject.

I currently have this book ranked #14 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. Here’s the post I wrote about it earlier this year.

So that’s it! Those are the three best books I read this year! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just missed being included in the list. I won’t ask if you’ve read these titles because you’ve almost certainly read at least two of them, but I would like to know what your top reads of the year were. Tell me now.

Judging Books by Their Movies

I’m starting to forget what I’ve written about over the last few months. I think this is post number 270 or 271 and the vast majority of those have come from February until now. But I’m confident I haven’t touched on this topic just yet. I don’t think.

Okay. We all know about judging books by their covers because everyone does it. We also are likely familiar with judging books by their authors because we do that too. But what about judging books by their movies? What do you think? Think you judge books by their movies? Or maybe you view them as separate entities?

This is where I tell you which side of the fence I fall on. Hm. Interestingly enough, I’m actually okay with this. Don’t go gasping away before giving me the chance to explain. There have been a number of wildly successful adaptations in recent years, but we should all know of the even greater number of films that have been flat out horrible. As in, what-kind-of-studio-would-ever-want-to-adapt-this-for-film horrible. But literary adaptations aren’t going anywhere.

The Hunger Games movies have been adapted quite well, in my opinion. As were the Potter films and John Green’s mega-bestseller The Fault in Our Stars. The LOTR films are probably my favorite adaptations ever. Gone Girl was released just last week to critical acclaim.

But you know the movies that are good and those that aren’t, so I won’t continue with my little list there. But am I the only person who thinks there may be a correlation between the quality of the book and the quality of the theatrical adaptation? I know not everyone loves every book or movie, but it seems to me that books that are nearly universally liked adapt well into film. Not because people like the book, but because it’s high quality. Sometimes the book is higher quality than the movie, but only once can I think of the movie actually being better than the book.

For instance, the Twilight movies were not very good at all. I’ll admit to having seen every one of them, but come on. The Hobbit movies are not on par with the book. Bad movies can come from bad books. And bad movies can come from great books. But great movies do not come from bad books. It just doesn’t happen. That’s the point that I’m trying to make.

If you see a bad movie adapted from a book, then you may or may not choose to go read the book to compare the two. But if you see a truly great movie adapted from a book, then you absolutely need to read the book because you’ll likely enjoy it even more than the movie. Even though you’ve likely already read it.

Have you ever judged a book by its movie? And do you agree that great movies typically come from great books?

Read a Banned Book This Week

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Photo Credit: EventKeeper

I think Banned Books Week actually began yesterday, but I was too busy writing about candlelight to remember that I wanted to write a post about it. Whoops.

So, it’s officially Banned Books Week 2014. Don’t you think this week should be a bit more celebrated than it is? I mean, I would be willing to put a whole lot of money on the fact that no one in my family even knows about it. I wish someone would give me that opportunity so I could become an instant millionaire. But no, no one has asked me to bet any money. It’s an unfortunate occurrence. But now you get to hear about it from me.

Each year the American Library Association releases its annual list of most challenged books. These challenges are not astronomical numbers, but they do happen and come from religious groups, parents, and sometimes even teachers. Don’t be misled by the name of the annual list or by the name of the week itself. These books aren’t banned, just challenged. Well I guess technically some books are actually banned in other parts of the world where banned books is a real thing, but that has nothing to do with what I’m writing here.

So the ALA releases its list relatively early in the year and then celebrates Banned Books Week a little later on. Now I know what you’re wondering. How can you celebrate? Simple, read a book from the list. Or two. Or the top ten. Here’s a refresher of the current list of the most banned books.

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian bu Sherman Alexie

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

6.  A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

9. Bless me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

So there you have the top ten. And if you’re in a celebratory mood and feel like reading one of the books listed, then I’d suggest tackling #5. But that’s just me.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

Also, if you’re interested in my thoughts about each book on the list, check out this post from earlier this year in which I discuss each book.

Can you Name a Single Favorite Author?

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Photo Credit: 3rd Grade’s a Hoot

In the last few months I’ve talked about my favorite series of books and also my favorite protagonist, but does that necessarily mean that the author of those books is my favorite? I don’t know. Actually, I do. No it doesn’t. If you missed that post I’ll link to it at the end of this, but let’s just say that my favorite series revolves around my favorite protagonist who sometimes goes by the Girl on Fire. I sincerely hope that you know who she is. If not, your life is probably a mess. Just kidding. Not really.

Okay. So now I have to dive into who I think is my single favorite author. If it’s possible to have a single favorite. This is one of those questions that always depends on when you ask. I’d be willing to bet that many people today would name John Green or Veronica Roth as their favorite. Understandable, but I don’t think one’s favorite author should always be changing. I’ve had just two books make the top of my best books read list since I first started it. I think the list has over 120 titles. See, I think one’s favorite author should be treated similarly. If they are truly your favorite, then they should remain so for some time. Not two weeks until you read the next book you deem to be the best ever.

So now that I’ve eliminated Suzanne Collins from the competition, let me see who else might make the top of the pile. Robert B. Parker. I think by the time I’m 35 or 40 I’ll have every book he ever wrote. The number is around 70 divided between several different series. But I don’t think he’s my favorite. Marcus Sakey. He has a handful of books that were truly great. I actually remember the story of every one. Somewhat. But his two most recent books are part of a trilogy that I’ll never read. Much too sci-fi for me when he’s a crime writer. I think there are only two more authors who are seriously in the running for the coveted title of John Guillen’s Favorite Author Award.

Michael Connelly. This guy just does not know how to write a mediocre novel. Harry Bosch is probably the best detective series I’ve read. I’ve also read one of his Mickey Haller novels, great. I really have nothing negative to say about his writing style or any of his books.

Robert Crais. He’s here because of Elvis Cole, who heavily influenced my own Andrew Banks. Again, nothing negative to say about any of his books I’ve read. It took me a long time to start the series because of the title of the first book. I kept hesitating to take a chance, but the climax of that first one was so intense that it was one of those rare times when you can’t read the words fast enough.

After a lot of thought, I can’t pick a winner. These two are the best of the best when it comes to crime fiction today. I deem the competition a tie.

But maybe you can. Do you have a single favorite author who isn’t just whomever is in the spotlight at the moment?

What’s That one Series of Books You Won’t Forget?