Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Best Books I read in 2014

2014 was a great year for me in almost every sense, including literary wise. Although this was the year I graduated from university and as a result spent the first months of it writing my dissertation, I still found plenty of time to read other books than the ones dedicated to French foreign policy. Without further ado, here are just five of the best books I read in 2014…

Marie Antoinette by Stefan Zweig
2014 will forever be the year that I finally reached for a book by the great Stefan Zweig. Although I have been intending to do so for quite some time, it was not till I went to the Conciergerie in Paris, that I decided it was time to read Zweig's book on France’s last queen. Zweig is a literary genius, who writes about real people, the way other authors write fiction – it is compelling, all consuming, vivid and addicting. As a history buff, I was well aware of a lot of the aspects from Marie Antoinette’s life, and still my interest in her story only grew bigger and bigger with every page. Zweig gives us a great portrayal of the Queen of France, probably the truest one we are ever going to get – beautifully written, this is a thorough study on the Austrian princess.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If there is one word to describe this one it would be addictive. Even though I was amongst the first ones to watch Gone Girl as it hit the cinemas, my interest in the book grew even bigger as I already knew the whole story. And rest assure that the film did not take anything away from the experience of reading it (well, I was spoilt for the ending, but that was a minor price to be paid). For everything else I think on Gone Girl, here is my full review.

The Girl at the Lion d’Or by Sebastian Faulks
Now this one is a beauty! Sebastian Faulks is a writer, loved by many as the author of Birdsong. However, I would definitely recommend to any romance lover with a preference for classics to give The Girl at the Lion d’Or a read as well. A palette of colourful characters, complimented by a masterful narrative, this is quintessentially one of the more believable love stories out there. Set in a little French village in the transitional time between the two world wars, The Girl at the Lion d’Or is one of those pieces of historical fiction that has the power to take you away from your own world and put you in a place you never knew you wanted to visit, but feels strangely compelling. More of my thoughts on it here.

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
This one is probably the one I had most fun reading and if you have seen the movie by the same name, you will know why. However, The Wolf of Wall Street is so much more than just a humorous look at Jordan Belfort’s wealthy lifestyle. It is a very honest and detailed autobiography that tells you things about Jordan’s life that maybe you did not need to know, but that help painting a full picture of one self-destructive existence. Once again, money does not equal easy living or a happy, problem-free time. More on why I love the book, right here.

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case by Agatha Christie
As an avid Agatha Christie reader, I was postponing reading that one for quite a while. After reading numerous of books, featuring the clever little Belgian detective, it is inevitable that one would grow to love the character and eventually find oneself being too attached to it. But sooner or later great things have to come to an end. Curtain is a great crime novel and, to me, one of Christie’s best as it still manages to fool you and surprise you at the end. Unsurprisingly, also one of the saddest ones – definitely the book that made me cry in 2014.
A full review coming soon.

Thank you for reading! Whoever you are, have a great New Year full of brilliant moments and even more brilliant books!

Mira x

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