Top Ten Tuesday (94): Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: A unique narrative voice, a town full of magic and kindness, and diverse characters all make this middle-grade special.

2. I Am Otter by Sam Garton: Otter’s undefeatable spirit as well as her otter-logic lend this story a unique charm.

3. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare: Full of strong women from the dignified Hermione to the sharp-tongued Paulina.  Only the women in this tale dare stand up to the mad king!

4. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri: Books upon books have been written about Dante, trying to explain just what makes his work so beautiful and so special.

5. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien: Full of rare beauty, a thing of wonder and of mingled joy and sorrow.  We’ll probably never see its like again.

6. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien: The epic history behind The Lord of the Rings, full of even more wonder and beauty.  Some people find it complicated, but it is worth the effort!

7. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle: A beautiful but sad story.

8. Shakepeare’s Language by Frank Kermode: I don’t typically review Shakespeare criticism on the blog, but I read it for fun and enjoy it, usually where people can’t make fun of me.

9. Beowulf by J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. by Christopher Tolkien: A powerful prose translation of the now (thanks in part to Tolkien) famous poem.

10. Empire of Bones by N. D. Wilson: A powerful story about love and sacrifice, chock full of adventure and a large cast of amazing women and characters of color.

18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday (94): Books I Read in 2014

    • Krysta says:

      I’ve never liked Seamus Heaney’s version. (In fact, I sort of hate it, but I tend to keep that to myself so as not to rain on the parade of all its fans.) Tolkien’s version is, in my mind, far superior and, though in prose, probably a more accurate translation. (I’m guessing–I can’t read Old English.) My understanding is that Tolkien used prose so he could be more faithful to the text (and you see that in some weird inversions that I assume are in the original). Heaney tries to be faithful by using verse, but I question some of his word choices–they don’t seem authentic to me–and I highly suspect that his need to keep the structure of the verse was a major barrier to translation. I would choose Tolkien every time.


    • Krysta says:

      The first time I attempted The Silmarillion I was rather daunted, but this reread went pretty smoothly. Maybe once you’ve been in Tolkien’s world for awhile and already have some familiarity with the names and histories, it gets easier? That’s what I would like to think! I still get confused by how all the Elves are related to each other, though, and the shifting alliances are quite troublesome for me to keep track of. Also, sometimes a character reappears and I forget momentarily who he is. But, otherwise, smooth sailing! (At least the Valar are all relatively straight in my mind! That has to count for something.)


    • Krysta says:

      I love The Silmarillion and I’m always sad to see people who try to convince other people not to read it because it’s too “difficult” or “dry” or some other adjective.


    • Krysta says:

      Funnily enough, I hadn’t read the book before the first movie came out and all the merchandising surrounding the film was offputting to me. But then I actually read the book and realized I loved it, weird moving merchandise aside. 😀


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