Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books I Read in 2014

  • Welcome to the annual Elf Army Writes book review post of 2014! Yay!

Disclaimer: All of these ratings are awarded based on how much I would recommend the book--not how good I think the book is. For example, Fifty Shades of Grey has 2/3 stars because while it's a ridiculous book, it's also (in my opinion) fantastic erotica. I'll add the authors of books with ** or above, and provide links to and reviews of *** books. NF = Non-Fiction.

    = I would tell you not to read this book
  *=  I would not tell you to put this book back on the shelf.
 **= I would hand this book to you.

  • *Acting: The First Six Lessons--NF
  • *Aeneid
  • *Applying Cultural Anthropology: An Introductory Reader--NF
  • **Battle for the Mind--NF by William Sargant
  • Biological Anthropology--NF
  • **Blasted by Sarah Kane
  • *Constant State of Desire, The
  • *Crimes of the Heart
  • *Cults in Our Midst--NF
  • Field Projects in Anthropology--NF
  • *Fifty Shades Darker
  • **Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Ghost Dance, The--NF
  • **Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The by Stieg Larsson
  • **Girl Who Played With Fire, The by Stieg Larsson
  • **Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • *Hush
  • **In The Next Room (or, The Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl
  • *Innocent Anthropologist, The--NF
  • Lab Manual and Workbook For Physical Anthropology--NF
  • *Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology--NF
  • *Making Sense of Language: Readings in Culture and Communication--NF
  • ***Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson 
  • **Outliers--NF by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Past in Perspective, The--NF
  • *Peyote Hunt--NF
  • ***Pillowman, The by Martin McDonagh
  • **Serpent and the Rainbow, The--NF by Wade Davis
  • *Shades of Milk and Honey
  • ***Smartest Kids in the World, The--NF by Amanda Ripley
  • **Squid Nation^
  • *St. Martin's Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, The--NF
  • *Suddenly Last Summer
  • **Venus in Fur
  • *Woman in the Body, The--NF by David Ives

^Squid Nation is an unpublished novella by my friend Caleb that I'm including here because I ~think~ he does intend to try and revise it for publication. I thought it was hilarious.


Every year I've written a Books I Read post (that's since 2010), there's always at least one *** book that's just an incredibly fun fantasy novel. This is that book. The magic system is super cool, the characters are awesome, it's not pornographic so everyone can give it to their kids without worry--it's just super, super great. I was busy with school when I first started reading it, so that went slowly, but once spring break hit I sped through the rest in a day or two.


This play blew my mind. My boyfriend and I both read it in a single afternoon. It's the story of a writer under interrogation for a series of murders intermeshed with the writer's own short stories, and it's hilarious and scary and heartbreaking and thought-provoking all at once.


This is just a really important book. A journalist decided to investigate what makes the most educationally successful countries just so successful and did this in part by working closely with teenage exchange students. It's absolutely fascinating, and the timeline happens to line up in such a way that the three students all came up through the U.S. school system at the same time as I did. A must-read for anyone in education, anyone currently getting educated, or anyone who does or plans on having a kid who will be educated.