Here are my monthly top reads from January to June, with the rest of the year to follow at a later date.
The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond
This is a really interesting non-fiction book about what we in the modern world can learn from traditional societies, and the way we lived for most of human history. It covers child care, war, the elderly, health and religion and it made me think about the way I live my own life.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
In a dystopian society, human emotion has been controlled so that no one suffers. But is a life without experience, even negative experience and pain, worth living? Does our emotional pain make us who we are? I really enjoyed this classic sci-fi novel, as it combined really interesting concepts and stories with a fast moving plot.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Dana, a modern African American, is flung back through time to the slave-era South. This is a really interesting look at slavery that doesn't shy away from complex situations and moral ambiguities, I need to pick up more Butler in 2015.
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
Kitty must accompany her husband into a cholera-stricken area of China as punishment for having an affair. All of the characters in this novel are immensely unlikeable, but the character growth and development is superb.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
An unflinching look at the life of Darling, growing up in a shanty town in an unnamed African country. She dreams of moving to America, but when she actually gets the opportunity, it's not all she thought it would be. Darling is one of the best protagonists I've read all year.
The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker
I love stories that blend fantasy into the real world, and this one follows Chava, a golem made out of clay to be a bride, and Ahmad, a djinni accidentally released into nineteenth century New York. This book is so atmospheric and magical, and I just adored it.
Have you read any of these books, or do you want to?
Also, if you've done a 'top reads of 2014' list, I'd love to hear about it!