Books of 2014

In 2014, I read 71 books throughout the course of the year! For the last several years, I have always set a goal of reading 52+ books per year, and I’m happy I was able to surpass that goal again. Believe me, having a 45 minute metro commute (each way!) helps get a good amount of quality reading time in! Anyway, I devoured so many interesting, fascinating, well-written books throughout the year, and reading has always brought me so much joy. I’m always grateful that I keep a little handwritten journal of all of the books I’ve read so that I can remember them at the year’s end.  I wanted to share with you some of the best books I read in 2014…

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Top Ten Books of 2014

  • The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
  • The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
  • Bread and Wine & Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist
  • Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  • Edge of Eternity, Ken Follett
  • Radical, David Platt
  • The Hundred Foot Journey, Richard C. Morais

Favorite re-reads:

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • East of Eden
  • The Secret Garden
  • Anne of Green Gables

Favorite new authors from this year:

  • Shauna Neiquist
  • Liane Moriarty
  • Jojo Moyes
  • Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Some additional great book recommendations from 2014:

  • The Painted Girls
  • Beautiful Ruins
  • Serena
  • Mrs. Poe
  • The Goldfinch
  • The Lowland
  • The House I Loved
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
  • Wild
  • Flat Water Tuesday
  • One Plus One
  • Happiness at Home
  • Frog Music
  • Big Little Lies
  • 7
  • The Mockingbird Next Door
  • The Vacationers
  • Start Something that Matters
  • State of Wonder
  • An Invisible Thread

What do you think of my book recommendations?! Do you wholeheartedly agree or disagree with any of my superlative picks? I would love to hear your thoughts!

What books are on your 2015 reading list? I can’t wait to get started with some new books soon… my queue at the library is filling up quickly!

A year ago, I wrote about my favorite (and least favorite) books of 2013, so be sure to check out that post with many other books recommendations and thoughts!

Recent Reads | 3

I realized I hadn’t updated y’all on some recent books I’ve read! I’ve definitely surpassed my annual goal of reading 52 books a year, and here is a snippet of a variety of books read in the last month or two. Let me know what you’re reading and loving, as my queue at the library is needing some additions!books1The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

So good! This has been a hot book this year, especially in book clubs, and I really loved it. In fact, I realized how much I enjoy Liane Moriarty’s writing style and plot lines, and I’ve since devoured all of her other books this year! The Husband’s Secret has tons of mystery and suspense, and it’s hard to describe it without giving too much of the story away. I would definitely recommend you read this one – it’s an easy chick lit book but with so much more depth and thought than you’d expect. It was hard to put this one down!

Happier at Home – Gretchen Rubin

I really liked The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin’s first book on this subject, and her follow-up book, Happier at Home, is also good! Gretchen Rubin dives into much more depth about how you need your home to be a happy place full of contentment (in whatever way that is for you!). She explores the big and little changes she makes in her home to bring about more happiness – as the home is the most important facet in determining her happiness. It’s a very systematic, research-based approach to finding more happiness within her home, and there is a smattering of great takeaways in this book.

Frog Music – Emma Donoghue

Frog Music is an interesting book, and it’s based off of a true crime story. It was a book club selection for our group, and we’d read the author’s book, Room, for my very first book club meeting years ago. This was a fascinating, twisted story that takes place out in San Francisco during the 1876 heat wave, revolving around a murder mystery and a burlesque dancer. It was pretty fascinating and a good book, but not quite as gripping or great as Room was. I’d give it a try, as it’s really interesting and full of so many shady, intriguing characters.

The Truth about Style – Stacy London

Stacy London’s book, The Truth About Style, was highly recommended by my sister and a couple other people – and I really liked it! I’ve always thought that Stacy, of What Not to Wear fame, was great at what she does, and I admire her style, personality, and reasons & heart behind doing what she does. Stacy shares pretty much her entire personal history, including her struggle with self-esteem, confidence, and her body. She is witty, smart, and innately knows fashion and style – and why personal style is so important for every single woman. Stacy gives so much great insight & shares so much knowledge on the subject, and I loved the depth – and hilarity – of this book. Women would gain a lot of wisdom from Stacy, regardless of who you are!

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The Hundred Foot Journey – Richard C. Morias

I forget where I first heard about The Hundred Foot Journey, but it was well before the movie came out! I really liked this book, and I can’t wait to (eventually) see the movie adaptation of it, too. I’ve always loved books that revolve around good food and good cooking, and this book included both so well. A quiet Indian boy’s family moves to a small town in the French Alps, and his loud, rambunctious father opens up an Indian restaurant a hundred feet away – across the street – from a pretentious, high-class French restaurant with a renowned chef. I loved reading about how the two cultures differed vastly… but also shared some commonalities, in the end. It was an easy, inspiring read, and so much of the description made my mouth water! A trip to France is in my near future, I think!

Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables has long, long been one of my penultimate reads, and I love delving into this book over and over again (especially with such a gorgeous edition of the book!). Anne is the ultimate dreamer, and I admire this characteristic of her personality so much. She the eternal optimist (as I tend to be), and Anne is so full of mirth, adventure, some melodrama, and truly finding joy in the world that she lives in. I think we can all learn a lesson or ten from Anne and her personality. I know I certainly have over my lifetime, and re-reading this book always makes me happy and optimistic feeling about life in general. Plus, the flowery descriptions of the landscape and seasons is so beautiful! Everyone should read this classic; it’s been a favorite of mine since childhood!

The Mockingbird Next Door – Marja Mills

The Mockingbird Next Door was a must-read as soon as I heard about it. To Kill a Mockingbird is, again, one of my very favorite books in the world, and Harper Lee, the author has been pretty silent for the last fifty+ years. This is the first time she’s opened up to a reporter since her inaugural, best-selling, beloved book debuted in 1960. Harper Lee has really never talked to or opened up to a reporter since then, leaving her as quite the mystery. She lives an incredibly private life in Monroeville, AL, surrounded by just her closest lifelong friends and her sister. The author of The Mockingbird Next Door, Marja Mills, somehow cracked through and gained some incredible first-hand knowledge of Harper Lee, know to her friends as Nelle. She moved in next door, with the Lee sisters’ blessing, and spent many years of her life becoming friends with the sisters, in which they opened up to her about their lives and history. So fascinating! You should definitely check this book out – and read more about the controversy surrounding the release of this book, too!

Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie

I think most everyone knows about TOMS and its mission (one for one!), and I love this brand! Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, is one inspiration guy, and I’m so glad he shared his thoughts and the deeper story about TOMS in this book, Start Something that Matters. It was a quick read but a great one. The business model behind TOMS is unique, and I love it. It’s a revolutionary business that is for-profit but gives so much back, and the TOMS business seemingly grows exponentially each year. This also means so many more shoes and eyeglasses and money is given back to those who need it! This book was very inspiring, creative, and filled with ideas for doing good, something that I’m passionate about.

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