14 Books to Read in 2014

Hello from snowy St. Louis! I’m enjoying a nice Sunday filled with a Law & Order SUV marathon, blogging, coffee & lounging with my roommates. To say I’m feeling great would be an understatement. This is bliss, man. Bliss, I tell ya.

Which brings me to blog about one of my favorite topics: Books! 

There were a few that I really enjoyed  in 2013 and wanted to share with you guys, so I picked my top 14 from last year and made a list, with a super short review and quick links to purchase the books.

Many of the books in this list have been talked about on All Things E before, so I linked to my reviews as well.

My taste in books this past year was different than in the past – I read a lot more non-fiction that I ever have before.

Where I went through a long phase of reading Drama, Fantasy and Young Adult fiction in previous years, this year I got really into books about Creativity, Self Improvement, Memoirs and Humor.

There are a few on this list that I listened to on Audible. I’m a big fan of Audible for long car rides, mindless task completion and exercise listening. I’ve found the subscription price to be totally worth it. Check it out here.

Also, if you’re interested in my “To Read” List for 2014, you can now check that out HERE. I like to think there’s something for everyone on this list. Therefore, in no particular order:

14 Books to Read in 2014


1. I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan

A memoir that stars one of our favorite childhood heroes, Mister Rogers. Tim’s heartfelt account of their relationship warmed my heart, made me cry and taught me about love, friendship, pride and compassion. (Plus, Tim was unbelievably kind to me after I published my initial review, which was really awesome.) Movie coming soon! My Review |  Buy on Amazon  

2. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

One word: HILARIOUS. Jenny Lawson came to fame as The Bloggess. Her book is a humorous memoir of her life written in her witty, personable style. I listened to this one on Audible (it was recommended to me by one of my favorite bloggers/Twitter friends) and was laughing out loud for most of it. Buy on Amazon | Author Blog  

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I’ve talked and talked and talked about this book time and again. It is THAT good. It will completely open your eyes to how habits rule your life. Charles Duhigg is an investigative reporter (and a really good one) so the story-telling in this book far outweighs the “self-help” aspect of it. This is one that I keep coming back to over and over again. Plus, he recently released the paperback version! My Review | Buy on Amazon  

4.  Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Creative types: this should be required reading. It’ll help you realize that ideas are everywhere and that the creative process isn’t as scary as it seems. PLUS, this book is a collection of illustrations and doodles. It’s beautiful to look at and really enjoyable to read. I follow the author on Twitter and Instagram now and he’s great! My Review | Buy on Amazon | Author Website  

5. Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre De Rouche

Love and adventure. Adventure and love. A real-life memoir of a sail around the world by two young lovers. It is so great. This is another one that I read after enjoying the author’s blog, The Fearful Adventurer. My Review | Buy on Amazon | Author Blog  

6. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg’s book was probably one of the most talked about in 2013 and for good reason. Heading into 2013, I would probably have hesitated to call myself a feminist, but now, I AM A FEMINIST. Not only as a result of this book, but also as a result of what I would consider a new and more refreshing collection of feminist writing and discussion that has come about as a result of this book. I gave my copy to my dad to read and can’t wait to hear what he thinks. Buy on Amazon | Author Website  

7. End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Ah, family love. This year, the stories that touched me the most and made my heartache were stories of raw, endearing family love. This memoir recounts the relationship between a son and his mother at the end of her life as she battles cancer. My Review | Buy on Amazon

8. The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry

Another book for the creative types out there, The Accidental Creative is designed to help you stay sharp, especially in today’s workplace. Henry is a consultant for creative companies and his work is fantastic – I’ve been listening to his podcast for quite some time now.

Simply thinking about how we practice creativity and putting practices in place that allow us to create great work consistently has made a lot of difference for me at work (and hey – I got a promotion on Friday, so it’s obviously paying off!). Buy on Amazon | Author Website

9. How to Be Interesting by Jessica Hagy

If you’ve ever read my About page, you know that I found life after college to be impossibly boring. Probably because was impossibly boring. I saw this book on the shelf several times before I picked it up and when I finally did, it became one of my favorite books of the year.

Just like Steal Like an Artist, it’s a collection of thought-provoking illustrations. I’ll be coming back to this again and again. Buy on Amazon  |  Author Website

10. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

It’s no secret I’m newly into minimalism. Streamlining my wardrobe, decluttering my bedroom, making more intentional purchases and striving to want less has become a big part of my life.

This book was definitely the catalyst that started it all. It’s quick and easy to read. Get ready to immediately start clearing out your clutter after reading. My Review | Buy on Amazon

11. Tribes by Seth Godin

I have drunk the Kool-Aid and love Seth Godin. In Tribes, he gets to the core of WHY we behave the way we do, especially with regard to influencing groups (which applies a lot to online community building).

Some of his ideas in this book were chilling observations of work in America today. Tribes was eye-opening and so well-written. Buy on Amazon | Author Blog

12. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

One time, my sister told me that Mindy Kaling reminded her of me and I have yet to receive a better compliment to date. Though she isn’t for everyone, I find Mindy to be absolutely hilarious and delightfully real.

I read this book on the beach in Hawaii and loved it. If you’re a fan of Tina Fey’s Bossypants, you’ll love Mindy’s book too. My Review | Buy on Amazon

13. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tears. ALL THE TEARS. They’re making this into a movie and when I go see it, I’ll be bringing a big box of Kleenex for everyone in the theater to share. Kids, cancer, love. I read it in one sitting. Four hours. Three days of depression followed.

I highly recommend it if you want to feel ALL THE FEELINGS. My Review | Buy on Amazon

14. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I am actually in the middle of this book as I write this list. Daring Greatly is a book that has been wildly popularized by the Internet as a result of the author’s TEDx talking going viral. I find it fascinating because she researches the emotions of shame and vulnerability. And her work has already completely opened my eyes to so many relationship dynamics I never realized were rooted in those emotions. People in relationships (married, engaged and dating) should really read this. I think we all would be better at understanding and loving our partners. Buy on Amazon | Author Website

Have you guys read any of these? What did you think?


  • I read Daring Greatly last year and it really opened my eyes and changed how I view things. I wish I could get my mom to read it (or anyone in my family really- we were raised with shame looming around every corner). So powerful.

    I’m interested in the book about Mr. Rogers- I’ve heard so many good things, and I remember reading your review and the lovely comment from the author.

    I’m curious to know what’s on your to-read list for 2014! So far, I’m going with the flow, but I think I want to dig into Marianne WIlliamson’s A Return to Love.

    • Totally agree with you about Daring Greatly – I just want everyone to read it (so far!).

      I’m Proud of You was really good – emotional for me, but really great. Tim Madigan, the author, was SO unbelievably sweet to me after I wrote the review – he commented on the post, shared it with his Facebook community and exchanged emails with me for a bit – it was really really great, so I love promoting that book – it’s definitely a genuine account. I can’t wait for the movie!

      I love Marianne Williamson – I may need to add that one to the list! 🙂

  • What a great bunch of recommendations! Most of these I haven’t heard of and those that I have have gotten rave reviews. The boutique where I work carried Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and I read a good chunk of it during my lunch breaks. I loved what I read (and would love to read the entirety.) I’ll definitely be adding some of these to my reading list in 2014.

    • Awesome! I think Mindy is hilarious. Plus the book gives such a cool back-stage look at writing for a show like SNL. So neat!

  • Alex Masica says:

    Love this list, Erika! I’ve read four of them and have many others already synced with my Kindle.

    My favorite, hands down, is Lean In. I finished it about a month ago and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I need to write down all of my feelings (mostly positive) so I can actually have an intelligent conversation with people about it. Right now, a lot of “umms” and “uhhhhs” are coming out because I have no idea how to convert my thoughts into words.

    Can’t wait to share your post a little later on Better with Family 🙂

    • I felt the exact same way about Lean In. I think I wrote like 4 different blog posts about it and all of them felt very rambly so they didn’t get published. Regardless, such a great book. And yes! Thank you! I’ll definitely check it out on Better with Family 🙂

  • LoverOfTheLight says:

    I’m currently reading The Book Thief, so that’ll be my first of the year. Amazing book, highly recommended.
    Thanks for the list, my next will be the The Fault In Our Stars. =)
    Happy 2014 readings!

    • I have heard a lot of good things about The Book Thief – I might just have to add that to my “to read” list! Especially since it’ll be a movie soon! I hope you love The Fault in Our Stars 🙂

  • THIS IS AMAZING. Thank you, thank you, thank you. One of my goals in 2014 is to read more books … and I know this is silly but I never know where to start. I would definitely enjoy reading a list that has more of your picks!

    • Yayyy! Happy reading! 🙂 I’ll definitely share my “To Read” list next month! 🙂

  • esther julee says:

    Great list of books! I’ve only read lean in. I’ve been wanting to check out power of habit, and the joy of less sounds interesting to me bc I’m trying to be more minimalistic. I’d like to see your upcoming list. Do you have goodreads? 🙂

    • esther julee says:

      oh wait.. i’ve read 12 and 13 too 🙂

    • Ah three of my favorites, all in one comment! I do have Goodreads… but do a terrible job of updating it. Here’s my profile if you want to connect (maybe I’ll be better at updating in 2014!) https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/19983288 🙂

      • esther julee says:

        Just added you. 🙂 Yeah.. I’ve had my off moments.. but I think I am updating it more now that I know some people have been looking at it for updates.

  • Erika, I love the new year because I get to start composing my list of books to gobble in the next 12 months! You have some awesome choices here. I had all sorts of interesting conversations with myself and others when I read Daring Greatly and Lean in, in particular. I will be super excited to read your reviews on those. The Power of Habit also got me thinking, especially the chapter about Target. I knew there was a reason why that store knew me so well 🙂

    • Ah yes – those three probably gave me the most “hmmm what the heck is my opinion on this?” moments. I’ve tried to write several reviews on Lean In but do not know where to start – I literally have three drafts called ‘Lean In Review’ all on different topics. Need to sort through them and figure out which I want to share. Daring Greatly will probably be reviewed next. That or How to Be Interesting. We’ll see. 🙂 Happy New Year Amy!

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Erika! I came across your blog through the article of being a transplant in St. Louis. I moved to CWE in August for nursing school, and I’m enjoying your recommendations quite a bit! Just wanted to add a book if I could, it’s called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, it’s a memoir, and absolutely love it!

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year!


    • Hi Lisa! That’s awesome – my sister just graduated from nursing school in December (she lives with me & went to Goldfarb at Barnes). I hope it’s going well for you!

      I’ll totally add The Glass Castle to my list – I’ve lately been a lot more into reading memoirs. Thank you for the recommendation!

      • Lisa says:

        I’m currently attending Goldfarb, and love it! Congratulations to your sister!!

        You’re very welcome for the recommendation, and thank you for all of yours!

  • Manda says:

    TFIOS has been on my to-read list but I have put off reading it for the longest time because I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN HANDLE ALL THAT CRYING.

    • Girl. I wish I could say you’ll be able to handle it. BUT. SO MANY FRICKIN’ TEARS. A RIVER OF TEARS.

    • Kathryn Thies says:

      Tears, yes, but the Fault in Our Stars is SO WORTH IT! 🙂
      I was also a huge fan of Mindy Kaling’s book. It will cheer you up after you read TFIOS.

    • Megan says:

      But the tears are SO WORTH IT. It is SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. There is nothing quite like being so moved by a book that you can’t reconnect with reality for awhile. It’s cleansing and wonderful, raw and vulnerable. I love it.

  • […] Next up, actually finishing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Need some recommendations? 14 Books to Read in 2014, The Bookshelf, anything I’ve covered in the Read//Eat […]

  • Cindy W says:

    I’ve only read Kaling and Lawson’s books and loved them. I have a few more on my list and will have to add Daring Greatly..

  • Megan says:

    I recommend Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carole Rifka Brunt as well. It was an incredible book. All of John Green’s books are wonderful, but I especially loved TFIOS and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

    • I’ll totally add these to my list! 🙂

  • Blaise Hart-Schmidt says:

    I love this list! I’m definitely bookmarking it to remember on my next trip to the library. And congrats on the promotion!!

    • So glad you enjoyed it! I hope you like the ones you decide to read. And thank you so much! 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    I haven’t read any of these, but thank you So much for sharing! I definitely can’t wait to pick them up and begin to read.

  • Sarah-Louise B says:

    Great list! I have read Lean in – I actually thought it was a little stating the obvious and her Ted Talk sums it up quite well. Anyways, a few of these have been on y ‘to read’ list for a while! 🙂 The Power of Habit (so obviously I’m about to check out your giveaway 🙂 and how to be interesting.

    I can totally relate to reading more self-improvement type books in 2013 – I think it’s an age thing you know the whole quarter-life crisis, I’m totally having one of those!

    Congrats on your promotion!


  • Julia Riedelsheimer says:

    Just stumbled about your blog via Pinterest and thanks so much for sharing. I added “The Power of Habit”, “Steal like an artist” and “Let’s pretend this never happened” to my reading list. Need to bookmark your blog :=

    • So glad you found a few you want to read! I hope you enjoy them – and come back often! 🙂

  • Alicia Winter says:

    I read The Falut in our Stars back in June, it’s January and I still haven’t recovered. So amazing. I can’t wait to read some of the books on this list!

  • Kris Irvin says:

    I have to be honest. It breaks my tiny little heart that you read 23 books in all of 2013. But! 23 is better than 3. And you did make your bed all year, which I certainly didn’t do. So props. (is that what the kids are saying these days? we’ll go with that.)

    • Hannah Beck says:

      Kris….I have a feeling I can totally relate. I like it!

    • I’m sorry to have broken your heart, but I’m actually pretty pleased with my 23 books. A demanding full-time job, plus writing over 200 posts for this blog and having an active and fulfilling social life made the year fly by! 🙂 Would have loved to have time to read more, hopefully this year!

  • natalia h (mellafe) says:

    Hi! I’m new and I love this list. I read The fault in Our Stars and the Mindy kaling’s book. Congrats on making it to 23 books.I’d love to see more lists like this, it helps me pile up more books to read this year, my goal is 35 (one more than last year).

    • Thanks Natalia! 35 is a lot! That’s awesome. I hope you find one or two on this list that you like! : )

  • Angie says:

    Great list!

  • Hannah says:

    I have read the last one, “Daring Greatly”. Being a social researcher myself I think it brings social phenomena to a more scientific base. I also love her authenticity and transparency. She is real and that is something we have much to little of in our society.

    • I completely agree. Her book blends the scientific aspect of her research with such a non-pretentious personal voice. Her own vulnerability in the book is really welcome and enjoyable. I have to be honest, prior to reading, I had never given much thought to social research, but am SO intrigued. I’m curious – what are you researching?

  • Jackson the Girl Kind says:

    So many intruiging reads!

  • […] all for adding to my reading list, and here is a great list of books to read in 2014. I’ve read 2/14 but I’m looking forward to fitting in the other […]

  • Julia Knecht says:

    I’d like to throw ‘The Slight Edge’ into the ring. Never has a book said so many seemingly obvious things and changed my behavior so much. Awesome, quick read for anyone in any stage of life.

    • Ah! Love to hear how you’ve incorporated the ideas in Lean In! I too am focusing on “sitting at the table” and also being more confident in my speech/phrasing after reading that book.

      Will definitely add “The Slight Edge” to my list! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  • Steph Johnson says:

    I just finished The fault in ours stars and i cried from 70% into the book till the very end. I loved it and of course had to recommend it!

  • […] fan favorite: 14 Books to Read in 2014 (so pumped about all of the book suggestions in the comments on this […]

  • Stephanie Momot says:

    This looks like a fabulous list… TFIOS is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!! I haven’t read anything else yet… looks like a good list to start on for me! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂


  • Parenting Author says:

    Love book lists! Some of these I’ve heard of, others I haven’t, but I’ll be checking them all out now. Thanks! 🙂

  • Kate K says:

    I enjoy your descriptions for these books. Looking forward to reading at least a few of these! You already had me laughing out loud!

    • Ah thank you Kate! That’s so nice to hear. If you’re wanting a funny one – Definitely go with Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. HILARIOUS. 🙂

    • Ah thank you Kate! That’s so nice to hear. If you’re wanting a funny one – Definitely go with Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. HILARIOUS. 🙂

  • […] was one of the 14 books recommended by Seth Godin to read this year. About this book he […]

  • Sam says:

    Thank you. I am inspired to read these books. There is nothing like a good book. Have read Brene Brown’s book but not the one you recommend. Going to start with her book.

  • Katie says:

    I read “A Fault in Our Stars” and I loved it! It made me want to read something else by him so “An Abundance of Katherine’s” is the one I went to and it was awesome. It’s a much lighter read (I also cried through 70% of “A Fault in Our Stars”) but it’s still very smart and thought provoking–I definitely recommend it!

    • I have heard wonderful things about this book – moving it to the top of my list now. Thanks so much for the recommendation! 🙂

  • Jessa Olson says:

    Daring Greatly is amazing!! I got that book a while ago.. I love all these books.. Thanks!

    • Of course! Hope you find a new favorite here! 🙂

  • Kayla Perisho says:

    I see that you have Inferno in that top picture there, and I have to say that book is spectacular. If you haven’t read it yet, and you like Dan Brown’s previous installments, you will love it. In fact I think Inferno is my favorite of his, being a big fan of the Divine Comedy, and history, Inferno is awesome.
    Thank you for the list, I will definitely check out some of these books this year.

    • Hey Kayla! So I was reading Inferno at the time I wrote this list – therefore, it ended up in the photos but since I didn’t finish it in time, didn’t make it to the list. It’s a good book but I’m having a hard time getting hooked on it like I did for Angels & Demons. I love Dan Brown’s books though – the complexity of them always amazes me – he’s a very gifted writer and the historical aspect is fascinating! Have you read the entire Divine Comedy?

      I hope you find something on this list that you like! 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Were you going to include “Die Empty” and then changed your mind? I noticed it in the pics and looked it up, looks great.

    • Hey Rachel! YES. I was going to include it. But then I didn’t finish it in time to be able to really endorse it. I love Todd Henry’s work though in general, so it turned out to be a great book. If you’re into that topic area, I highly recommend The Accidental Creative – both the book and the podcast. They’re great!

  • Sarah Griffith says:

    If you enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars have you read The Sea of Tranquilty? Just as good!

  • steph says:

    would love to read your big list for conquering in 2014! i have a huge stack next to the bed but there’s always room for more 🙂

  • […] this particular post from January quickly became the most popular post ever published on this blog and continues to […]

  • Katie says:

    Awesome list!! #’s 2, 5 & 9 stand out to me the most. I’ve already read TFIOS and it was great.


  • Artemis says:

    Great list I wanna read most of them too!

  • MD Golam Rabbani says:

    Great list really. After fully view all review I want to buy “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson” This is the book which I was searching for a long time.

    Feel free to read my Blog Review

  • Casi says:

    If you like audio books I recommend listening to “Lets Pretend This Never Happened”. It is read by the author and adds another dimension to each story that is busy not conveyed when reading it on paper.

  • […] summer quickly approaching and the beach calling all of our names, here is a list of 14 Books to Read in 2014. We all know the perfect companion to a beach day is a great […]

  • LOVED Daring Greatly and The Power of Habit — great list! I’m just starting The Secret History and it’s great.

  • Michelle Richards says:

    Great article! If you’re looking for another great read, and one that has also received rave reviews, you should definitely check out Ronn Torossian’s book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Ronn-Torossian/e/B005DOQIPO

  • Ashley says:

    I have read The Fault in Our Stars 4 times now (and was finishing the 4th time when I found this list) and I have started reading Tribes. So far it’s really interesting and I like it a lot.

  • Meg says:

    Really really enjoy this list. John Green, author of Fault in our Stars, is my favorite author. I would definitely recommend checking out his other books, as well – Looking for Alaska is my favorite. Going to check out my library’s eCataglog right now to see which of these I can request next! Thanks!

  • Thanks for this list, I’m glad to have found your site! Happy reading 🙂

  • […] 14 books to read this year […]

  • Nolwenn says:

    Ok, so I read “you can read that, baby” at the end and thought it was maliciously familiar… then reread it and realised it was “you can read that baby (ie the list)”… gosh…

  • check over here

    14 Books to Read in 2014 | All Things E

  • […] find more ways to help people bring out the best in themselves. This is why I read and share about my favorite books. It’s why I talk about goals and share my favorite resources. And it’s why I post the […]

  • […] cookbook for Christmas and it is awesome.  I’m also working on the 2015 version of this wildly popular post from last year and having such fun with it. Did any of you actually read any of the books on that […]

  • […] 14 Books to Read in 2014 (2015 edition of this coming next week!) […]

  • […] . 14 Books to Read in 2014 // Love with A Chance of Drowning // I’m Proud of […]

  • […] thought I should write this post because last year’s post was indisputably my best post ever published on All Things E. It has been viewed over 500,000 […]

Comments are closed.