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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. Several of these books were read as a part of Blogger Book Club with Chelsea and Megan (yay for book clubs – you read so much more!).
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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 I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you guys read any of these? What did you think? Which ones will you be adding to your list in 2014? I love book talk, so share in the comments!
I also have a big list of books for conquering in 2014. Would sharing that list interest you guys? I could work it in in the next few weeks if so. Let me know in the comments as well.
P.S. The pretty bookmarks in the photos are from one of my favorite hand-lettered Etsy shops, EmDash Paper Co. Check ‘em out here.