2014 reading list so far

25 September 2014

This week’s posts have reminded me how much I adore reading, and how big a part of my life it’s been since… forever. As the author Zadie Smith has said, “Books are my experiences. I’m made of them.” The books we read affect the person we are becoming. I’ve loved what I’ve learned and experienced via the 20 books I’ve read so far this year, and I can’t wait to hear if there’s anything on our reading list in common!


The Millionaire Next Door: An in-depth look at who the rich really are in this country and what we can learn from them. Depending on your preconceptions about rich people, it might be surprising! I particularly liked the section on buying cars.

Wool: If you’re generally interested in the publishing industry, Wool is a must-read, simply because of its story to publication. I can see why it’s so popular!

Allegiant: Book three in the Divergent series was a big disappointment for me. While I didn’t love the ending, my dislike was more about the writing – I thought it was sloppy, and left me wondering why I’d liked the first two books!

Red Rising: One of the best books I’ve read this year. Pierce Brown creates an entirely new world that completely sucked me in. If you liked The Hunger Games you will love this book.

Love Does: Bob Goff shares my love for a “secretly incredible” life full of love and adventure. I had heard so much about this book before I read it that not much of it was new to me – but I still enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it or heard of it, I’d highly recommend it!

The Well’s End: My brother-in-law’s book! A young adult thriller that kept me going the whole way through – I’m ready for the sequel!


The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A FASCINATING book that I think everyone should read – one of my favorites this year! I read so many sections and interesting facts out loud to John. It was a little bit slow in the beginning, but I loved the section about Joel Salatin’s farm. I really appreciated Pollan’s calm, reasoned, and often beautiful writing.

The Last Days of California: Eh. Probably my least favorite book from this year. I didn’t find the characters that likeable and wasn’t in love with the writing. I’m surprised it got such good reviews!

Sense and Sensibility: I picked this one up off my own self while waiting for another book to come in at the library. I’m always happy to check another classic off my list, and this one was easy and enjoyable.

In a Sunburned Country: As laugh-out-loud funny and strangely informative as you’d expect from Bill Bryson. I learned a bunch about Australia (and so did John – read lots of this book out loud to him, too!).

The Goldfinch: Hoo boy, there are 16,000 reviews for this Pulitzer Prize-winning book on Amazon, so apparently everyone has an opinion about it! I enjoyed it – in fact, I marked it as one of my favorites from the year. Even in the Las Vegas section, which I thought was slow, I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what happened next.

Astonish Me: Another one I marked as a favorite. Well written, satisfying, and fun for a former ballerina like me – I didn’t see the twist coming, though I’m sure some of you smart people will :)


Boy, Snow, Bird: A modern fairytale that’s imaginative and lyrical, but also a little unsettling and frustrating. Reminded me of Edwidge Danticat’s writing.

The Best of Roald Dahl: Eh. Though I love the story of Henry Sugar, I think his children’s stories are better than his short stories.

All Joy and No Fun: One of my favorites from this year! I found it honest and endlessly fascinating, and have brought it up in discussion so many times since finishing it. One of the only books on this list I feel a need to buy so I can refer to it in the future.

The Silver Star: This story about courageous sisters was not as good as The Glass Castle, which was one of my top picks from 2013, but a good (quick) read nonetheless.

The Interestings: While I could appreciate that this book was very well-written, I found the characters a bit annoying, even the ones who were supposed to be sympathetic. I know that’s kind of the point, but it kept me from loving the book. However, I couldn’t put it down, so…

Simplicity Parenting: I found that I already agreed with and intrinsically knew the premise of this book — “the power of less” to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids — but it was still a worthwhile read. If it does not at all match the parenting path you’re on, I’m guessing it would be challenging and fascinating!

The Maid’s Version: A short but riveting read by the author of Winter’s Bone. Really, really beautifully written – almost poetic.

Me Before You: This is probably the “lightest” book I read this year (not necessarily lightest in subject matter – it made me cry! – but literary weight). A great read for the beach.

The Light Between Oceans: Just digging into this one after many recommendations and it is great so far!

Have you read any of these? Did you agree with my thoughts? What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

P.S. Come back tomorrow – I’ll have a giveaway!! Hint: it’s an item from my home tour! :)

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September 25, 2014 8:12 am

I love this post! I’ve added a few new books to my to-read list.

The best books I’ve read so far this year have been, ‘The Marriage Plot’ by Jeffrey Eugenidies, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Burrows, ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn, ‘Intensity’ by Dean Koontz, ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ by Mindy Kaling,’A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving, ‘In The Blood’ by Lisa Unger, and ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers. The last was especially interesting, as someone with a strong online presence. It certainly made me think.

Victoria B
September 25, 2014 8:32 am

I love this week’s book theme! Do you have a Goodsreads account? I would love to follow you if you do. I love discussing books and getting ideas for my next read. :)

So far this year, I have read and really enjoyed: “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist, “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple, and “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I’m currently reading and enjoying, “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie.

I read “Love Does” last year and really enjoyed it!

September 25, 2014 9:04 am

I love these book posts, but especially this last one. I am particularly bad at picking books to read, and now I have some awesome suggestions!

Also, I remember being in the car with you on road trips and how you could read an entire 6+ hour trip! You would often finish the books. I have to admit that I was pretty jealous!

Thanks for this post!

September 25, 2014 9:27 am

My husband and I are still a few years off from having a family but I am incredibly interested in reading Simplicity Parenting and All Joy and No Fun. I have Me Before You on my TBR and I’m looking forward to reading it.

I’m currently reading Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang and really enjoying it. The narrator still hasn’t been identified and I find it fascinating.

Do you check books out from the library? I recently moved to Ohio from NC and I’ve found some great libraries in my new area. If their are books that I’ve loved enough to want a physical copy of, I put them on a Goodreads list and hope to find good used copies.

September 25, 2014 9:33 am

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was one of my absolute favorites this year! I couldn’t put it down. I also quite enjoyed What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret, both by Liane Moriarty. Allegiant was a disappointment for me also, I didn’t bother finishing it.

September 25, 2014 9:47 am

Thanks for the suggestions and the comments about each book you’ve read. My favorite books so far this year have been The One & Only by Emily Giffin and The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner. I will definitely be checking out Red Rising!

September 25, 2014 9:59 am

I’m still loving all of your book posts this week!! I really liked Me Before You, The Light Between Oceans, The Goldfinch, The Silver Star, and Sense and Sensibility of the ones you’ve read this year. While I love the general concept behind Love Does, I just didn’t love the writing style! Let’s see.. my goal is always to read 52 books a year, though I’m at 62 so far. Some of my very favorites from 2014 are: The Signature of All Things, Bread and Wine, The Rosie Project, The Invention of Wings, East of Eden (I love to re-read it!), and goodness, so many more – I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty!!

September 25, 2014 11:40 am

I felt the same way about Allegiant!! Roth took forever to put out this third book but it felt rushed, poor thought out, and sloppily written to me–it was a huge disappointment.

Love Does will always be one of my all time favorites. Me Before You had me crying quite a bit and I still think back on it and how I would handle being in each of the characters situations often.

Thanks so much for the other suggestions, I’ve put almost half of these down on my list of books to read as well!

September 25, 2014 9:49 pm

[…] 2014 reading list so far – Em for Marvelous – […]

September 26, 2014 2:30 am

Sad you didn’t like Allegiant, but I didn’t like the ending either. As in I cried like a sobbing mess.

My co-workers bought me In a Sunburned Country right before I moved to Australia. Sadly, it didn’t make it in my bags as they were stuffed. But when I visit home and fly back to Oz, it better make it into my bags! :)


September 26, 2014 10:02 am

Such a great post – I’m bookmarking this for future reading ideas! And I love that Zadie Smith quote – have you read any of her work? Speaking of reading, I’m doing something right now I never, ever do – flip flop between three different books. I have no idea how or why it started, but I’m currently reading: Blue Mind, Life is Meals, and the Luxury Alchemist. Blue Mind is very scientific, so the other two are a nice change of pace every now and then, but I don’t think I’ll do this book multitasking again anytime soon…

September 26, 2014 10:31 am

Two friends and I are currently reading “The Goldfinch” and we’re all debating whether we should bother finishing it! haha It feels realllly slow and I want to get into it, but I just haven’t, yet. And all of us are nearing the halfway point. Your review has given me a tiny bit of hope :)

Before this I read “In Paradise.” Not for me. And before that, I read “12 Tribes of Hattie,” which I really liked. A bit depressing and none of the characters were really likable, but I kind of liked that aspect of the book. I appreciated their flaws.

September 26, 2014 2:34 pm

I also read Allegiant this year and totally agree! I was totally hooked on the first two books and I liked finding out the whole background about their city, however I didn’t like the writing or the ending.

My favorite books I’ve read this year are What Alice Forgot and The Zookeeper’s Wife. I’m also almost done with The Giver quartet (picking up the fourth one today!) and I’ve really enjoyed reading those. I didn’t even know there were four books until I went to reread The Giver! I love how quick they are.

September 27, 2014 3:11 pm

Yes , books are a great thing ! I, too, without reading cannot single day.

September 28, 2014 4:25 pm

Wool is a trilogy – which I didn’t know until recently even a year after reading the first book. The other two (Shift and Dust) aren’t quite as good, but they’re definitely must-reads. One of my favorite series ever, for sure.

September 28, 2014 10:06 pm

I bought Light Between Oceans but haven’t gotten to it — looking forward to it.

October 1, 2014 2:46 pm

Do you check books out from the library? I recently moved to Ohio from NC and I’ve found some great libraries in my new area. If their are books that I’ve loved enough to want a physical copy of, I put them on a Goodreads list and hope to find good used copies.

October 9, 2014 3:38 pm

The only one on this list I’ve read is Love Does, and it’s such a game-changer book! I gave it to a friend for her law school graduation and I think I like that tradition. It’s such a good book for graduates or anyone at a transition period of life!! I’ll have to look at the others on the list and add them to my booklist!:)

October 21, 2014 5:42 pm

Looks like I have quite a few books to add to my must-read list! I have only read Love Does from your list above, but LOVED it. I am currently reading Creative Leadership and so far so good.