My Picks For Best Books of 2014

Who has big plans to read more in 2015?? If your hand is raised, please consider this list of favorites I’ve recently accumulated.

As part of my 2014 Strategic Plan, I wanted to read one for-fun book per month. This was one goal that I actually hit (making up for the going to yoga once a week… I think I’m only 30 for 52 on that one… Oops.)

The title of this post is a little misleading. This is a list of the books I read and enjoyed during the year 2014. I’m not sure if any of them were actually published this year. But if you are a library-goer like me, you’ll like this list anyway. No waitlist!

Here are my favorite fiction books:

Best of Fiction Books 2014A few of my favorite fiction books of 2014.

Me Before You

I read Me Before You either right before or after The Fault in Our Stars. Oy, the dying. Chalk this up to my missing Oprah gene, but I’m the only female I know who didn’t cry at the end. Still, it was a good book and one that makes you think long after you’re done.

The Mysteries of Pittsburg

It’s a lie to say this was one of my favorite books of 2014, but I want you to read it nonetheless. The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh was a recommendation from my brother-in-law. In fact, he liked it so much, he convinced me to give it a second chance after I tried to give it to him without finishing the first time. I did finish it, but I never loved it as much as he did. Brandt puts this in the same genre as The Great Gatsby, which I also don’t think is any great shakes. So tell me, dear reader… Are you Team Maggie or Team Brandt when it comes to book?

Delicious! A Novel

I reviewed Delicious! earlier this summer and want to make sure this gets on your to do list. (Also reviewed in the same post – I Was Told There’d Be Cake, a great book of essays that will make you laugh.) It’s an easy, breezy kind of read, but it uses big words so it doesn’t feel completely like chick lit.

A Paris Apartment

I read A Paris Apartment right after The Paris Wife. (Obviously during my annual I Wanna Be A Parisian phase…) While interesting and popular, The Paris Wife just didn’t do it for me. I felt bad for all the parties involved. No one was happy in their relationships, but they just kept drudging along. Yawn. Even though A Paris Apartment also followed a woman in an unhappy marriage, it kept my interest as the story of the apartment owner unfolded. This book has great descriptions of Paris and a time gone by. You learn about the hierarchy of ladies of the night in Paris of days past, so you could even say its educational.

The Lifeboat

I was introduced to The Lifeboat as part of a new book club I joined this year. Also a mediocre read that makes you get all philosophical-like. How would you act if stuck on a lifeboat and fearing for your life?

Speaking of new and different situations – this book club put me in a room with a majority of lesbian women who (I think) worked mostly in the medical industry. Not circles I typically travel in, so the dinner meeting became one of the most interesting nights of the year. Man, I love meeting new folks. You never know what you’re going to learn!

Night Over Water

My last book of 2014 was a recommendation from my Uncle Fred. Actually, he recommended any Ken Follett books and I just happened to pick Night Over Water. It’s an interesting read about one of the first transatlantic flights. The story is fictional, but the timing and layout/staff of the plane is accurate. A plane with actual beds… Wow, that would be nice.

And my list for favorite non-fiction books includes:

Some of my favorite non-fiction books of 2014. My top picks for non-fiction in 2014.

The Death of Santini: A Story of A Father and His Son

I’m a sucker for almost anything Pat Conroy writes (though his cookbook and Prince of Tides left me wanting more.) The Death of Santini, a biography of his father, the jerk of a man that most of his father-like book characters is based off of, was fascinating. Even more interesting is the fact that he was close with his father before his passing. Proof that 1. Kids want parents no matter the parents’ foibles and 2. forgiveness is the best thing you can do for the heart.

Anyway, if you read any of Conroy’s fiction and want a little more back story, this is the perfect book for you.

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heart-Warming Tales of Epic Humiliation

As I already wrote, Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler is all the things I like about her podcast without the self-congratulatory nature of the actual interviews that take place there. In short, she tells you all the times she screwed up, making you laugh at your own past mistakes.

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love

Sure, I technically “read” a lot more cookbooks during the year, but 100 Days of Real Food had some actual reading vs. just recipes in it. If you are thinking about eating clean in 2015, this is a good “textbook” to get you started. I like that Lisa Leake seems like a real human with a husband and kids who want to eat real food, not just organic goat’s cheese and ancient Chilean passionfruit all day. She even includes some desserts that seem like actual dessert, one of which I’m going to tell y’all about in January.

How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane: And Other Lessons in Parenting from a Highly Questionable Source

This book caught my eye simply by an attractive cover and good placement on the New Release shelf on the library. While I read it, there was laughter, there was tears. If you have a new baby at home or one on the way, this is great. Nobody knows what they are doing. Nobody likes the job of parent 100% of the time. How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane gives you an honest look at both of those assessments in an entertaining way.

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

I read this book before Eggroll came around and loved it. Yes! This is exactly how I wanted to teach Malorie how to eat her food. Then real life happened. We started feeding Mal around four months and just now at 10.5 is she really starting to enjoy it. That said, I’m trying really hard to follow the concepts of French Kids Eat Everything, but really the challenge is me!

I can’t believe no one has come up with the “Eat Like Baby Eats” diet. At this point, Eggroll can eat everything real except for honey. She only eats at the table and at meal times. How can I learn to eat like that??

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

Ironically, this is the only book on the list that I never actually finished. That said, it obviously covers the problem that most women (and men?) face these days – we are trying to take on too much! Overwhelmed was popular, so I’m going to assume there are ideas to combat this sense of panic that comes with having too much to do. Please read it for me and give me the cliffnotes, OK?

So these are my favorites of the year. How about you? What should go on my 2015 list?


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