Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Was A GOOD Reading Year! (And A Book GIVEAWAY!)

2014 was a GOOD year for books! Seriously.  Just looking over my Pinterest board made me excited!  There are only a handful of books on this list that I didn't enjoy.  That's a good reading year, in my opinion!  (Click on any of the images and it will take you to the Amazon page with all the book details, summary, etc.  Image links are all part of the Amazon Associates program (meaning I would get a tiny Amazon credit if you purchased a book from the link.)  

1. Then Again by Diane Keaton ~ The book was okay.  Honestly, I wasn't blown away.  But I loved the idea of her Mother's journals and how they meant enough to Diane for her to write a book about them.  I started journaling shortly after finishing this book so clearly it was a positive influence.  On a side note, I can't seem to resell the book at the used bookstore because they have too many in their inventory!  Ha.  

 2. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis ~ I have to be honest, I normally steer clear of Oprah's Book Club.  I don't know why because they're usually pretty decent books. Yet, for some reason, I saw the hardback version for sale in the USED BOOK section of my library for less than $1 and I jumped on it.  I'm SO GLAD I DID.  I found this to be a powerful book and a fast read because I just couldn't put it down.  I'd definitely recommend it.

Note: I usually wait impatiently for the ALA Awards to come out each January.  Typically I read a flurry of Young Adult books after the list comes out.  This year was no exception and the following five books I read were on the list.  In all honesty, I didn't like them as much as in years past. Still, I'm stoked that the 2014 list will be out soon!!!  

3. The Year of Billy Miller ~ cute book, I think it would be good for 2nd graders.
4. Navigating Early ~ one of the better ones, made me want to read another book by Clare Vanderpool.
5. Flora & Ulysses ~ I heard so much about this book before I read it.  It seemed to be everywhere I looked.  So I was a little crushed when I didn't like it.  
6. Maggot Moon ~ interesting and suspenseful
7. One Came Home ~ my favorite of these five books

8. The Other Boleyn Girl ~ I also picked this book up on the Used Books section at my library (for 50 cents!).  I'm a huge fan of this section, can you tell?  The books are so cheap.  There are some really good books available. And I love that it's just one more way to support the library.  Win win win. Anyway, I LOVED THIS BOOK.  It prompted tons of Googling and it even inspired Alain & I to watch The Tudors on Netflix.  What a series that was ~ we watched it in no time and enjoyed every minute of the show.  I highly recommend!

9. The White Queen ~ because I enjoyed #8 so much!

 10. Better  Off, Flipping The Switch on Technology ~ I'm always intrigued when people give up technology!  I'll read about it every time.  

 11. Free To Learn ~ This book was so up my alley.  I truly believe our children need to play more.  It was nice to read a book written by someone who feels the same.  

 12. The Goldfinch ~ This book was so highly lauded.  I really enjoyed it although I often got frustrated by how long it was.  I think Donna's writing is amazing.  In many year-end blog posts about books, I keep reading that others didn't like it.  Oh well.

 13. The Book Whisperer ~ Oh how I loved and adored this book.  I felt endlessly inspired.  Donalyn and I are kindred spirits.  It's becoming clear over time how passionate I am about literacy, reading, children and books.  A book about how to get kids to love books and reading?  Sign me up.  I want to get my own copy of this book actually.  So inspired.  

 14. Stitches ~ I can't resist Anne Lamont.  This is a tiny book and a super quick read.  

 15. The Good Mother Myth ~ Picked this up on the Used Book shelf.  I thought I wouldn't like it at all. I was wrong.  Pleasant surprise.  

 16. Magical Journey ~ At times reading Katrina's words felt like reading my own.  She describes herself EXACTLY the way I describe myself.  Her book prompted many copied quotes and notes in my journal.  I love books such as this one.

 17. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio ~ Such a sweet, sweet story.  I read about this book on someone's blog and I'm glad I checked it out.  

 18. ROOM ~ Wow.  WOW.  

 19. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap ~ If, like me, you dream of owning your own bookstore, this is the book for you.  I adore this book and can't wait to visit the store one day if it's still around (it's not too, too far from my hometown).  

 20. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time ~ An important book for our modern times.  It gave me a lot to think about.  I'm sure I will reread this one again in the future. 

 21. Gluten Is My Bitch ~ We made Clara Gluten-Free in July.  Talk about a MASSIVE life change.  This book at least made me laugh about it. 

 22. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry ~ This book is so very wonderful.  I am fully expecting to see this on the Awards list this year.  


 23. China Dolls ~ I am a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE Lisa See fan.  Her latest book did not disappoint.


 24. White Oleander ~ This book was hard to read at times because it's about a foster child yet I couldn't put it down.  AMAZING BOOK.  Another choice from the Used Book shelf.  And yet another Oprah choice that I'd been avoiding.  Ha.


 25. The Opposite of Loneliness ~ Marina Keegan was an immensely talented young writer. Her parents had this book published after she passed away in a tragic accident.  It breaks my heart to think that we will never have another book written by Marina.  Months later, I still think of her parents often.  If you only read one book from this list, I might even suggest it be this one.


 26. Little Bee ~ Used Book Shelf. You can find a lot of older Bestseller books there. Because of that, I've read way more fiction than is my norm. And I've also read some stellar books.  This is one of them.      


 27. Delancey ~ I've read several of Molly's blog posts in the past and they inspired me to read her book.  If you've ever dreamed of owning a restaurant, this is the book for you.  Even if you haven't dreamed of owning a restaurant (like me), this is a good read.  


 28. The Secrets of Happy Families ~ Why did I read this?  I have no idea.  


 29. The Meaning of Maggie ~ Hoping to also see this one on the Awards List this year.  I read this from cover to cover on our drive to the beach in September.  Loved it.


 30. Counting by 7's ~ Probably my favorite Young Adult book I read this year.  And who can resist this amazing cover?  Love, love, love.


 31. A Walk in the Woods ~ I've owned this book for many years but had never read it. At some point, I didn't have any books lined up to read so I picked it up and dove right in.  Like many people, I am a fan.  I don't know what took me so long!  


 32. Not That Kind of Girl ~ Say what you want about Lena Dunham but I am a fan.  I can't help myself.  I feel that women like her are important for women as a whole.  I'm always rooting for her. Go, Lena!


 33. The Secret Life of Bees ~ Oh my goodness, this book made me want to marry the Used Book Shelf.  Amazeballs.  


 34. Where'd You Go Bernadatte ~ I'd  been wanting to read this book for a while.....then Louise wrote a post about it and it prompted me to request it from the library.  Adorable.  A fun read that made me giggle.  


 So, there you go.  34 books!  My goal for 2014 was to read more.  I accomplished that.  I read tons more fiction than is normal for me but I did read some pretty fabulous books.  And I started 2015 off with a BIG BANG....

(oh my gosh, SOOOOOO GOOOOD!) with tons of books I'm really excited about on request from the library!!!  

How about you guys?  Reading anything good???   Please send along your recommendations!!!


So I've never done a giveaway on this here blog before.  As I wrote this post (which took an eternity!), I thought it would be a good idea to pass along some of these books to you.....some of the best ones, in my humble opinion.  I will include Little Bee, The Secret Life of Bees, ROOM and the most recent issues of Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens (I received double issues of both for some odd reason!).  If you're interested, please leave a comment prior to end of day on Sunday, January 18th.  I hope you'll understand that I have to limit this to U.S. addresses only.  What a great way to get your reading in 2015 off to a great start!!!  

******* Louise (Fundy Blue) from Standing Into Danger was the winner of the Giveaway.  I put the names in a hat and let Sophie pick one out.  She read "Louise" on the paper, thought it had something to do with Clara (whose middle name is Louise) and wanted to put it back in and pull another.  Whew, sibling rivalry!!!  Anyway, Louise, I sent you an email and I hope you received it.  Congratulations to you!!!  


  1. Hi Audrey! I loved reading about your books! And I know that you worked long and hard on this post. There is no quick way to write one like this.

    And what a great idea - to keep track of what you read on Pinterest. I've never started a page on Pinterest, but now I'm going to figure out how to do it!. I loved "The Other Boleyn Girl" and Anne Boleyn was certainly foremost in my mind when I visited the Tower of London last spring. You have so many books here that I'd like to read. And I love the bargain book section of my bookstore too. I always cruise it for me and for gifts.

    Do you know about Amazon Smile? When you purchase something through AS, Amazon will donate a small amount to your favorite charity. I'm doing Doctors Without Borders, and Amazon prompts me if I forget to sign in through Smile.

    Thanks for the shout!

    Have a great Tuesday, Audrey!

  2. Oh! I have so much to say to you!
    First of all, you know that Richard has celiac disease, right? He has been on a gluten free diet since he was only two years old! So, if you have ANY questions about the gluten free diet, you email me, you hear?
    Now, I read "The Other Boleyn Girl" when I was in England in 2012! (Well, I bought it there and read it when I got home!) See, I CAN read fiction sometimes! I also loved The Secret Life of Bees". I like to buy that give it as a gift with honey from the Monastery!
    I also love Anne Lamott!
    Oh Audrey, you know you are a sweet doll for this giveaway! I would love to be included in the drawing for the giveaway! What could be better than books from someone with such good taste? xx
    OH! One more thing..."The Little Friend" by Donna Tartt is one of my best friend's favorite books!

  3. Oooh what a fun giveaway. Girl, you read a TON of books. Wow! I wonder how many my daughter has read...you might have her beat!

  4. Just wrote a long comment and clicked publish and it disappeared...let's try this again and sorry if you get both of my comments!

    You definitely read more books than me...2014 was one of my lowest reading years ever. It's my goal in 2015 to read more. Thanks for the suggestions - a lot of these books (especially Secret Life of Bees + Not That Kind of Girl) have been on my to-read list for a while, and now I have more to add!

    Since you liked Secret Life of Bees, I would totally recommend checking out another book by Sue Monk Kidd, "Traveling with Pomegranates." It's a memoir she wrote about traveling to Turkey + Greece with her mom (it'll totally make you want to visit there), and she wrote it when she was coming up with the ideas for Secret Life of Bees. :)

  5. Oh wow sounds like you had a good book year indeed. I didn't read as many books in 2014 as I would have liked. But the ones I did read were awesome. My wife introduced me to the Harry Potter books and they are amazing!

  6. Thank you so much for the wonderful book recommendations. Once I've finished my thesis this year I want to catch up on all the reading I've been missing out on the past 4 years and I cannot wait :)

  7. Thank will definitely take note of the books and add them to my to read list :)

  8. Just checking in, Girlfriend. I know you are busy-busy! Waiting for that parcel on the doorstep with lots of excitement! Winkers! Have a great weekend!

  9. Happy for Louise!!!!
    Just for the thing for the great gal that lives her life in exclamation points! xx

  10. Audrey's wonderful box of books arrived! Thank you, Audrey! I hope you got my email! I started with "Room." What a fabulous story, one I will never forget!

    1. I did get your email but I don't think you get my replies! Pooh. But so happy you got the books and you're enjoying them!!! I can't wait to hear what you think about the other two!!! XOXO

    2. I'm loving Little Bee right now! And no way I'll ever forget "Room!" I hope all is well with you, my friend!

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