What I Read in 2014 + Reading List for 2015

I set a goal to read 36 books in 2014, and unfortunately I fell short. However, I did read 18 books – and I think that’s fairly decent, considering I had a baby during the year.

I did decide during the year that I was going to read one non-fiction book for every fiction book I read. I haven’t been a huge non-fiction fan in the past, so this was tough for me at first – but WOW, I’m so glad I went this route. As you’ll see below, non-fiction books ended up being some of my favorites this year.

Below are my favorite books of 2014, followed by the ones I wish I hadn’t even bothered with. The past year was certainly an interesting one for me!

[Of course – these are just my opinions! I hope no one is offended :)]

MY FAVORITES

1. The Cider House Rules, by John Irving. Controversial topic and excellently written. This was a long one, but I couldn’t put it down.

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp. Saved my life. And I am not joking.

3. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Housseini. The author’s third book – and his third on my “favorites” list.

4. Things a Little Birdie Told Me, by Biz Stone. Written by one of the founders of Twitter, this book is inspiring, as well as hilarious.

5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Set in Germany during WWII, this book is obviously not cheery. But it does accomplish the hefty feat of showing that humans are capable of extraordinary kindness – even during the worst of times.

MY NOT-SO-FAVORITES

1. Country Music Broke My Brain, by Gerry House. I really thought it would be impossible for me not to like this book. Country music? Love. Country singers “behind the scenes”? Love. This book? Blah.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. This book got a lot of hype, and I know many readers loved it. But I just couldn’t buy it. Sorry, Mr. Gaiman.

3. The Pilot’s Wifeby Anita Shreve. Predictable, unconvincing… and just boring.

All in all, I had more favorites than disappointments during the year, so I call that a success. I’m trying something new this year: POPSUGAR’S 2015 Reading Challenge. It’s 50 categories of books meant to diversify your reading choices, which I could really use. Fifty books is a very daunting task, but this should be fun. Even if i don’t read a book in each category, at the very least I will have read some books I normally wouldn’t have. I have about 20 more books I need to add to the list, so I better get going to work on that. I’ll post them all when I’m done – but in the meantime, please send any suggestions my way!

Happy reading, everyone!

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Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope everyone ended 2014 healthy and happy. The past year has been totally crazy for us – namely because of a cute little boy who came into our lives last February. I said goodbye to 2014 with mixed emotions, but I’m saying HELLO to 2015 with renewed enthusiasm – and a resolution:

Get my life organized.

This includes a major declutter of our house, an overhaul of my work schedule and getting my personal life under control. Not that things are OUT OF CONTROL or anything, but I certainly need to be better about making the best use of my time. My mini-resolutions that go hand-in-hand with my main one is to make exercise a priority and be more consistent with writing (on here…and journaling!).

While we’re on the topic of resolutions, let’s talk about the one thing almost everyone wants to improve: our health. According to USA.gov, 6 of the top 13 resolutions involve improving some aspect of our well-being:

Lose weight
Quit smoking
Get fit
Eat healthy food
Manage stress
Drink less alcohol

But unfortunately – although maybe not surprisingly – those same resolutions are on Time’s Top 10 commonly broken resolutions.

Bottom line – getting healthy is not easy. It takes hard work, commitment, focus – and most of all, TIME. Last year my most popular blog post was on “gym snobs” and how frustrating (and common) the practice of shaming people at the gym is. For all of those who will be starting a an exercise program in the New Year, I’ll be right there with you. And I hope I can count on you – and all others at the gym – to cheer me on when I want to quit.

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Happy New Year!

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