This was a hard list to write – I read an amazing number of excellent books this year – many of which were recommended by YOU, so THANK booksYOU! I narrowed it down to 14 then finally my top 10.  It was a lot of fun looking back and remembering what I had read throughout the year.  Sometimes I could distinctly remember what was going on in my life when I read a particular book – love that! If you are interested, here is the entire list – just look at the 2014 books area of the store (2013 is out there too).

So, without further ado, here are my favorites (in the order I read them):

This one is a bit of a cheat, because I also read and loved the companion book The 5 Love Languages of Children so I’m counting both of them as one of my favorites.  I read these two very early in 2014 and even crafted one of my 2014 goals around them.  The idea behind these books – that we each have our own unique ways of feeling loved – really clicked for me.  I found it fascinating and have tried hard to apply the lessons – instead of showing love the way I feel it best, I’ve tried to tailor my actions to meet the needs of my family.

The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary by Mark Sanborn has such a positive message for all of us – and such an important reminder that we can all make a difference in our work as well as the lives of others just our attitude and how we approach our jobs.  Plus, by making that extra effort, WE will increase our happiness and job satisfaction.  I know that when I encounter a “Fred” in my day to day life, I notice it – and it can truly turn my day around.  I found myself taking all kinds of notes while I was reading it (I’m kinda geeky like that).  Great book for anyone who wants to experience more job satisfaction – especially if you work in customer service.

I’m not sure what to say about this book that hasn’t already been said.  Typically if I know a book will be sad, I avoid it – for me, reading is a place to learn and for enjoyment.  However, this book had so many positive reviews (and I knew that my daughter would be reading it when she got a bit older), that I figured I’d better give it a go.  So glad I did.  Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also uplifting.  An excellent reminder that life is short for all of us and sometimes the gifts we receive from the hard things we do are worth the pain.  I have to admit I haven’t watched the movie yet – waiting for a night I feel like crying!!!

What an amazing book – as soon as I finished it, I handed it to my daughter and told her to read it immediately.  She was in the middle of Divergent and couldn’t be swayed to stop.  Luckily, her 5th Grade class read it as a group – for which I am very thankful.  It is now one of her all-time favorite books (and mine too).  Auggie looks different.  Very different.  But his looks don’t define him.  Kids can be cruel.  They can also be kind.  The book shares Auggie’s struggles and successes when entering school for the first time.  A wonderful book for any 4th to 8th grade child – and for their parents!

I just love Shauna Niequist.  Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes was one of my all-time favorite books in 2013, so it makes sense that this one made my 2014 list (and she’s working on a new book right now!).  This collection of essays on everyday life is beautiful, inspiring and uplifting.  I love her writing – so much that I copied a paragraph from one of these essays right into my journal – I wanted to savor and re-read those beautiful words over and over . . .

This book has become my “go-to” when I want to give a gift to someone.  I just found it so hopeful and inspiring that once I finished it, I wanted everyone I knew to read it.  So I passed on my copy and have since bought several others for friends – I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.  Bob Goff has an amazing life – a life he created on his own simply by living fully engaged in life – paying attention to the moments big and small.   I was reading it while we were on a vacation and I kept reading passages out loud to my family in the car – they were all enthralled and wanted me to continue sharing it as I read – that’s strong praise from two kids and a hubby who isn’t much of a reader!

Another book I’ve shared with the mama’s in my life – and one I know I’ll read many times myself.  I could totally relate with the author as I know I’ve been guilty way too many times of focusing on my phone or computer versus my precious children.  Although it’s not realistic to be able to drop everything all the time to do something with or pay attention to them, there ARE many instances where I can and should make that choice.  This book is a positive reminder to do just that – and a reminder of the rewards we reap by focusing on our actual life instead of our electronics and other distractions.

Looking for some fun fiction?  Look no further than The Rosie Project: A Novel.  This book was funny, it was heart-warming and I found myself cheering for Don and his desire to find a wife.  Well-written and just a ton of fun to read.  Take this on your next vacation.  Warning – if you don’t find Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory funny, you probably won’t like Don’s character.  As I was reviewing my books for this post, I discovered there is sequel (The Rosie Effect: A Novel) that was released last month – guess that’s going on my hold list at the library!

Having been a long-time fan of the blog Nesting Place, I was very excited to see Myquillin had a book out.  The book is lovely to read and to look at – the pictures are just wonderful.  The message is perfect for those of us who want a warm and welcoming home, but just don’t have that decorator instinct (yeah, I have many talents, but decorating is NOT one of them!).  I borrowed the book from the library, but this is one I will eventually purchase for my own collection – it’s a good one to read when you feel the need to spruce things up but don’t know where or how to start – and since I get that urge a few times a year . . .

Another novel, and a bit of a dark one at that.  However, the themes in the book really rang true for me – and I really appreciated how the characters stretched themselves, learned about themselves and by the end of the book had emotionally grown dramatically.  The book is well-written and for lovers of words, just a joy to read.  It’s classified as Young Lit, but I’d be cautious of handing to a younger or immature child – the storyline is pretty intense – even though the main characters are young.

Whew, that was quite a bit of work – but so much fun reviewing and remembering what I read.  Curious about the four that got the final cut?  Here they are, in no particular order – all excellent books, but I had to draw the line somewhere!  The Alchemist, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story and Big Little Lies.  All of these were reviewed earlier in the year – so if you do a search on book reviews 2014 on this site, you are bound to find them.

I put the affiliate links to Amazon in this post to make it easy for you to find the books I mentioned, but please feel free to get them at your local library – that’s what I almost always do – and then if I think I will want to read it again, I’ll purchase the book.

What were your favorites for 2014?  What should I add to my VERY LONG list of books I’d like to read?  Please share in the comments – I’m always on the lookout for new recommendations!

Is reading more one of your goals for 2015?  But you feel like you NEVER have the time? If you want to create a healthy life that you love – and that includes time for what is important to YOU – contact me for a free Clarity Session – we’ll discuss your goals and dreams and you’ll leave the call understanding what is important to you and how you can start making it happen!

Shared on Friendship Friday and The Mommy Club

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