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My Top 10 Books of 2014

best books to read in 2014

I’ll say that 2014 was not my best year for reading. I finished 15 more books than I did in 2013, but it was harder to pick my favorites than it was last year.

Obviously I need to work harder in 2015 to read books that are awesome.

That said, there were some stand-outs this year. Here are the 10 best books I read in 2014, with a perfect split between fiction and non-fiction.

best books to read in 2014

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (full review here)
This book just made me so happy – it’s ridiculously fun to read something this downright enjoyable. I would recommend this to basically everyone in the world who likes young adult books.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. (full review here)
Education is one of my favorite topics and with Ella getting ready for kindergarten this fall, it’s on my mind even more than normal. This book is inspiring, fascinating, and a surprisingly quick and engaging read.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg. (full review here)
My interest in opening a restaurant is non-existent, but Molly makes every step of their journey toward opening Delancey completely gripping. If I buy a giant commercial mixer on Craig’s List, you’ll know who to blame. I wish she wrote more than one book every four years.

Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin.
It’s kind of cheating to include a book that isn’t even available yet, but seriously, this book is amazing. I’m rereading it right now and it’s the perfect way to start off the year. I’d like to write like Gretchen Rubin writes. I’ll definitely write a full review of this one when the release date arrives in March.

Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone (full review here)
I read practically this whole book aloud to Bart and every time I talk to one of his MBA or entrepreneurial-minded friends, I recommend this book. But even if you aren’t into business, this book is just plain fun. And brilliant. And you should all use Twitter. . . .

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist (full review here)
There is nothing like a good food book. Seriously, I loved every page of this (and reading it while overlooking the skyline in Chicago didn’t hurt either). I just requested her other two books from the library and even though I’ve heard they aren’t quite as good, I’m still looking forward to reading them.

Are You Experienced? by Jordan Sonnenblick
I read this on our cruise and it was just the perfect relaxing, fun read. I love Jordan Sonnenblick – his writing is just spot-on hilarious every single time, and I developed a big interest in Woodstock after reading it.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (full review here)
I almost didn’t read this book (the title and cover did nothing for me), but it was so delightful, I’m constantly glad I didn’t miss it.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Total fun YA. It’s not great litereature, but it’s well-done and definitely deserving of its place on the summer reading guide.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (full review here)
I re-read this in 2014 and loved it even more than I did the first time. Plus, it was super fun to have my mom read it this summer and talk about it at length.

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

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  1. Oooo, good choices (I'm adding the Rubin book to my list o' books to read immediately)! The best books I read last year were: The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs (you might have to love deserts in order to love this book. . .); Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder (mostly because of my long love of the Little House books); A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle (probably not her best work, but there was something about this book I just adored!): and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (after I read this I couldn't stop telling anyone and everyone about Louis Zamperini). Writing this, I realize I gave very few books five stars last year. Buuuuut, the number of books I gave five stars to is about the same as the number of books I abandoned, so I suppose that evens things out a bit!

  2. I literally finished reading Open Road Summer last night…so good! A.J. Fikry and To All the Boys were also favorites of mine last year. Thanks for adding to my TBR pile!

  3. Four of your top ten were also my favorites of the year – Gretchen Rubin's, The Smartest Kids in the World (which OK, I'll admit I just finished a few days ago), To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, and the Storied Life of AJ Fikry. There are so many books I am looking forward to in 2015. Can't wait to see what we have to choose from next year at this time!

  4. I have Attachments and The Smartest Kids in the World in my to-read pile right now. I seriously need to get to those, but I am dutifully finishing The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfus. It's really good, but SUCH a time commitment. I will be ready for a quick read when I'm done with it.

  5. I loved Attachments! Also Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I just finished What Alice Forgot and really liked that too. I stayed up all night reading all 3 of those, so that's what sticks out in my mind.

    I also like to read books that I think my kids would like, and in 2014 I read the Mysterious Benedict Society books (plus the Education of Nicholas Benedict), The Willoughbys, The Penderwicks and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series and the Flavia de Luce series and loved all of those.

  6. I've heard goof things about To all the Boys I've Ever Loved from you, and Ashley… You've been making my reading list quite long over the last couple weeks!

  7. I want to read The Smartest Kids in the World….that looks really great. I can't believe we have babies going to kindergarten in the fall. Ahhh!!

  8. I read "Things A Little Bird Told Me" after you suggested it on your blog earlier this year. I loved it! I really felt motivated, inspired and I laughed a lot!

  9. Seeing as I loved the three books on your list that I've also read (Delancey, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and Attachments), I think I am going to have to check out the other books on this list!

  10. I loved Attachments! And The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was such a warm read. I actually read that book on my birthday this past year, so maybe the warm fuzzies had a little help. But I still liked it. I have to admit, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was not on my radar at all when it first came out, but all the insanely positive reviews have me rethinking my stance. 🙂

  11. Hi Janssen! Thanks for your recommendations, as always. I just requested Bread & Wine, Attachments and To All The Boys based on your list. The Smartest Kids In The World is currently on hold and just awaiting my pick up. I also really enjoyed A.J. Fikry and Delancey but I'd say my favorites last year were Counting by 7's and The Meaning of Maggie. I also read a lot of older fiction like Little Bee and The Secret Life of Bees….both so great. I just started Middlesex last night and, I have to say, I'm already intrigued. Hope you have a great weekend!

  12. Thanks for the reminders on some of these books! Hope 2015 is a great reading year for you. I was thinking, seeing as you like contemporary YA and Liane Moriarty, have you tried Jaclyn (Liane's sister) Moriarty's Ashbury books? They are very funny.

  13. I almost brought the Biz Stone book a few weeks ago when on a entrepreneur book binge. The reviews were mixed so I was tempted by other things but maybe I will try it. If it is genuinely inspirational and well written I am in there!

  14. I've totally been in the mood for a Gretchen Rubin book to start off the year and am sad that Better than Before isn't out yet.

    I had my old book group read a Sauna Neiquist book (Cold Tangerines) one month and they kind of ruined her for me. A couple of people really didn't like her, and I could see truth in their criticisms, so now I can't help of think of those things when I think about her books. I still love Bread and Wine though.

  15. Gosh I keep wanting to read Bread & Wine but my library doesn't have it! I'll have to just buy it. Also, maybe you can help me. I just started a book group and I'm trying to pick the perfect book to start us out but I just can't think of where to start! I'm thinking a good fiction, nothing to bore anyone or scare anyone off with content, and something most people might not have read yet. Any suggestions??

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