Books

Books Read in 2014

For the twelfth year in a row, I’m posting my annual reading list. Previous lists can be found at the following links; the number in parentheses is the total number of books read that year: 2013 (42), 2012 (66), 2011 (27), 2010 (47), 2009 (25), 2008 (34), 2007 (31), 2006 (110), 2005 (45), 2004 (42), 2003 (41).

Total books read in 2014: 53

I divided the books into four categories: Highly Recommended (my favorites); Recommended (good but not must-reads); Okay (read only if interested in the subject matter); and Not Recommended.

I read mostly nonfiction. Last year I read six fiction books, but this year it was only one (The Fault in Our Stars, which I didn’t care for). My goal for 2015 is to read more good fiction.

I’ve always posted my reading lists at the end of the year, but I think I may switch it up in 2015 and post them more often. Stay tuned.

Highly Recommended

1. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown

2. Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace, William Lobdell
Although I rarely re-read books, I picked this up for the second time after I convinced my husband to read it earlier this year. This book isn’t just for nonbelievers — my husband is Catholic (attends Mass every weekend without fail) and he enjoyed it.

3. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, Barbara Demick

4. Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier, Tom Kizzia

5. Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, Ken Jennings

6. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography, Rob Lowe
I didn’t expect to rate a book by a movie star this high, but it was really interesting. I liked how he would describe meeting someone and it would take a page or two before you realized he was talking about Charlie Sheen, or Janet Jackson, or Sarah Jessica Parker.

Recommended

7. Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work, Jeanne Marie Laskas

8. Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists, Dan Barker

9. Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything, Barbara Ehrenreich

10. Growing Up Amish, Ira Wagler

11. The Cooked Seed: A Memoir, Anchee Min

12. The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, Josh Hanagarne

13. Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany, Marthe Cohn

14. From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, Allen Salkin

15. Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, Lisa & Laura Ling

16. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, Elizabeth Bard

17. We’ve Always Had Paris…and Provence: A Scrapbook of Our Life in France, Patricia & Walter Wells

18. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, Pamela Druckerman

19. Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris, Ann Mah

20. A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance, Marlena de Blasi

21. A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure, Marlena de Blasi

22. The Lady in the Palazzo: An Umbrian Love Story, Marlena de Blasi

23. Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet, Jenifer Ringer

24. The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family’s Quest for the Sweetest Harvest, Douglas Whynott

25. Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home, Mary Matalin & James Carville

26. Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, Jillian Lauren

27. Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know, Emily Oster

28. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, J.B. West

29. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, Molly Wizenberg

30. It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

31. Love Life, Rob Lowe

32. Here’s the Story, Maureen McCormick

33. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, Judy Greer

34. Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, Tsh Oxenreider

35. The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure, Rachel Friedman

36. My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story with Recipes, Luisa Weiss

37. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, Shauna Niequist

38. The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley

39. I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi

Okay

40. Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own, Mika Brzezinski

41. The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age, Myra MacPherson

42. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

43. The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese, Michael Paterniti

44. Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, Diane Keaton

45. Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen, Alyssa Shelasky

46. Year of No Sugar, Eve Schaub
I wrote a review on this book.

47. The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World, Chris Guillebeau
Maybe it’s because I’ve read similar books before, but this didn’t provide me with any new information.

48. My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff

49. I Do, Now What? Secrets, Stories, and Advice from a Madly-in-Love Couple, Giuliana & Bill Rancic

50. The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music, Melissa Etheridge

51. Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood, Charlotte Silver

52. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett
Book of essays – some were good, but others were boring.

Not Recommended

53. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: A Memoir Based on a True Story, Dave Eggers
I read this book because I recognized the name and assumed it must be good. Wrong. I’m surprised I finished it – I usually don’t have many books for the Not Recommended list because I stop reading boring books at the drop of a hat. It must be because this book started out semi-interesting and went downhill later.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Denise December 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Another great list! Thank you. I’m amused that you put Dave Eggers on the not recommended list. So many people love his books and I do not.

    I’m also glad you reviewed This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. I was afraid it wouldn’t be great so I didn’t read it. I think I made the right choice there.

  • Reply Elissa December 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Always impressive Z

    • Reply Zandria December 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      It’s fun to keep a list, no matter how long or short it is! I’d be interested to see what you read, too. 🙂

  • Reply lori December 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I have read several of the books mentioned. Good list!

  • Reply Dad December 29, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Awwwwww Awwwwww Awwwwwwwwwww aawwww! I am not sure but i did start, “You and your Glout.” Dose that count.

  • Reply Dana January 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I didn’t know Rob Lowe had written a book, but it’s definitely on my list now.
    Thanks for linking up!

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