A Year in Books (2014)

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[My alternative title for this post was, “My Longest Blog Post Ever”.]

 One of my goals for 2014 was to read 30 books. I did it! And then some!
1 year. 35 books. 9,811 pages. Roughly 2,774,499 words.

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  1. Kate: The Future Queen (Katie Nicholl)
    I adore Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge so for Christmas last year I received two different biographies on the former Ms. Middleton.  This one had a good deal of information about Kate’s childhood.  I was excited to learn that the Duchess and I have several things in common.
  2. SiCology 101 (Si Robertson)
    I read Phil Robertson’s book Happy, Happy, Happy last year and I got this book as a Christmas present for my Dad.  He had finished reading it before Christmas vacation was over and he suggested I read it.  I had already started reading my own present so I waited until this year to read his.  I enjoyed this book. It is an easy and humorous read.
  3. I Am John Galt:Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It (Donald Luskin, Andrew Greta)
    I enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and I have liked (and critiqued) the Atlas Shrugged movies (Part I, Part II and Part III) and, the title of this book caught my eye.  After reading this book I passed it on to my Dad and we had lively conversations about it later.  It takes characters from Rand’s books and finds modern versions of those individuals and supports why they chose this person as the embodiment of that character.  It has a businessy theme, but I recommend it to any Rand or Atlas Shrugged fan.
  4. Kate: A Biography (Marcia Moody)
    I enjoyed this biography about the Duchess as well.  This one focused a little more on the romance that William and Kate shared for years before the wedding of the century, what Kate did after university and it also gave “updates”, if you will, about what was going on in Prince William’s life at the same time Kate was growing up.
  5. Yesterday, Today and Forever (Maria von Trapp)
    This book was very interesting.  It discussed how Maria and George von Trapp taught their children about God.  It made me think of certain things in a new way. I enjoyed this book and passed it on to my mom who also enjoyed it and we had interesting conversations about it.
  6. She’s All That (Kirstin Billerbeck)
    This one I read on recommendation from my sister.  This is the first of a three part series called “The Spa Girls”.  It is classified as Christian Chick Lit.  I had read four books by Kirsten Billerbeck in 2013 and I really like her writing style.  This book focuses on Lily, a fashion designer with two best friends and a funny grandmother. It follows Lily through the ups and downs she faces as she makes a huge career change.
  7. A Girl’s Best Friend (Kirstin Billerbeck)
    This is the second book in the “Spa Girls” series.  It follows Morgan, a diamond heiress, through her troubled relationship with her father, legal troubles and finding love.
  8. Cool, Calm and Adjusted (Kirstin Billerbeck)
    This is the last book in the “Spa Girls” series.  This one follows Poppy, a chiropractor, as she deals with being the only one of her friends without a boyfriend, she also runs into a problem with the lease on her office space. I enjoyed all of the books in this series, but I think this one might be my favorite.
  9. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    I have been a fan of The Lord of the Rings since the movies came out, but I was always a little curious about the details of how Bilbo ended up with the ring.  This book tells you, and it is way better than the movies.
  10. I am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl (Alexis Jones)
    This book is a must read for all girls who might need a little help figuring out what it is you want/are meant to do with your life.  I still am not sure of my purpose but Alexis makes you excited to discover it.  Alexis tells about her life and how she came to be the founder of I AM THAT GIRL, “A global movement inspiring girls…”
  11. The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)
    I liked and disliked this book.  This book had been on my shelf for a couple of years and in January I had suggested that my family all read and then discuss it as a sort of book study, because who doesn’t want to be happier right?! We all agreed that we deserve to be happier than we currently are.  We also agreed that perhaps we ought to try our own (drastically) modified version of the happiness project. But mostly we ended up discussing the author of this book. In theory a happiness project of sorts is good, but we all disagreed with the author’s implementation (and some of her comments). I suggest if you want to partake in a project to boost your happiness gather information from blogs, etc. You do not NEED this book.
  12. LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    As I said under The Hobbit I really liked the Lord of the Rings movies when they came out, and I always wanted to read the books but never got around to it, until now. I really liked this book. As usual, the books are way better than the movies. For the sake of time, I’m sure, so much is left out of the movies. It all makes more sense in the book.
  13. LOTR: The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    I think this might have been my favorite book of the trilogy. There was a very powerful scene, which I still find myself thinking about now, that had been left out of the movie. It is so much better than the movie (this was my least favorite of the three movies).
  14. LOTR: The Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    Again, so much better than the movie…  The book really explains the importance of the return of the king so much better than the movie. Also, the ending is slightly different from the movie. I watched each of the movies after I finished each book and I saw subtle thing in the background that were mentioned in the book but not really addressed in the film but I also noticed all of the things the movie got “wrong”, i.e. left out scenes, changes in the way things were done, who said what, etc. I highly recommend the Lord of the Rings book trilogy.
  15. Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk)
    Again the book is better than the movie, and it has a completely different ending. It was a quick read. I enjoyed reading it; it was weird, but interesting from a psychological and sociological perspective.
  16. Split Ends (Kirstin Billerbeck)
    This was another recommendation from my sister. Like the other seven Billerbeck books I liked this one. It too is written in first person, which make it fun to read. This one follows Sarah Claire as she takes a leap from Wyoming to L.A. and struggles with her new life, and its requirements, and her faith and standards.
  17. I Was Told There’d Be Cake (Sloane Crosley)
    This book is a collection of amusing essays. It is a short and easy read; several times I caught myself laughing as I read Sloane’s humorous thoughts. If you are looking for a short and funny read on the beach for the summer, this is a good one.
  18. Be A Direct Selling Superstar (Mary Christensen)
    I read this book because I am an Independent Jamberry Consultant and I was looking for information on how to make the direct selling business work for me.  I found this book very informational, but also entertaining. (I also read The Skinny on Direct Selling: Your First 100 Days (Randell) but I did not count it in my 30 books this year because it is super short, but a great read for those considering a direct sales opportunity.)
  19. The Ultimate Guide To Blogging (Mike Fishbein)
    This book was a very short and easy read (I finished it in one day) with some good information for anyone considering blogging, however, I am not sure I would call it the ULTIMATE guide to blogging…
  20. The Secret (Rhonda Byrne)
    My family decided to read this book as another book study. It is a very interesting read about rewiring how you think, getting what you want and being who you want. (I wrote a whole post about this book earlier, you can read it here for more details.)
  21. Dream More (Dolly Parton)
    I love Dolly and this book is full of her wisdom. It is a quick and easy read but full of poignant thoughts and funny quips.
  22. Three Blind Mice (Agatha Christie)
    An interesting murder mystery followed by several shorter whodunits featuring Ms. Marple and Hercule Peroit.
  23. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers (Maria Trapp)
    I loved this book and passed it on to my mother to read as well. The Academy Award Winning film The Sound of Music was based on this book.  The von Trapp family’s faith through all their struggles and success is so inspiring. This book also had some amusing aspects, like when the Austrian family was learning to speak English on their way to America. I wrote a post about this book earlier, for more information about it click here.)
  24. Unwind (Michael Opin and Sam Braken)
    This book presents a stress management philosophy based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It also presents information about how stress effects the human body and that we were not designed to cope with the stress causing hormone, adrenaline, for extended periods of time, just long enough to fight or flee.
  25. I’ve Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has (Mandy Hale)
    I loved this book! Mandy Hale has a very relatable story with unique anecdotes all written in a very conversational, friendly way. Her blog, twitter account and book about being single and using that time as to know yourself, God and His plan for you are inspirational. As I read I was excited that, like the Duchess of Cambridge, Mandy/The Single Woman and I had several things in common. I highly recommend this book to all ladies – single, in a relationship or married. Her story is inspiring, humorous at times and thought provoking about life and your relationship with God.
  26. A Cold Dish (Craig Johnson)
  27. Death Without Company (Craig Johnson)
  28. Kindness Goes Unpunished (Craig Johnson)
  29. Another Man’s Moccasins (Craig Johnson)
  30. The Dark Horse (Craig Johnson)
  31. Junkyard Dogs (Craig Johnson)
  32. Hell Is Empty (Craig Johnson)
  33. As The Crow Flies (Craig Johnson)
  34. A Serpent’s Tooth (Craig Johnson)
  35. Any Other Name (Craig Johnson)
    I love the Walt Longmire series! I first loved A&E’s show “Longmire” (now on Netflix!) then discovered its basis, Craig Johnson’s well written western/mystery series. It is written in first person, which makes for a great mystery novel (when you are the sheriff) and has very interesting characters from the wise and stoic Henry, to the tough Sheriff Longmire and his foul mouthed deputy, Vic. No two books in the series are the same; with surprise endings, endearing characters and plots that build, I highly recommend this series to all who enjoy curling up with a good mystery. (I already have his new book, Dry Bones [which will be released in May] on my list of “To Be Read in 2015” list.)

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  1. No lie about your longest blog post ever! But I’m so excited to see all the books you read. I might need to take some as suggestions.

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