It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what I’ve been reading. In January of 2014 I set a goal that I would read 15 books. I love to read but I noticed, at the beginning of last year, that I wasn’t doing it enough. I was letting busyness (and watching TV) get in the way. Setting a goal was a way for me to be more proactive and intentional about making time for reading. I’m happy to say that I exceeded my goal and actually read 18 books in 2014. This year, I “upped” my goal to 20 books. I’m reading Wuthering Heights right now (yuck, so far) and have a lot of other books on my “to-read” list.
Throughout 2014, I posted a few times about the books I was reading. You can read about my thoughts on the books I read earlier in 2014 here. I kind of fell off the band wagon when it came to posting about the books I read, so I’m catching up now. If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for recommendations on good books to read. Here are my thoughts on some of the books I read later in the year. If you read a book that really spoke to you or have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Eleanor and Park, By Rainbow Rowell
This was the last book I read in 2014. I picked it up last minute before a trip to Ohio because I needed something to read on the plane. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. The book follows two teenagers who fall in love. It’s a Romeo and Juliet type of story in the sense that the odds are against them. Eleanor comes from a poor and abusive family. She’s an outcast at school and feels completely alone until Park comes into her life. Park faces his own challenges and insecurities, as most teenagers do at some point. I was obsessed with their love story. Rainbow Rowell does a really good job of reminding readers what it’s like to be a teenager and what it’s like to experience first love. It’s a Young Adult novel, but it’s more realistic and true to the teen experience than a lot of other popular YA books out there.
The Delirium Trilogy, By Lauren Oliver
Another YA series. These books are about a society that considers love to be a disease that must be cured. They basically force everyone, at the age of 18, to have a partial lobotomy in order to cure everyone of amor deliria nervosa, aka love. It may sound like a strange concept, but it so works. The story follows Lena, a young girl, about to have her procedure. Just before she is “cured”, Lena winds up contracting amor deliria nervosa and contemplates whether a life without love is worth living. It’s a really original story, both action and romance packed. If you loved The Hunger Games and Divergent, you will love these books.
Personal Note: These books, I have to say, were my favorite books I read all year. In fact, they made me want to start writing creative fiction again. Although, I love writing non-fiction, particularly when it comes to food and travel (hence, why I created this blog), fiction writing was actually my first love. As a kid, I was very imaginative and I loved to write and make up stories. I always wanted to be an author and write fictional books! Anyway, after reading the Divergent (earlier in 2014) & Delirium series, I took a creative writing class, which reignited that fire and passion I used to have for fictional writing.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, By Susan Cain
I loved this book so much for many reasons. In Quiet, Susan Cain, explores the reasons why there is an extrovert ideal, at least in American society, and points out how detrimental this can actually be. Not only because, 1/3 to 1/2 of the population is actually introverted, but also because of the different gifts Introverts bring to the table. It’s not a self help book, but it was certainly helpful, on a personal level, for me. I am definitely more introverted than I am extroverted, but, growing up, I often pushed myself to do things that an extroverted person would enjoy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to push yourself, but I felt embarrassed about my introverted tendencies. I would go to a party instead of staying home and reading and I would never admit that I’d prefer to do the latter. Although, I’ve grown more accepting of myself over time, Susan Cain’s book really aided in that self acceptance. Some of the greatest leaders in history, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Ghandi, were introverts. Quiet is an exceptional book about appreciating each other’s strengths and celebrating one another’s differences. I could go on and on about this book, but you should just read it and see how great it is for yourself.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, By Mindy Kaling
This was such a fun read. I was a huge fan of The Office and I was really excited to read Mindy’s book. It’s funny (duh) but it’s also heartfelt and interesting. She gives some good pieces of advice, but in the funny, typical Mindy way that we all love.
One for the Money (and Two for the Dough), By Janet Evanovich
People have been telling me to read these books for years. And, although, I didn’t laugh out loud, these books definitely made me smile. They are easy, beach reads. You can read them in a day, which is good, because there are, like, a million of them. Although unrealistic, they are completely entertaining. Also, if you’re from Jersey, you’ll love the geographical and stereotypical (and oh, so true) references that permeate the entire book.
Mad About The Boy (Bridget Jones series), By Helen Fielding
This was another book I picked up last minute before a trip so I would have something to read on the flight. Confession: I never actually read the first two, but I loved the movies. So, when I saw it on the bookshelf I thought I’d give it a shot. I did laugh out loud a few times while reading this. Again, it’s a fun (albeit unrealistic) read that features the typical Bridget we all grew to love, only this time she’s middle aged and navigating parenthood as a single mom. This phase of life brings a whole new set of hilarious problems for Bridget. Twitter anyone?
The House at Sugar Beach, By Helene Cooper
What an extraordinary life Helene Cooper has led. She went from a privileged childhood in Liberia to fleeing for her life when Liberia fell apart in the 1980’s to trying to adapt to life in America as a teenager to becoming one of the most successful journalists in the United States. It’s a fascinating memoir that follows both her life personally as well as detailing the Liberian crisis in the 1980’s.