Best Books of 2014

Best Books of 2014

PRc6NRaYI did a lot of reading this year. It was one of my intentions for 2014 since the previous year was seriously lacking in that department. With the year coming to a close today I thought it would be fun to share my favorite reads of the year. The 2014 smorgasbord included some fiction, non-fiction, young adult, classic, biography, and of course a book about books which is double pleasure to me. You can see all the books I read this year on this Pinterest board, but in case you’re wondering…here’s my top 5!



#5  Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

This was my first introduction to Shauna Niequist and a lovely one at that. I’d heard such good things about Bread and Wine (and by the way…$1.99 Kindle version on Amazon right now), but since food and entertaining are not my forte I searched for another of her books. It amazes me how talented people are in expressing the simplest of things in the most profound ways. Shauna speaks of simple things….everyday life, even the mundane…but in a way that encourages you to stop and notice the extraordinary in the ordinary…and don’t we all need a lot more of that?

Favorite Quote: “I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open, and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater.”


#4  Daily Love: Growing into Grace by Mastin Kipp

I have to say that there was quite a bit of “theology” I had to work around to get to the truth contained in this book, but I learned quite a while ago to eat the meat and pick out the bones concerning sermons, commentaries, books, opinions and the like. Mastin Kipp is the founder of the wildly popular website which catapulted to popularity after Kim Kardashian tweeted about it, which is kind of like Oprah picking your book for her book club…instant exposure! Daily Love is simply Mastin’s story and a colorful one it is. From fame to failure as a result of succumbing to the pitfalls of drugs, ego, and the glitz and glam of the fast lane, Mastin hit rock bottom but them made some rock solid decisions that changed everything. What Mastin shares concerning our comfort zones, the nature of fear, and the need to act as opposed to analyze are powerful inspiration for change.

Favorite Quote: “Personal growth without action is …spiritual entertainment.…  Most of my spiritual work was just spiritual entertainment; I wasn’t backing it up with action. As much as we want to change we are also terrified of uncertainty. We’d almost rather stick to our old patterns than risk doing something different. That’s why it’s so easy to get lost in self-help books. We feel like we are making progress, but in truth we may actually be spinning our wheels and not taking any action.”


#3  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I read this book. It not only helped me understand myself but made me recognize and appreciate some things I’d judged as faults in quite a few others in my life. Similar to the insight I received in realizing the unique giftings in God’s people, this thoroughly researched, comprehensive look at the traits of introverts and extroverts and the incredible benefits that each bring to any number of situations was enlightening to say the very least. I highly recommend this book (…and right now the Kindle version is only $2.99 on Amazon)!

Favorite Quote: “Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.” 


#2  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

This one was another hard one to get through for a few reasons, but the message of this book is so incredible that it’s worth the challenge I faced to finish it. Ann’s writing is like no other. It is wordy which made it difficult for my taste, but it is oh, so eloquent. To be perfectly honest, I believe the lesson Ann teaches in the book is embodied in and involuntarily required by her style of writing…the lesson being: slow down, take time to enjoy the delicate, intricate nuances of the myriad of things that are all around us…offered to us as gifts from our loving God. Joy isn’t the source of gratefulness, gratefulness is the source of joy. So very much to ponder in this amazing book.

Favorite Quote: “Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I’m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows…”


#1  Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

My number one favorite read of the year is Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak. Books that speak of finding your destiny, calling, passion, and purpose are endless. I’ve read many of them as I, like so many, look to ensure that I’m living a life of meaning. This little book (only 128 pages) is a breath of fresh air in that search. Encouraging us to look at our life instead of some elusive purpose that might be eluding us and just out of reach, Parker brings a whole new way of thinking to the idea of vocation, bringing the peace and calm that comes from finding answers to the inner struggle that often accompanies a quest for meaning in our lives. You might just discover you’re not as far from the answers as you might have thought.

Favorite Quote: “Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.” 


Now that you’ve seen what I’ve read and enjoyed might you offer a suggestion or two for my reading in the upcoming year? I’d just love that!!


Happy New Year everyone!

Oh, and by the way…the January photo-a-day list is updated and can be found here.

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Linking up with Book Musing Mondays


  1. Hi, I would love for you to connect up with Book Musing Mondays on my blog. It runs from Sunday evening til Friday evenings every week. I loved so many of these books too.

    • Hi Mary…Thanks for dropping by and extending an invitation. Headed to your site now. 🙂

  2. Hello! Stopping by from Mary Hill’s Book Musing Mondays .. really enjoyed your list! I linked up a different book review this time around, but here is my list of favorite reads from 2014:

    Thanks for sharing yours!

    • Hi Kate, Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be heading over ASAP to read your reviews. Don’t you love this time of year when there’s so many book reviews being shared? I can never get enough.

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