A year in review: 2014 Books

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It’s been a good year for books: 8 on audiobooks, 13 on kindle, 10 actual physical books, 24 nonfiction, 4 memoirs and 3 novels. I didn’t really make a lot of goals last year except to survive the year with a new baby. But I did make a reading goal of 25 books, which I surpassed and hit 31! Woo hoo! I owe that mainly to the many hours of nursing sessions and the audiobooks driving in the car to my students’ lessons. I think it’s safe to say that this is the first year that I have read that many books, none of which were required school reading. I hope to keep up the momentum in 2015, with again a goal of 25 since I won’t have the two months of binge reading childbirth books that I had last year. 🙂

In case you are curious, here are the books I read in 2014 with some short reviews, followed by a few books I plan to read in 2015.

Do you have any recommendations? Chris gave me a hard time for only reading a few novels this year, so any recommendations for amazing fiction books are particularly welcomed!

2014 Books: A Year in Review

To see some short reviews on the Pregnancy and Childbirth books I read, check out my previous post here.

Those included:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Birthing From Within

Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds

Your Best Birth

& some more from 2013. 🙂

Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping – I am SO glad our pediatrician recommended this book. The research Dr. James Mckenna has done about cosleeping in infant mother pairs is fascinating and wonderful. This book outlines safe cosleeping practices and talks about the cultural differences between our society and other non-western societies. There are immense benefits and it just makes sense. Book is super short and I highly recommend to new parents.

The Happiest Baby on the Block – This is one of those that everyone tells you to read and they are right. We also watched the DVD. In the early days during the witching hour, my mom and I would be scanning through the book for extra tips to calm Clare. And to this day, the 5 S’s are still our best friends when it comes to calming her.

Something Blue – This is one of my favorites of Emily Giffin’s. The sequel to Something Borrowed is in movie talks currently, and I just really like the transformation that Darcy’s character makes throughout. A re-read, but I loved it again.

Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting – This was a quick library book read. I wasn’t a huge fan. Some of the principals, specifically around food, I definitely agree with, but others didn’t jive with me.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Excellent book. I listened to the audiobook on this one. Michael Pollan’s research is thorough and engaging and so spot on. His simple rules for eating: Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. The french paradox stuff was really interesting, and I found myself saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ to most of what he said. I wish more people realized how screwed up our food industry is and that it really is worth it to spend more (time and money) on quality food. A side note – I also just watched the Fed Up documentary and highly recommend.

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives – I really liked a lot of the principals in this book for sustaining marriage after a baby arrives. Though it was excercize heavy and I can’t say we actually did the practices, but the concepts were good to keep in mind.

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife – I LOVED this book. Chronicling Peggy Vincent’s career as a midwife in the bay area, it gave such a wonderful picture of the normalcy and natural process of childbirth. The birth stories were wonderful. I read it after Clare was born, but I would also recommend it to pregnant mommas.

Year of No Sugar: A Memoir – This book was eye opening to the harmful effects of sugar in our diets. I can’t say that it made me stop eating sugar, but it definitely made me consider it’s prevalence a lot more.

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan – As with above, this one gave a lot of good evidence for the removal of sugar from our diets and different substitutes we can have. Avocado toast is now a favorite breakfast and snack around here.

The One & Only: A Novel
– Emily Giffin’s newest novel. I listened to the audiobook. I can’t say it was my favorite of hers…but I did enjoy the break in listening to a novel.

The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods – and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy – This book explained the concept of BLW well and gave examples of what foods to introduce as you go and different recipes to get you started.

MOMFRIENDS – This was one of our mama first book club books and I enjoyed it. The author, I believe must have self published and could have used some more editing, but the story was relateable to those of us that are new moms and navigating friendships as we go.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind – This one read more like a bunch of blog posts than like a book, but I was okay with that. Helpful tidbits from all kinds of authors about how to make the most of your day. Some of it didn’t apply to me so much as a mom, but others definitely did! I recognized many of the authors contributing and found some helpful advice. I liked the idea of putting your to do list on a post-it note and that if its more than that, it’s not feasible in one day. The usual adages of writing every day and frequency sparking creativity were in there too but worded in a new way. A lot about resetting and mindfulness and “windows of non-stimulation” that all resonated with me too.

Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World – Great parenting book with a lot of tips for the adults as well. I found myself very taken aback thinking about the kind of technology driven and overstimulating world my kids will grow up in. Give a lot of insight on how to weave mindfulness into everyday and help kids manage energy and stress.

Love Life – I love Rob Lowe. I loved his first book “Stories I only tell my friends” and I loved this one as well. This time I listened to the audiobook which I highly recommend, because he is the one reading it and his inflection really makes the book extra excellent. This one was a great blend of glimpses into hollywood and the tv/movie business and his family life. And as a parent myself now, hearing him talk about his boys leaving for college definitely made me tear up. I really like what he says at the end when he’s talking about life in general and how unpredictable it is (while sharing an anecdote about him and madonna) – he says “intention is what gives the action value.” It’s not about just what you do, it’s about how and why you do it. Definitely recommend.

Glitter and Glue: A Memoir – I found Kelly Corrigan because she spoke at the Care Begins With Me event I was invited to here in Sacramento. I’m so glad I did, because she is a wonderful writer! (And speaker!) I listened to the audiobook on this one, and like Rob Lowe, she was the one reading it. There’s something about memoirs that are read by the author that just make them all the better. This is her newest book about the relationship with her and her mom and her adventure nannying in Austrailia. Loved it.

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality – Another book club pick, this anthology was wonderful. I didn’t realize it was a Seal Press book while reading it, but it totally makes sense with their focus on Women. (I interned there once upon a blue moon ago) Anyway – I recommend this to any mom and particularly if you are feeling like you are never enough.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – Another re-read, but this time on audiobook. Listening to Mitch Albom read about his beloved professor made this sweet and poignant book all the sweeter. 🙂 Everyone should read it.

The Highly Sensitive Person – Loved this book, and I am 100% without a doubt, an HSP. There are so many things I highlighted thinking yes yes yes! I wish I could list them all here but favorites were “If you are a typical HSP, you can be a worry-prone perfectionist” “Your self-worth may have been entirely contingent upon your achievements” “Always plan a way to bail out” pertaining to social engagements. “when we have no control over stimulation, it is even more upsetting” The research on links between HSPs and serotonin were also really interesting.

Lift – A very sweet little “love letter” book Kelly wrote to her daughters. Some of the reviews lament it’s skipping around and non-cohesiveness. But I think that’s what makes it lovely, because that is how we think as parents, in fragments about things we should say or tell them or stories to remember. Again, she’s a fantastic writer.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – I loved the principles in this book. And that it wasn’t just about simplifying clutter and toys, but also food, schedules, and so much more. It all makes so much sense and hope that we can give Clare some of it’s frameworks as she grows up. I liked the idea of having certain food nights of the week “Spaghetti”, “Fish” etc and how that predictability can help. It has some Waldorf education principles as well which totally jive with my parenting style.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Great book. The power of vulnerability and being authentic. I really enjoyed the self and parent sections, moreso that work, since the kind of work I do is very different than corporate culture now (Thank god!) Highly recommend.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
– Heard about this on on my favorite One Bad Mother Podcast and it was not what I expected it would be. But it was very interesting. Thoroughly researched – the work section made me want to move to Denmark, and hate our childcare system in the United States. The play section really reminded me of how much I need to incorporate it into my life. I listened to the audiobook on this one as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the voice though.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – The older I get, and the more I read the more I believe I am actually an introvert. One who has been very good at pretending to be an extrovert over the years. It really resonated with me when she said a lot of times if introverts act out of their true nature for too long they get sick and burnt out. I used to do this ALL of the time and it makes sense now why I was always getting sick. When she mentioned feeling like she was working in a foreign country when she was in the wrong kind of job situation – I’ve definitely been there. I also resonated with the idea that introverts like to host parties more than they like to attend other people’s parties. And take note of what you wanted to be when you grew up as a child as well as what you’re envious of, because these are your true nature. So many great points and interesting research. This was an audiobook for me as well.

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – I was given this book through Blogging for Books. I had heard Chris on several of the podcasts I listen to, and I also have his $100 Startup book that I still haven’t yet read. Really enjoyed this book and reading about all of the quests people participated in. I like that he also left room for more introvert homebody type quests. It wasn’t all about travel. I also really liked the section on yearly goal setting because I always have enjoyed goal setting and checking off lists.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood – And Finally, Momma Zen, our December book club pick. Each vignette about motherhood was wonderful, always struck a chord and was beautifully written. I love the ties to Buddhism and the views based on zen meditation teachings.

Books I hope to read in 2015:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – my “read” gift from Chris this year.

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life – Currently reading.

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children
(I started this one but then it had to return to the library, sad.)

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! – A gift from my mom LAST year.

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
a Christmas gift from my sweet friend Sarah!

Not alone pic

PS – if we aren’t friends on goodreads, add me!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a book based on my recommendation Clare’s diaper fund gets a teeny bit of money. 🙂




3 thoughts on “A year in review: 2014 Books

  1. Pingback: GOTG’s Book List for 2015 - Girls on the Grid

  2. Pingback: Book Reviews Jan/Feb 2015 | Everyday a Choice

  3. Pingback: March/April 2015 Book Reviews | Everyday a Choice

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