Well, it's that time of year again. Everyone is reminiscing about the past year, making their best whatever lists. I've got my fair share of lists happening, too, but this is my favorite one to share. My favorite reads of 2014! This year the selection is a bit diverse, and not too long. I didn't read as much as usual this year. In fact, I don't even think I'll make it to 40 books, never mind my goal of 50 :( But it was such a fun year of adventures and fun that I can't complain. I'll just have to try harder next year :) So let's talk books now.
Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
This list isn't in much of an order, but this book is definitely my favorite book of the year. So much so, that I bought copies for a few of my girls to make them read it. It is SO. GOOD. I just, I can't even explain to you what this book means to me. Annie writes in a way that is simple and inspiring and makes me want to be her best friend. Her manner, her thoughts, her subject matter are something that I related to so much, even while thinking "she's so much braver than me", but that just made me braver in my day-to-day life, all at the same time. I finished reading this book in early September and it hasn't left my coffee table. I can't bear to put it away yet. Just seeing it on my table every day, thumbing through the highlighted passages every so often, inspires me to be my best self, my bravest self. I could go on and on about how much I love this book, but just go out and buy this book. Now.
The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
I kept seeing this one floating around the interwebs and in my DnB groups, so I finally broke down and bought it. And I am so glad I did! This is a great companion to Let's All Be Brave. Chris shares the stories of people who have undertaken quests of all shapes and sizes to find their purpose in life and breaks down the common traits to inspire the reader to find their own Quest. I still have no idea what mine really is, but I'm inspired and searching. This book flew by and was so interesting and encouraging.
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
This is the most fun and creative autobiography ever. I love NPH, and when I learned he had a book out, I immediately headed to the bookstore to get it. I was already in my pajamas for the night, but I changed to jeans and went to buy it, then read it in a day. He wrote the whole story in second person narrative like the choose your own adventure books of old. You choose how the book plays out, which stories you read in which order. It was fantastic! It was such an entertaining read from an entertaining man and made me love him even more.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
Okay, quick little disclaimer: this book is not a clean read. Kristin's lifestyle and my own are very different. But we do share the travel addiction, and that made me absolutely love this book. The way she describes her relationship with travel finally gave me a way to put my own into words. She understood the feelings I get when I travel, and when I don't travel, in a way I haven't been able to describe or find someone else who relates. Her search for herself was absolutely relatable. Take out the massive drinking and crazy sexcapades, and I think we're the same person. Right down to travel injuries.
Impact by Casey Lewis
I read two finance books this year: this one and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. And as I said in my review, I like Casey's better. I found him to be more relatable and down to earth, even while they both shared the same info and similar methods. Great tips and advice in a non-threatening manner. If you need to get your finances in order, check it out!
The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
I read the whole series this year, including Four just yesterday (thanks Chrissy!)! I loved this series! In case you don't know what it's about (have you been living in a cave?), the Divergent series follows Tris Prior in a dystopian future where society is divided into five factions based on the personal traits they most value. At 16, she must choose what faction she wants to be part of, even if it means abandoning her family. But, of course, nothing is as it seems and soon the world they've come to know is falling apart and Tris is at the center. This series is great! There is plenty of action and drama, romance, humor, you name it. And it fit in with the apparent theme of bravery my reading took this year. My biggest complaint is with Allegiant, and not for the reason most readers dislike it. I just found the Tobias sections super whiney, and he was never like that before! It made me really angry that he was being so whiney and made it tough to get through the book. So I try to pretend it didn't happen, because I really like Four. The rest of the series I love, especially getting to see into Tobias's past in Four.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Ohmygosh, this book, ohmygosh. You guys, I LOVE this book. I think this should be up at the top, but I wanted to bookend this post with my top two favorites. Everything else is a random order, but this....this is definitely my favorite fiction read of the year. Fangirl is about an introverted uber-fangirl named Cath who is starting college with her twin sister- who seems to want nothing to do with her now that they're in college. So Cath sticks to herself, mainly writing popular fanfiction in her dorm room and avoiding the real world. Her roommate Reagan and the over-friendly Levi refuse to let her hole up completely, pulling her out of her shell and becoming an unlikely trio. Okay, that's not a great description. But let me just say, that if you fangirl over anything, you'll probably relate to this book. I loved that the main character was so introverted and socially awkward and slightly neurotic, because it was so so so relatable! I was laughing, I was crying, I was and am Cath. I flew through this book, too, reading it in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't stop. I NEEDED to know what happened. There was just so much to this book! So many turns and stories woven in. I didn't love the ending, mainly because it ended. I just wanted more! It left off at a very sweet moment, but I just wanted a little more...something. But ohmygosh, I just want to read it again, and I just finished it last week. If you fangirl or geek out about books, you need this in your life.
So that's it! My top 7 favorite books of 2014! What were your favorite books of the year?