elora reads: favorite books of 2014

In 2012, I made a list of my favorite books. I finished the post, hit publish, and picked up Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me and promptly placed the book back on my nightstand until 2013. 

I knew if I finished the book, I would have to go back and edit my post. 

I didn't write a favorite reads post of 2013, mostly because I didn't read as much as I hoped and also because I spent the remaining few days of 2013 sick with a cold. 

But this year? This year I waited until January 1 to write the post, making sure I didn't miss any stragglers from last week. And, because coffee has counteracted my daily Benadryl + Zyrtec blend, I have the energy to curate the list. You're welcome. 

 

NONFICTION :: 

I listened to this book while driving with my husband too and from places all around town. I can't tell you how many times I didn't want to get out of the car simply because I was enjoying the book so much. Writers: her introduction is worth the purchase alone. No really. I promise. 

Do you know those books where you're constantly grunting because it feels as if the author has your number and you're wondering how she managed to share your deepest secrets without you even knowing? That's this book. I love the concept behind this so much I use it in Rebel Diaries. My type? The Intrigue. It's like the Enneagram in that once you find out your advantages, the signs pointing to your particular weakness leave you wincing with clarity. But, more than anything, this book helped salvage a lot of decision-making I did in 2014. 

Amoruso pulls absolutely no punches with this book. This past summer, I happened upon an Instagram with this cover smiling at me and given the state my current business was in, I knew I needed a dose of reality. This book won't be for everyone, her tone can be abrasive and she has no issues with swearing, but finishing this book gave me the gumption I needed to make Awake the Bones what I knew it was meant to be in the very beginning. 

A few years ago, Preston sat on our couch while drinking wine and playing Settlers of Catan and told me of this idea for a book. "It's about a table," he said. And immediately I knew it would be a game changer. Often, when you have friends who publish books, you feel obligated to shower them with praise. No obligation here. Reading this book felt as if I were sitting in a coffee shop listening to his story. In fact, my brother asked for devotionals or AW Tozer books for Christmas. There was no question for my husband and me — we got him this book by Preston and within a few hours of opening the gift, he read a third of the book.

THE book for those of us who fall into the category of intense feelers. I've been working my way through this book (slowly) since February, and this summer nailed down some Core Desired Feelings. Those words pointed me in so many places during the remainder of the year and just yesterday I worked through the words to capture what I hope to feel in 2015: generous, alchemy, wild, golden, pure, and visceral. This book is more than creating goals and visioning where you want to be in a few years. For me, it provides an avenue in which I can find contentment in my every-day poetics.

 

FICTION :: 

I'm not even sure if I have words for this one. It may be THE favorite of 2014. I read it in one sitting and didn't go to bed until 3am because I couldn't put it down. With sentences like  I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk it was easy for me to fall into the rhythm of Millay's words. I want more of them. Like yesterday. 

Oh wait. This may be a favorite too. Just...get this entire series. Read it. This last book had me reeling in awesomeness and phrases I wish I could have thought of myself. Mafi's diction and structure and syntax — all of it makes me swoon. Trust me on this one. Okay? Okay. 

This time last year, my cover artist posted on Facebook that Jandy Nelson's paperback was on sale and that we all needed to one-click, no questions asked. So I did, because I trust her taste, and y'all. It's become one of the books that I'll loan out to only the precious most important people in my life because I don't ever want to lose it. Loved this book. LOVED it. 

I may be a bit biased here, because I worked with Haas while she was finishing her book, but I promise you: part of the reason I hounded her in coaching is because I believed in this book so much. Engaging, fun, unique — it had me riveted. I'm not one to read books with faeries, but this one had me forgetting that fine line between fiction and reality. I loved her characters and loved her writing style even more. This one is on my list because Haas is an author to watch. Promise. 

This was a book club selection this past fall and I love-love-loved it because of the gut wrenching honesty Tropper manages to weave into his plot. Families are hard, but beautiful, and you see that in this book. It's also hilarious and refreshing and doesn't try too hard. So, bonus. 

What were your favorite books this past year? What are you hoping to read in 2015? For me, this is the year of Outlander and CS Lewis' fiction, among others. 

Posted on January 1, 2015 and filed under elora reads.