Reading: 2014

Books!  Books!  Books!

My goal is 50 books again this year, but with a bit more focus in the non-fiction department.  In particular, I’d like to read a few books on deliberate practice and talent.  (How’s that for deliberate?)  And probably chicken keeping.  And while I enjoy my light novels, especially the audio editions while engaging in household drudgery, I plan to select a few works of literary fiction, too.

Here’s what I’ve read so far:

 The Fixer Upper – Mary Kay Andrews

Loved this one. Light and fun, but with rich characters and an interesting plot. The ending takes a turn for the not-so-believable, but it’s enjoyable all the same. Plus, this one really got my DIY juices following for the new year. I actually listened to the audio version of this book and LOVED the narrator. She really makes the characters come alive. Plus the variety of Southern accents is fun.

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Loved this, too. Ms. Fey is a great writer (no surprise) and shares an interesting behind-the-scenes stories about the television industry. What I most enjoyed was her thoughtful critique of how society (er, us) treats working women. Is Donald Trump ever asked if he’s comfortable being the boss, Ms. Fey asks pointedly. Indeed.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar – Cheryl Strayed

This is one of the most beautifully written and thoughtful books I’ve ever enjoyed. I read it like a spiritual practice.  It’s a compilation of letters to an advice columnist (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild) and her responses.  The clarity with which the author sees the problems described by those seeking her advice is stunning. It shows plainly how difficult it can be to see the whole picture when you’re standing too close to your own problems, especially when the best course of action is painful.  The author’s counsel is wise beyond this lifetime, her wisdom earned through loss and hard work.  Her example inspires us to push through adversity and receive the gift it presents to learn from it.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us – Michael Moss

Named one of the best books of the year (2013), and for very good reason. This is a stunning tome on the processed food industry. Thorough and well researched. Shocking and compelling.  The level of manipulation of processed foods, on a molecular level even, is appalling, and I was already very cynical about processed “food”.  You can read my mini-rant here.  Even if you think you know it all, this is worth reading.  I promise you’ll learn new and startling facts.  And this book will seriously motivate you to stick to whole foods.

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