Confessions of a Closet Book Nerd.

This past year, I did a lot of reading. Especially over the winter when it was football season. Since I’m not as big of a football nut at Stuart, but enjoy spending time with him, I came up with the perfect compromise: to read while he watches football (or golf, or basketball, or volleyball, or baseball…you get the idea.) And as it was my first winter married to Stuart, I had ample time and opportunity to read through lots of books! Here are a few of my favorites from the year:

2013 Books

Practical Paleo & It Starts with Food: I’ve heard of the Paleo diet a few years ago, but it wasn’t until I read these two books that I really began to understand it. It Starts with Food introduces “Whole 30,” a process of taking specific foods out of your diet that impede digestion and affect our bodies in unexpectedly harmful ways. Practical Paleo provides some awesome recipes for Paleo/Whole 30 newbies, as well as some further information on eating Paleo.

Other great books related to Paleo: Beyond Bacon, Well Fed, The Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo, Against All Grain

Inside of a Dog: We got Stella last December, and Stuart bought me this book before we got her so I could get a head start on learning about pups. I didn’t read the whole book (all the sudden a puppy was taking up ALLL my time…) but it was so neat to learn why dogs are the way they are, and some of the ways they are misunderstood by humans.

A Walk Across the Sun: This was an AWESOME book. I blogged about it here, but basically it’s a fictional story about 2 sisters whose parents are killed in a hurricane, and on their journey to get to the safety of a convent, they are kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. Now before you think it’s super depressing, “why would you ever want to read such a sad book?” it has a great story and has a happy ending I promise! Much happier than most girls sold into slavery for real. It’s a quick read, and a good glimpse inside one of the offensive markets in the world.

A Million Little WaysI still have yet to finish this book (working on it…) but it is definitely one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read. It’s all about how each of us were created unique and how we should strive to figure out our unique gifting and passions. Sometimes these passions and giftings are scary to pursue since they may require some sort of risk, but figuring out our art and pursuing it are ways we can glorify our Creator by showing the world yet another dimension to His greatness.

Wheat BellyI know a lot of people claim that gluten is only bad for you if you’re allergic, but this book changed my mind on that claim. Not everyone will take on a gluten free diet, but over the past month, I’ve definitely felt better after going gluten free. This book talks all about the science of gluten, and how the wheat in our bread, crackers etc. today is not the same as the wheat seen in pictures of American settlers grinding wheat with stones.

Of course, I can’t remember all the books I’ve read over the past year, but some other note worthy books are The Hunger Games trilogy, The Great Gatsby, and even though I read them a few years ago, I always recommend The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns (and his newest book is on my wish list below.)

2014 Book List

I have high hopes that 2014 will be just as good of a book-reading year as 2013, if not better! Now that Stuart and I are living with his parents, one sporting event or another is almost always on the TV. (Except when Jess, Mary and I have control and then HGTV is on!) The following is my to-read list for 2014:

  • Love Does
  • Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers (I’ve had these on my shelf for a few years but haven’t gotten to them yet!)
  • Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis
  • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I’m sure I won’t get to them all, but there’s some good ones to choose from. Any other suggestions that aren’t on my list? Please leave a comment and share some of your favorites!

  • Emily

    I love this post, Jenn! I am definitely going to read some of the books you’ve read and appreciate the recommendations.
    Have you read Gone Girl? I am reading it right now and am thinking when I am done, it might be a good book to talk about…its intriguing…
    As for your list to read this year, YES! You have to read the Mark of the Lion series…you will fall in love with them! Also, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is really good. It really has changed my mindset about life…and my reaction to circumstances.
    Happy Reading in 2014! Love you!

    • Jenn

      Ahh! I did read Gone Girl, and included it in the pictures because I wanted to write about it! Totally forgot. Oops :) I definitely enjoyed it, although it’s way different than a lot of the Nicholas Sparks-esque books I normally gravitate towards. I’d love to talk about it when you finish it! I’m especially interested in what you think of the ending :)
      And I’ve definitely been meaning to read the Mark of the Lion series! I’ve heard from so many people they’re fabulous, I just keep forgetting to get to them. I love Francine Rivers other books, so I’m sure I won’t be able to put those down! Thanks for your rec’s! xoxo

  • Liz Davis

    Mindy Kaling’s book was so funny! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you get to it. :)

    And even though its not paleo, you have to check out “What Katie Ate” – the world’s most beautifully photographed cookbook.

    Hope you had a great Christmas! Love you!

    • Jenn

      Thanks Liz!! I’ll let you know when I read Mindy’s book, and I’ll keep my eyes out for What Katie Ate! Miss you friend!!