My Favorite Books of the Year

Book Reviews / Reading

between the pages of a book

There is reading. And there is reading a good book. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

After a few years reading mainly articles, blogs and magazines, I turned my attention back to books this year. And oh, the difference! I had forgotten how powerful and satisfying books can be. Books are MIND fuel. Period.

Here’s a rundown of my favorite books this year:


Most likely to become assigned reading in English & Writing Classes

When Women Were Birds

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice

Terry Tempest Williams

In this memoir, Williams grapples with her mother’s legacy and finding her own voice. After reading this, I was questioning the authenticity of my own voice. This was the most thought-provoking book I read this year.

Most likely to be mistaken for fiction

In the Garden of Beasts

In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

Erik Larson

This eyewitness perspective of 1933-1937 Germany reads like a novel, all while detailing the paranoia, terror and violence the German population suffered at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi Party in the years before WWII.

Best excuse for reading until 3:00 AM



Tina Fey

“Funny” doesn’t do this justice. You will not successfully suppress laughter when reading this.

Tina Fey is beyond funny. Not to mention wickedly smart and insightful.

Most excessive use of profanity in witty commentary about the state of modern womanhood

How to be a Woman

How to be A Woman

Caitlin Moran

Don’t mistake Moran for the “British Tina Fey”.  She’s Tina Fey mixed with a big, heaping dose of Russell Brand. A feminist rock star with untapped potential as a stand-up comic.

I may have said “I am woman, hear me roar” after reading this.

Most likely to cause fabulous dinner parties in your home

Bread and Wine

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Shauna Niequist

It’s virtually impossible to read this book and not be possessed by the urge to cook and entertain.

Note: This is the perfect book club pick! If only I had a local book club….sigh….

Best wake-up call for perfectionists

The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown

According to Brown, perfectionism is intrinsically rooted in judgment and shame and often leads to depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis. Yikes!

The antidote is theoretically easy: letting our true selves be seen.

Brene rocks…even Oprah thinks so!

Best Inspiration for the New Year

The Desire Map

The Desire Map

Danielle LaPorte

Here’s an interesting way to approach life planning and goal setting. First discern what core feelings you’re really chasing and then plan your day, month, career, and life accordingly. Note: discerning your “core desired feelings” is trickier and more time-consuming than it sounds.


Most likely to make you wonder about those “perfect couples” in your social circle

The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife

A.S.A. Harrison

Harrison eerily writes “life has a way of taking its toll on the person you thought you were.”

This psychological thriller will leave you thinking about the dangers of compromise, acceptance and indifference…in your own relationship.

Best reunion with that “hot mess” of a friend I haven’t seen in years

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

Helen Fielding

Once upon a time, Bridget and I were singletons together. It was good catching up with her and her now middle-aged romantic misadventures.

For me, Fielding is the original queen of Chick Lit.

Most laughs at the expense of Seattle, Microsoft culture, helicopter parenting & the self-help genre

Where'd You Go, Berndadette

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Maria Semple

Semple makes satire “fun” and oh so easy to read.

Bonus: the story unfolds through emails, Emergency Room bills, FBI and Psychiatrist records, letters and other formats.

Like to read? You might like these posts as well:

If These Bookshelves Could Talk….

When it’s Okay to be A Quitter

Wondering what books made the “Favorites List” of other bloggers? Click here to check out Modern Mrs. Darcy’s My Favorite Books Link-up.

Follow on Bloglovin



  1. Pingback: Fiction is a Necessity | the Anonymous Blonde

  2. David Hammond says

    Do yourself a favor and pick up copies of Adrenaline and On The Edge Of Death by John Benedict. Turn off your phone, dim the lights and settle down for some of the best reading you will know. I was gifted both books by my wife and it turned out one of the best gifts she ever gave me, I wasn’t really a fan of thrillers before and had never read a medical thriller but I do watch a lot of medical drama on tv. I was quite struck by the level of authenticity and detail but then discovered that John Benedict has a highly impressive CV in the medical field. I can’t say I was surprised. It shines through. I don’t want to ruin the story because these books take a lot of unexpected twists and turns but I will just say go get them now. Thriller fiction at it’s best.


  3. Pingback: BOOK REVIEWS: Just Because Something Happens Doesn’t Make it Interesting | The Anonymous Blonde

  4. Pingback: The Best Enchiladas Ever…. | The Anonymous Blonde

  5. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper says

    You have some great titles here, so I need to add to my to-read list too! Like everyone has said, your categories are great! Love this list! Thanks for sharing, I’d love for you to link this up on my Book Notes this month.


  6. I’d been so busy reading and writing blogs, that the books were piling up on my side table. During my self imposed holiday blog break, I actually finished three books. Three books! Highly enjoyable. Loved the Tina Fey book and I’m looking forward to catching up with Bridget Jones.


  7. eclipsed823 says

    What a great idea for a blog post. I now kind of want to read all those books and I’m in love with your categories.

    Stopping by from sits


  8. justoneoftheboysblog says

    What a great list! I can’t wait to read Mad About the Boy, When Women Were Birds, and The Silent Wife. I also loved Bossypants and Bread & Wine! I’ll be adding more of your list to my GoodReads list! 🙂


  9. whisperingwriter says

    Awesome list. I love to read. I loved Tina Fey’s book as well. She cracks me up. Bridget Jones was also fabulous.


  10. I am one of those fans of Bridget Jones who doesn’t want her to ever get older or have anything happen after the first book ends. I don’t want her to have more adventures. I want her to have a happy ending.


    • My first thought upon reading that Fielding was “aging” Bridget and “killing off” Mark Darcy was “nooooo”. But then, I read the book and it felt very natural that Bridget should age and evolve along with us. Oddly, there was something comforting about Bridget aging.


  11. Your categories are awesome. Totally agree with Where You’d Go Bernadette?
    And Bread and Wine is showing up everywhere. I must read it. I’m with you on a local book club, I would love to be part of one which may mean I need to start one. =)


    • I’ve come to that conclusion on the book club, too, I’ve just been resisting the responsibility of starting one! I’m hoping someone from Charleston, SC will read this and invite me to their already established and lively book club! 🙂


  12. Oooh, great list! Looks like I have a few more to add to my TBR pile. I’ve never heard of Where Did You Go, Bernadette until yesterday. I’m so intrigued. Happy new year!


  13. Love the list! I will definitely have to read a few of them. Tina Fey’s book was great! If you like to laugh and you don’t mind inapropriate humor, you must read any of Chelsea Handler’s books. They were literaly laugh out loud funny!


    • Angela, I’ve never read any of Chelsea’s books or watched her show, but I have heard Caitlin Moran compared to her. I”m guessing you’d love “How to be a Woman”!


    • Diahann, if you haven’t already read When Women Were Birds, I think you would find it very interesting. After reading your last blog post and now thinking about Terry Tempest Williams, it occurred to me that, as women, we sometimes dangerously confuse our “voice” with our outer appearance and desirability.


      • Stacey, that was actually the book on your list I was drawn to the most. What you said above about how “we sometimes dangerously confuse ‘our voice’ with our outer appearance and desirability” struck me as a really powerful, important Aha.


  14. Where Did You Go Bernadette was excellent. I loved how it was written. In the Garden of Beasts looks amazing–can’t wait to add it to my list!


  15. Ha! I love you categories! I haven’t heard of The Silent Wife but it sounds like something I would love. Thanks for the recommendation.


Comments are closed.