This year I didn't read as much as I wanted to. That said, a few things I did read stuck with me enough for me to recommend them to you.
Disclaimer: This is definitely not an exhaustive list of books I read this year. There are some books I read that I don't remember, some I hated intensely, MANY that I started and never finished, and others I just won't talk about here. But if you want to know more, I will talk about books and reading until the cows come home. So just ask me.
1. The Circle Maker: Praying circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears (Mark Batterson)
Ever circled something on a to-do list or a note to remind yourself, "Hey, this is important?" That's the idea behind this book. I liked it because it has a great message about persistence. It reminds me of a cool Bible story about a widow who wouldn't give up. (Luke 18:1-8 if you're curious).
2. The Obamas (Jodi Kantor)
Barack Obama may be the POTUS, but he was a husband and a father first. What is daily life like for the Obamas as one of the most-watched couples in the world? New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor provides an inside look. This book is a great opportunity to think about the president differently, perhaps, than you would just by paying attention to the news.
3. Waiting: the true confessions of a waitress (Debra Ginsberg)
Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the secret world of waiters and waitresses. This is a memoir by woman who was a waitress in different restaurants throughout her life. She shares the ins and outs of crazy things that customers say and do, and how the waitstaff deals with it. A funny and interesting read.
4. Newtown: An American tragedy (Matthew Lysiak)
I almost didn't read this book. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary broke my heart and I didn't want to go there emotionally again. But I'm so glad I decided to read this book anyway. It packs a powerful message about mental health treatment. It takes a deep look into Adam Lanza (the shooter)'s childhood. And, best -- it shows how a small town pulled together after a terrible tragedy.
The book is full of those beautiful, personal details that can only be gotten after an interviewee completely trusts a reporter...and it's mind-boggling to think of the hours of interviews that Matthew Lysiak conducted to piece together a compelling story about what happened that day.
5. Lean In: Women, work, and the will to lead (Sheryl Sandberg)
A book about leadership written by former Google VP and current Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg? Sign me up.
Many books with this premise are dull and I can't relate them to my life. But Lean In is laid-back, doesn't have useless jargon, and does have a lot of good advice. Sandberg has been there, done that and offers easy-to-understand dos and don't s about succeeding at work, peppered with personal stories that are often funny. And I appreciated hearing Sandberg's stories about what it's like to work with Mark Zuckerburg.
Got some advice about what I should be reading in 2014? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or find me on Twitter and Facebook.