2014 Book List

The past few years I’ve posted a list in September highlighting some of the books we’ve read. I’m a few months late, but here are a few of the stand-outs from 2014:

Little Bee
A 16 year old Nigerian girl tries to escape her country and find a British couple she met on the beach. This is a page turner.

The Goldfinch
The story of a boy who survives a museum bombing and innocently saves a painting but then doesn’t return it. Brian and I both loved this book.

A Short Guide to a Long Life
This book contains many tips that are pretty obvious (smile, walk, drink water, bathe) but I’m including it on the list because my friend Robin works for the doctor/author and it’s worth the read.

Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed
Without Their Permission is by the co-founder of Reddit. Brian and I found the book inspiring and got us really fired up to work.

Walden on Wheels
We both read this book as well. It’s about a guy who goes to Alaska, and then goes to Duke University and lives in a van rather than paying for housing. We hoped the book would have more time in the van, but still found it an easy and enjoyable read.

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
We don’t really use Twitter, but both found this book to be fascinating. It’s amazing that the company ever got off the ground. The book reads like a novel and if you’re interested internet startups I’d definitely recommend it.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home
A touching story of a teenage girl who was very close to her uncle who dies of AIDS. My summary is weak, the book is not.

Looking for Alaska
I love young adult books because for some reason I find them really easy to fall asleep to. Looking for Alaska was an entertaining story about kids in boarding school.

The Giver (entire series)
Brian and I both read these quick easy books. I liked them more than Brian did, but I think I was more willing to do the suspension of disbelief thing.

Sycamore Row: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 2)
If you liked A Time to Kill, you’ll like this book. It was a great follow-up and I really enjoyed it.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
I don’t know what took me so long to pick up this book, but I finally did after Pam & John went on about how good it was. If you haven’t read it, read it.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
I just started reading this and am really enjoying it. Highlights for me so far have been the 1876 Worlds Fair and the history of the New York Herald (it might sound boring, but it’s not).

Please comment with your recommendations! Thanks in advance.


2014 Cost of Camping:
167 night paid camping
180 nights free camping
347 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $4276.79
Daily average cost of camping: $12.43

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  • Reply Christine Norman December 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for the suggestions. I loved and discovered Greg Iles this year. Started with Natchez Burning and worked my way through his books. Highly recommend him.

    • Reply Leigh December 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Christine! I just looked that up – it looks good!

  • Reply Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets December 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I have read 80% of Sycamore Row. Can’t seem to finish it. Too many others I’m in the middle of…plus all the blogs I follow. Yikes!

  • Reply Ed December 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The Underground Girls of Kabul and Roofs of Tehran. Really liked them both. The first is non-fiction and the second is a novel.

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Those sound really interesting, thanks Ed!

  • Reply Betsy December 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Just finished a Chelsea Cain binge..all of her Archie Sheridan series. Takes place in Portland, OR.

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Thanks Betsy, I love a book binge!

  • Reply Pnwdutchgrl December 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

    that Laura was able to write Unbroken after Seabicuit amazes me and I have major respect for her, besides being happy she has that success in her life.
    Laura and I share the same disease. Where I was born and grew up it was called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. The CDC in the USA decided to give it a silly name, not wanting another AIDS like disaster and named it Chronic Fatigue. We have been fighting for years for a name change and at the moment we are in talks with the NIH/HHS and it’s now ME/CFS and we will push on.
    ME/CFS is disabling especially if you are a severe patient like I am and like Laura is. You can not leave your house(that’s why we have a house on wheels so I still can go places) isolation and loneliness is horrible and the leading cause if dead is suicide. Have lost many online friends in a year. There is no cure and the government guided by insurances are not jumping up and down to provide money for research,
    Here is an essay Laura wrote for the New Yorker. A Sudden Ilness – How My Life Changed. http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/A_Sudden_Illness.pdf

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Wow Pnwdutchgrl. Thank you for linking to Laura Hillenbrand’s story. I had no idea that she suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. She’s such a wonderful writer, her description of it is heartbreaking.

      How is your house on wheels anyway? Did you finally get it back?

      • Reply pnwdutchgrl December 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        Thanks for asking!
        We got her back last week. I can not believe it took them 3 months to just have the inside cleaned from smoke damage. We took her home to storage because they did a half-ass job, they only did the inside and did not repair the fireplace, because ‘it was too much work’. They should have cleaned the outside as well that had ash particles stuck to it, but they didn’t. We took her to storage because they are a nightmare to work with and we now need to find another company that our insurance agrees with or just leave like it is and do it ourselves.
        The name of this company is Quality Industrial Refinishers Inc, in Portland for all of you who might need them one day.

        We’re stuck at home at the moment. We had hope to be somewhere outside the iced roads and snow zone at this time. Driving on roads with possible black ice with a 40 ft trailer is no fun and dangerous. We will wait till the weather clears up and then get on the road again. We had so much bad luck with this trailer it’s unbelievable. The first 3 years she has been more at the dealer that we were able to take her out. Major leakages everywhere and when she was finally all done we get caught in a forest fire in September. We’re keeping fingers crossed that next year will be better!
        Hope to come across you on the road somewhere. 😉 Until then I’m happy to be able to follow your adventures.

  • Reply Page December 15, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Thank you for the book recommendations. I just added a few of them to my Kindle.

  • Reply Becky December 15, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for sharing your book list. Always nice to see what other’s are reading. If you liked The Goldfinch, I would recommend Donna Tartt’s first book The Secret History. Another one along the same style is Carlos Ruis Zafon’s The Shadow in the Wind.

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Hi Becky – I LOVED the Secret History when it came out! I’ll check out The Shadow in the Wind for sure. Thanks!

  • Reply Gayle December 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Currently reading Dr, Mutter’s Marvels on Jim’s recommendation. It is a fascinating look at medicine and surgery in the 1800s.


    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      That sounds right up my alley! Thanks Gayle!

  • Reply Rich Luhr December 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    A few books I enjoyed reading this year:

    The Martian: A Novel, by Andy Weir. “Hard” sci-fi about an astronaut stranded alone on Mars.

    The Devil In The White City, by Erik Larson. Two true stories that overlapped, of the architect behind the 1983 Chicago World Columbian Expo, and a mass murderer.

    Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Adventure by Alfred Lansing. A gripping story of the failed Antarctic expedition and their struggle to survive.

    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. An inside view of the subprime mortgage bonds and derivative trades that led to the economic meltdown of 2007. Occasionally complex but always fascinating.

    At The Captain’s Table by Hugh Thomson. A short, light, and entertaining first-person account of life aboard a round-the-world cruise on a super-premium ship.

    The Steps Of The Sun by Walter Tevis. Classic sci-fi by the author of The Man Who Fell to Earth.

    Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Yep, it’s really about the role of salt in the development of recorded history. Sounds dull, but it wasn’t.

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks Rich! It sounds like I should follow up my current book with Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Adventure by Alfred Lansing.

  • Reply Maggie December 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    “All the Light We Cannot See” – Anthony Doerr

    For detective story fans, the two Robert Galbraith/ JK Rowling books have great characters- “The Silkworm” and “The Cuckoo’s calling”

    Also liked “Still Life with Breadcrumbs” by Anna Quindlen
    “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline

    Thanks for posting your list. I love my audible.com credits!

    • Reply Leigh December 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks Mom! xoxo

  • Reply Nancy December 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova, about a young Harvard professor who develops early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a fascinating and scary read.

    Great list. I’m partway through “Unbroken”, amazing read.

    • Reply Leigh December 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Hi Nancy! I read “Still Alice” last year and found the perspective to be *really* interesting.

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