2014 Reading Round Up, Part One

Oops! I forgot to do a reading round up this summer.


where I left off at the end of 2013. Since that post, I've read a whole new crop of books! See below for the complete list, as well as my woefully inarticulate reviews.

The Invention of Wings

by Sue Monk Kidd

I liked this book and I read it quickly. The short chapters are broken up by character, so you find yourself reading a lot in one sitting because it reads so quickly. I thought the ending was a little abrupt and could have gone further. The author's note at the end of the book is pretty fascinating. I assumed the entire book was fiction.

Beach Music

by Pat Conroy

This book was recommended to me after reading, and loving,

South of Broad


Beach Music

is a great book. It was a little long in some parts, but overall I really enjoyed it. The last 50-100 pages are beautifully written and heartbreaking. Very satisfying ending.

The Stepford Wives

by Ira Levin

This was a creepy, fun way to spend a few hours. Super short book. Read it in two sittings. I recommend it.

Breakfast of Champions

by Kurt Vonnegut

John and I made a deal that he would read

The Goldfinch

& I would read a Kurt Vonnegut book of his choosing. He chose

Breakfast Of Champions

. I don't know if this was the wrong book or what, but it didn't work for me. I couldn't follow it and had to make myself keep reading it. I get why John likes it so much, but it's not for me. Smell you next time, Vonnegut.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

by Deborah Harkness

I liked this book. It's a good book that doesn't require a lot of brain power. It is long though. So very long. This book reminded me how much I enjoy vampire love stories. I wish I could quit, but I can't. *I'm interested in the next book in the series, but I assume it's as long as this one and I may need a minute. Definitely recommend it though. Great beach/vacation read.

*I've since read the second book. Barely.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

by Jeni Britton Bauer

Jeni's second cookbook,


, exceeded my expectations. The book is divided into three categories: ice cream parlor, bakeshop and sundae bar. Bakeshop is my favorite chapter. She includes recipes for cakes, tarts and biscuits that truly do seem easy to make. And, of course, go great with a side of ice cream. I'm excited to make a lot of these recipes. Maybe I'll actually buy an ice cream maker and make the ice cream, too!

P.S. Loved all the Nashville shout-outs, e.g. Yazoo, Loveless, Peach Truck, etc.


by Ruth Reichl

I loved this book! It may be the most descriptive book I've ever read. You really see New York and you definitely taste and smell the food. Great read!


by Haruki Murakami

Oy. This book was not for me. I labored through it off and on for two years. I just recently made myself pick it back up and finish it because a friend talked about how much she enjoyed it. I'm glad I finished it, but I don't recommend it. Sad that this was my first foray into the world of Haruki Murakami. I'm going to have to shake this one off before attempting anything else of his.

How to Breathe Underwater

by Julie Orringer

A friend loaned me this when I told her I'm hating everything I read right now. She said a good collection of short stories will cleanse the palette. She was right. I loved this book! I loved every story in it. Very relatable for the modern lady. Highly recommend.

South of Broad

by Pan Conroy

A lot of people have recommended this book to me over the years and I finally got around to reading it. I loved it! The cover is terrible, which is part of the reason I would never pick it up. But don't be fooled by that font. There's a great story here. Highly recommend.

L.A. Son:  My Life, My City, My Food

by Roy Choi

I had to return this book to the library before I finished it, but I really liked it. It's more reading than a normal cookbook. I like his story and I like the recipes. I'll probably end up buying it.

One More Thing:  Stories and Other Stories

by B.J. Novak

I REALLY liked this book. When I finished it, I handed it to John and he loved it even more than I did. It's a collection of short stories, most of which deal with current trends, like online dating and Wikipedia. Some of the stories are just one page long, which I find hilarious. I think having a dark sense of humor is important when reading this book, as well as a general grasp on how most people use/misuse the internet. This book served me well in-between heavier reads. Highly recommend.

The Language of Flowers

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This book reads quickly, which I always appreciate, but this book isn't for me. I like the San Francisco setting and learning about what certain flowers mean, but the storyline is too sad. And I generally like sad books. This one just seemed sad for sad's sake. I needed it to have one thing that wasn't sad and it didn't. It was a little bit like an old-school Lifetime movie... Disclaimer: everyone else likes this book, so take my review with a grain of salt.

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

Hands-down, best book I've ever read. I gave it the maximum allotted five stars, but my heart gives it 100 stars. My poor, poor bleeding heart. It's going to take awhile to shake this one off. Unfortunately, I'm too emotional about it and completely incapable of writing a proper review. Things I can say: Donna Tartt is one of my favorite authors, this book is the best book I've ever read, and I CANNOT stop thinking about it! If you read and liked her earlier book,

The Secret History

, this is along the same lines. Read this book!

I later wrote an entire post about this book:


Hyperbole and a Half

by Allie Brosh

I read Allie's blog, so I'm familiar with her style, but after hearing her Fresh Air interview, I expected a little more out of this book. It really is just a book version of her blog, which is fine and will probably sell like gangbusters, but I was hoping for a more personal look into her depression and all the things she talked about on NPR. That being said, it is a hilarious book. The beginning about her childhood is really funny. And, of course, all the chapters on her dogs. If you like her blog, or if you have dogs, I highly recommend this book. I almost don't recommend it if your only exposure to her is her Fresh Air interview.

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