Book list: 2014, part 1

I’ve been on a streak of books this year where I either love them or hate them. Lots of 1 star reviews and 5 star reviews on Goodreads. I figured I’d tell you about a few I really liked and forget the rest.


Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter)

I was charmed to find out the way we use Twitter (that’s we as in specifically you, reading this, and me) is exactly what this guy feels passionate about. People helping other people go through life. Like this article everyone was passing around: I think Biz Stone would say saving people like this mother is exactly what he dreamed Twitter, as a platform, could allow people to do (without necessarily thinking of that actual scenario). He wanted it to enable people to do good for other people. I wrote this review before sweet Hugo was diagnosed with cancer, so I feel this even more strongly now. Go Hugo! is something he would be totally into. (OMG YOU GUYS, SOMEONE GET BIZ STONE IN ON GO HUGO.)

I was also charmed by Biz himself. This was a light, fun read with a ton of actual applicable advice for anyone. It’s not necessarily a book I’m evangelicalistic about, telling everyone they MUST read it, but I think you’ll enjoy it if you do.

Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne

Have you ever felt inferior due to the fact you don’t feel called to become a missionary in a foreign land? Or sell everything you own and give it to the poor? Is the impression you’ve always gotten from organized religion that you don’t do enough – not necessarily in so many words, but just because there’s always more you could be doing? Pardon the language, but holy crap is this book for you.

This was one of those books that was a total perspective changer for me and I absolutely recommend it.

Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found it by Jennifer Fulwiler

Best memoir I’ve read in a long, long time. I may be biased, because I really like Jennifer, and her blog, but this was incredibly well-written. No extraneous words or tangents. The narrative flowed perfectly and I couldn’t stop reading. Her story is compelling in itself, but I’m so glad she was also able to tell it so well.


My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs

I liked this author a lot. I heard him on NPR and ended up reading this whole book (ebook, that is) by the next day. It was very readable and had a good sense of humor. I love the idea of these experiments and enjoyed living them vicariously because I’d never be committed enough to do them myself.

He also has a knack for metaphors and explaining things in a way that puts you in his shoes. In reference the year he attended the Oscars he said “the density of celebrities is stunning and disorienting.” Makes sense, right? But when he goes further and says “It’s like going to a wedding where you’re the only guest and everyone else is a bride or groom” I felt like I was really there.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

I just realized everything so far has been nonfiction, so how about some nice light chick lit? I got this book off Janssen’s summer reading guide and it was just DELIGHTFUL. A notch up from the standard chick lit I usually come across. (Which I enjoy, don’t get me wrong, I just enjoyed this more.)

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This was such a charming little book and I loved its sense of humor. I’m not sure everyone will be as enchanted by it as I was, but it’s definitely worth checking out when you’re in the mood for something light and sweet.


  1. I love book recommendations!

    I’ve never heard of Accidental Pharisees, but I am very intrigued. I put it on my “to read” list!

  2. I liked Biz Stone’s book, but I felt it was naive to assume you can always make your opportunities. I would have liked to know some times when his approach didn’t actually work, because he made it sound like he had a midas touch – it didn’t matter that he wasn’t qualified in the least for anything, he was going to do it and by golly he did. I wouldn’t want my children to think that things always work out that way and there’s no need for a foundation.