Seeker of Happiness

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The Books I Read Last Year

Carrie Chapman3 Comments

I had a goal this last year to read 30 books. I only made it to 18 which I'm going to go ahead a call a success seeing as I moved 3 times. 

I post all my current reads on Instagram under #carriesreads and, if you click on the link to the right that says "Book List"  there's a list of every book I've read since 2010. 

Here's a mini-review of each book I got through since my last birthday: 

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I was late to the John Greene bandwagon but I'm glad I'm on it now. I loved this book so much. I didn't feel overly emotional WHILE I read it. I didn't cry at the end and I wasn't shaken or anything later. But I did find myself thinking about this book all the time. Everyday. Phrases from it would pop in my head and I would ponder them for hours. I realized that the characters were people who became deeply apart of my heart as if I had been through that small infinity with them. I was happy to see that the movie was given heart and that they handled it all with care. 

2. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Meh. It was okay. I thought it was going to be a more emotional mystery but the book left me feeling like everything was obvious. 

3. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
As far as mysteries go, I really liked this one. I tended to feel like the author was trying too hard to make it "adult" and that kind of bugged me. But I found it to be funny and an overall good who-done-it story. 

4. The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle
Everyone who knows me just rolled their eyes. This book changed my life and the way I parent. I wouldn't be so gone-ho about it if I didn't see it work. It did read pretty pretentious ("child whispering parents know..") just like all self-help books do, but the core of it was pretty amazing. 

5. Serena by Ron Rash
This book captured me by page 6 and I couldn't pull away. It did lag a bit in the middle, but the creepy, evil mind of Serena kept me reading to see what would happen next. I think it was a bit of a Macbeth story and those are always good. 

6. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
Funny and practical. At one point she compares cheating boyfriends to a pen exploding in your purse. 

7. Dressing Your Truth, Discover Your Type of Beauty by Carol Tuttle
I read this shortly after reading The Child Whisperer because I wanted to confirm my own type and live my truth more fully. I won't get into it all here, but since reading this book I have only worn black twice and I never want to again. 

8. The Eternal Journey 
This was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and I really enjoyed it. Accounts of near-death experiences are always fascinating but I liked how the book took it one step further and showed how so many people have similar experiences and what that can tell us. 

9. The Gifts of Imperfection
There is a lot I have to say about this book. Brene Brown speaks to me in a way that makes me want to change but also makes me feel safe and okay just the way I am. This thin, little book was like intense therapy for me. I loved it and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone feeling stuck in life. 

10. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Probably my least favorite of the John Green books but still a fun, light hearted read. 

11. Looking for Alaska by John Green
If you've read two of an authors four books, you might as well read all of them. I liked this one and still think about the characters sometimes. I appreciate that the girls in John Green's books are always compelling and break the mold from a lot of teenage girl stereotypes. 

12. Hyperbole in a Half by Allie Brosh
Ooookay. I know EVERYONE is a fan of the blog Hyperbole in a Half, but the book had some new stories and I would literally have to put it down to laugh. Much like when I watch Community or 30 Rock and have to pause the show to crack up and relish in the genius of it. This whole book was like that. 

13. Divergent by Veronica Roth
This series came HIGHLY recommended to me by multiple people so I had high hope for it. And, as a summer book it was okay. I liked the idea and I was interested in the world. The writing was so boring and simplistic and the main character was ALWAYS "distracted" by how "hot" her leading man was. I found myself eye-rolling a lot but still somewhat interested. A good pool-side read.

14. Paper Towns by John Green
To restore my respect for young adult novels again I read the last John Green book I had remaining. This one was probably my second favorite of his. I found myself deeply concerned for the well-being of the characters and, in my spare thoughts, trying to solve the mysteries that were set up.

15. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
This book was truly captivating. It is true accounts of people living in a slum in India, but written in novel form. I highly recommend it. If you do decide to read it, please remember that the things that happen in it do not necessarily occur in every slum in India all the time. It's a select group of people and their experiences in a small window of eternity. 

16. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I finally decided to try and finish the Divergent series and I regret it. Blah. This second installment introduced about a billion new characters and not much new plot. By the middle of it, I realized I did not care about who lived or died. By the end, everything that has been set up in two novels is completely erased and I felt so unsatisfied. I have not read the third the in the series because why?

17. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
So, I have a lot to say about this book. It took me on the quite the emotional journey, and I can say that I felt it in my everyday life. There were times where I wanted to scream "YEAH WOMANHOOD!" and there were times when I would put it down, and sincerely pray and ask God why women must go through what they do. The middle kind of lagged for me and there were parts that were hard to get through, but overall it had a positive impact. 

18. A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon
So okay. This book is a kids book, which I don't normally count. But since Liz gave it to Georgia for her birthday, I have read it probably 100 times. Georgia loves it. I love it. Great message, amazing illustration and plenty of places to read out loud in funny voices.