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Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I Learned From Reading 50 Books in One Year

What I Learned From Reading 50 Books in One Year

My 50 Reading Challenge Books for 2014! 

                                                                    I've read a lot of books in my life...

I was one of those kids who would walk the halls while reading a book and simultaneously maneuver through the crazy student fraught hallways. I would read under my desk during class, during lunch, during church, and my parents would even LOCK MY BOOKS IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR as a punishment if I was naughty, which of course was completely unjust. Some of my friends' parents would PAY them for every book they read (I would have millions, MILLIONS!$$!!).

In 4th grade, I would read at my desk and when the bell rang for P.E. I would vehemently insist that OF COURSE I'd had no idea that everyone had already left the classroom except for me! This actually led to many concerned phone calls home, "Hi Mrs. Tamir, this is Alyne's teacher calling. Alyne seems to be unusually unaware of her surroundings, enough so that we think there might be cause for concern?"
Soooo... I've grown up (a little) and have used Goodreads on and off for a few years, but never consistently. Goodreads is an awesome website/app where you can track what books you have read, the books you want to read, and follow what books your friends are reading.

Last New Years Day they issued a challenge - Choose how many books you want to read this year, and Goodreads will track it for you! I decided on 50 books.  It's a nice round number, and about one book a week (I gave myself two bonus weeks for when life gets in the way)! Today, I finished my 50th book!!! Yaaayyyy fiesta party party!! This was my first real New Year's resolution that I made AND kept. Movin' on and up in life guys ;)

So today I am going to share with you just a few of my favorites. Also included are a few books to stay faaar far away from, and also a few that I maybe shouldn't admit I have read? I hope you enjoy and get some ideas for what YOU want to read in 2015!


"The Story of the Trapp Family Sisters" - Maria Augusta Trapp

Do you love The Sound of Music? Do you love gorgeous mountains in Europe? Do you love FAMILY AND ALL THAT IS GOOD? Then you will love this book that is all.


"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" - Laura Hillenbrand

Another book they're making into a movie! AMAZING story about a guy with a CRAZY AMAZING LIFE. He's a survivor guys. Much interesting, such fascinate, much inspire.


"The Twelve little Cakes" - Dery Dominika

I LOVED THIS BOOK! And I'd never heard of it! Such a cute/real life story of life in Czechoslovakia under Communist Russia (doesn't sound "cute" as i'm writing that last sentence but it really really is). Dominikas family is such an amazing example of being positive, constructive, and resilient in the face of extreme hardships and adversity. Sooo great LOVE.


"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" - Mindy Kaling

Ok so obviously I am in love with Mindy Kaling, and her book is as hilarious, informative, and wonderful as she is.


We are BFF's don't even worry about it

"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" 
How my Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or less -Ryan Terry

So this lady has 10 kids, an alcoholic husband (he's not all bad though), and pretty much lives in the middle of nowhere. And YET she makes ends meet by winning promotional contests for limericks and jingles hosted by big companies! Hers are consistently chosen out of THOUSANDS of entries, and she uses her hard work and talent to raise a great family and fight for them to have the best she can provide.

"Yes, Chef" - Marcus Samuelsson

RAISE your hand if you are in love with the Food Network (yes all hands should be raised). Marcus Samuelsson, a judge on Chopped, has written or co-written or whatever a really inspiring book. He was adopted from Ethiopia by Swedes. He is very relatable and is also brave enough to share some of his most personal and private life experiences that helped him reach where he is. Reading his story has enriched my life personally :)


"Escape from Camp 14"
One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West - Blain Harden

Luckily the title of this book also serves as a perfect plot summary! I like to read books that teach me about real people in our real world, and this is an awesome amazing story. Compelling, interesting, and TRUE.




"The Goldfinch" - Donna Tartt

Great interesting book! It's a bestseller for a reason. Avoided reading it for a while because I thought the cover was boring (oops), but am so glad I tried it out anyhow! Such a great story that teaches about art, history, and people. Very well written. Even though it was over 700 pages, it was easy and compelling to read!


"The Time Traveler's Wife" -
Audrey Niffenegger

(Lessbehonest...I almost feel a little racist just writing her last name)
Everyone in the world likes this book and ME DO TOO! It's cute, and interesting, and good. I rike it.


"The Shoemakers Wife" - Adriana Trigliani

T_T <---face crying tears. This book made my face cry tears (as illustrated). It's about love, beauty, family, Italy, and America. The simple life. Beautiful.


BEST OF "Let's Pretend I Never Read That"

"I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends"
Confessions of a Reality Show Villain - Courtney Robertson

So maybe I read this, and maybe it was great. NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE. But theoretically this is the "tell all" of the super hated Courtney Robertson from Season 16 of the Bachelor. And maybe it's good. And maybe I LOVE IT.


"Kris Jenner...And All Things Kardashian" - Kris Jenner

What? Alyne?? TWO reality TV show books on your best-of list???  WHAT IS THIS?! I'm sorry but maybe I also love the Kardashians a little and thank goodness Kris Jenner loves to overshare because then I. GET. TO. READ IT! Bonus: Inside info on the OJ Simpson case! (I know I sound like the cover of OK! Magazine)


                                                 BEST BOOKS ON HOW TO BE FRENCH 

(because maybe I read enough of these to have a "best of" list. So sue me French people are cooler than everyone just admit it).

"French Women Don't Get Facelifts"
The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude - Mireille Guiliano

This lady has a cult following of lovers and haters. I am one of the LOVERSSSS. Listen, she can sound snooty and elitist sometimes but I DON'T CAAARE I still love her <3  All I want to know is what face cream she uses and what she eats and everything about her and all French people and she TELLS ME so I am grateful. Maybe I too can someday aspire to be as successfully elitist and rich-like as she is ;)


"Lessons From Madame Chic" 
The Trop 20 THings I Learned While Living in Paris - Jennifer L. Scott

Why I am to like this book?  It had some great points about life: Enjoy what you're doing! Enjoy cleaning! Don't watch too much TV!. Dress presentably! Don't spend a lot of time and money on your hair every day! Go with your natural style, wavy, curly, or straight! Eat well! Take time to host dinner parties! [And invite me! ;) ] Don't save all your good things, use them now! Why wait? Every day c'est une occasion.



"The Glass Castle" - Jeanette Walls

Addicting. Similar to "The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio" (above), a girl with a CRAZY vegabondish childhood overcoming her life obstacles.


"Unbearable Lightness" 
A Story of Loss and Gain - Portia de Rossi

Sucks you in! Portia de Rossi is Ellen Degeneres' wife. Great book that gives great information on how it is to deal with anorexia and eating disorders. Very enlightening and well written.


"Global Mom" - Melissa Bradford

A little long winded, but great useful information if you're ever planning on living abroad! She lives in Paris, Munich, Singapore (and more), but of course I was most interested in Paris! The book also has info on living abroad with kids. It explores the loss of one of her children as well.



"Out of the Easy" - Ruta Sepetys

I read this book's title and was like, "That makes me think of people being easy for some reason". RIGHT I WAS. This books is literally about bathshebas. prostitutes. WHORESOMES. (Also so maybe now "whore synonyms" is in my search history?) This was just super boring and lame (Sorry, Ruta <3). THOU SHALT NOT READ IT.


"Wild" - Cheryl Strayed

So as you've probably heard they're making this bestseller into a movie with REESE WITHERSPOON (aka Wreath Witherspoon thanks to the brilliant Mindy Kaling). I love Reese just as much as anyone but I HATE DIS BOOK. BAH humbug. It's written badly! The voice of the woman narrating is annoying (sorry I'm sure you're a nice lady?)! And the final cardinal sin, it that is BOORINGGGZZZ #sorrynotsorrybutalittlesorryalso


         THANKS FOR READING and I hope you got a few ideas! You can see my (and other peoples!) reviews and ratings of all 50 books HERE on Goodreads!  I'm deciding if I want to redo this challenge again in 2015, so PLEEEASE leave amazing great inspiring book suggestions below! OR ELSE. Just kidding. But really. A lot of the books I read this year were actually suggestions from you guys when I asked on facebook :) Thanks again for all your great ideas, and thanks again for reading!



  1. Hi! You don't know me, but Cameron posted this on his Pinterest which is how I found it. You are too funny! I think you should read The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. It's really short but so wonderful, sad, and funny!

  2. LOVE it! We would have been absolute best friends when we were younger because what you described earlier was exactly me haha. I will definitely put some of these on my list to read in the future! Maybe I will do the 50 books on Goodreads because I want to read more and I don't have classes MWF next semester! We can motivate each other if we do it :D

  3. What a list! I want to try The Goldfinch too.
    I found this because this Cameron person :) posted a fb comment on Mark Zuck's book club wall.
    ( You may like: )

  4. That was funny! I didn't lock your books in the trunk to punish you! well, maybe a little - I was at the car and you were back in the restaurant reading and then I went back to get you and you were reading as you walked through the parking lot and it was dangerous and so I locked your book in the trunk that one time you poor persecuted child! Love you!