Best Books 2014

Love Books

My Goodreads page tells me that I have exceeded my reading goal for 2014! Yay! It is kind of fun to glance back across the year to see where you have traveled in the pages of a book, or  perhaps it’s a new idea or knowledge you have learned as result of reading, or some simple pleasure has been experienced. Whatever it is, books are a way of transporting us out of our circumstances into another place and time.

As 2014 closes itself out I thought it would be fun to create a favorites review list at the end of the year so that maybe a reader of this blog might be intrigued to pick up something I have read.

I enjoyed a few books in the young adult genre this year. My #1 pick is an old favorite to many.

Anne of Green Gables  Anne of Green Gables absolutely delighted me this year. I chose an audio version and was completely enchanted with all of Anne’s antics. I remember reading it is a little girl but don’t think I was as smitten with it then. I encourage you to reengage with your youth by reading or listening to this book.




Unexpected enjoyment came from a free Kindle read. 600 Hours of Edward600 hours of Edward  was a wonderful fictional story about a guy with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s not a medical book at all so don’t be put off. It is a story about how he deals with the world. And his father. This book made me laugh and cry. It gave me something to think about. It showed me something about redemption.



Storied Life of A.J. Fifry    A story about a book seller this novel caught my eye. It was in my Audible wish list for months prior to actually making the purchase. Once I started to listen I was initially concerned I would not like the story however that soon passed. I adored my time with A.J. and the rest of the characters from Island books.



Life Lessons     This book is not going to be for everyone. It is authored by 2 physician’s who work with the dying, one being expert Elizabeth Kubler Ross. The chapters each cover a topic learned from those who are facing death. It is not a morbid book whatsoever quite the contrary, it is meant to show the living a perspective of what is important as seen through the eyes of the dying. I probably learned more from this book than any other this year.



Extreme Medicine     Fabulous. Interesting. Captivating. The life experiences of Dr. Fong fascinated me. It is a medical book but not so complex that the non-medical reader could    not enjoy the book for what it is, a fascinating illustration of the title’s proclamation, “extreme medicine”.



Five Days at Memorial    This is a book about 5 days at a hospital in New Orleans at the time of hurricane Katrina. The research behind this book is top notch. The story is one of the most thought provoking I have ever heard. As a nurse I was completely intrigued by the circumstances and decisions these professionals faced during a serious crisis. For the first time I truly appreciated just how deserted the people of New Orleans must have felt at a time of such catastrophic devastation. We completely failed as a nation. Our healthcare setting was completely unprepared to handle a crisis of this magnitude. I don’t know if we are better prepared today than we were then. I know this book impacted me personally and professionally like no other in a very long time(perhaps ever). Definitely worth reading or as I did, listening to.


Elephant Whisperer    Sometimes a book just reminds you why you love to read, travel into the lives of others becoming immersed in their world. This book was that reminder for me. Who would ever expect a story about a conservationist and a pack of elephants could enchant the way this did? I was moved by what the writer learned from his ventures with the elephants. I was drawn to the bush of South Africa with each chapter. I learned about a world I had no understanding or appreciation for prior to these pages. Another Audible listen, the narrator with his accent was wonderful, adding to the story drawing me in.



The Golem and the Jinni     Probably my favorite book this year. It is listed as fiction, fantasy, historical and is the debut novel for author Helene Wecker. This book was pure enjoyment for me. The narration was great. The storyline draws the listener into the setting of the early 20th century. The characters are extraordinarily well-developed. It’s a long story but I didn’t want to see it end. I hope the author has other inspiration to delight readers for years to come.

 Where are you Reading

My list is varied. Something for everyone I think. In 2015 I plan to join a few reading challenges on blogs I have recently discovered such as

What about you, did you read any of these novels? What books did you enjoy in 2014? Share a comment or write a blog post and link back. The love of books transports us to new places and experiences. Sharing them with others just expands that enjoyment.


A Book that Changes You

Every once and awhile I read a book that changes me, I mean changes me at the core of my very being. I am not sure how The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom escaped my reading list all these years but I guess I can accept the simple fact that the time for reading this marvelous book was now.

The Hiding PlaceThe inspirational book shares with its reader’s how God is Always in control, even in circumstances that in our limited human perspective we cannot see or understand what He is doing.

The Ten Boom’s are a Christian family living in Holland when Germany invades the country. Biblical living has been the way of life for the Ten Boom family. Daily the family and employees from the watch repair shop they own, gather around the dining table to read from the bible. Prayer and serving are a way of life before the war, so it is only natural that God would use these talents at a time of great need.

When Corrie and her sister Betsie are put into Ravenbruck for aiding and abetting the Jewish people of Holland their faith story continues to change lives. As I read this book I found myself marveling over God’s protection of His plan and purpose. I reminded on page after page of how He takes care of His people, providing for ALL our needs. The problem of course is US. We think that we simply cannot live without the newest piece of technology, car, clothing, home gadget, etc. But the bible tells us, He knows our needs. (Mat 6:8). Help me Lord to do better here!

The story shows us how the Love and Peace of God can shift atmospheres as evidenced by the changes in the behavior of the women in the sleeping quarters. When the sisters first arrive the room is full of hatred, fighting and meanness. However as the love of God penetrates the women through prayer and daily bible reading palpable changes in how they treat own another are observed. Help my Lord to shift atmosphere’s around me!

When Corrie cannot find the strength within herself to forgive one of her captures who asks for forgiveness, she finds God faithful one more time as His love overpowers her and helps her to forgive the unthinkable. Help me Lord to constantly walk remembering what your forgiveness has done for me and help me to share it with others!

The Hiding Place will go on my top 10 best books of all time. It has changed me forever.

What book have you read that has changed you?

“when we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus”
Corrie ten Boom

Book Review- Icebound by Jerry Nielsen

I finished this audio book on this mornings commute. The book was read by the author, Dr. Jerry Nielsen, and I suspect she is a far better doctor than narrator. The story would have been even better had I read the book.

I was completely enthralled with the story of the emergency department physician leaving her comfortable life in the US to serve for one year in Antartica. Jerri gives plenty of facts about how living happens “on the ice” which I found fascinating. Most impressive however was her experience of “being truly alive”. She describes her life there as being taken to the edge of herself and experiencing life for the first time.

The unfortunate development of breast cancer and the challenges of treating it in this remote location should be an encouragement to all. Some of the medical descriptive is quite technical which for me is not a problem having worked in both an emergency department and as an oncology nurse caring for breast cancer patients but others may find it too advanced.

Overall I think this story is one of adventure, community and hope. A absolute must read.

Favorite Pastime

  What is a pastime?

Something that amuses or makes time pass agreeably, according to Merriam-Webster. Baseball and books. I choose books.

 I love to read. I remember going with my dad to huge book fairs where the rooms would be filled with books for browsing when I was young. We would also make weekly trips to the library.

During the summer we would join the reading challenge culminating in a party at the end for all that met the requirement. *sigh, I always attended.


Recently I came across this quote…

Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.
~ Charles Scribner, Jr.

ink and quill

Doesn’t it say it all? Reading allows us into another person’s mind. It forces us to confront bias we may not have even known existed for us. Stretching us to grow in new ways by expanding our worlds.

Do you know who said, “so many books, so little time”? You probably won’t believe it if you don’t know. Leave your guess in the comment space, I will provide the answer in a couple of days.

Love Books

Last year after several years of deliberating I asked my beautiful children to purchase me a Kindle for Mother’s Day. I is honestly the first time I can ever remember asking for a gift. I was nervous about the Kindle. Being such a book lover would I still get the same feeling~lets admit it this is emotional~ reading an electronic book? kindle

I took it with me when I traveled to Haiti in June. First let me say there was not the usual additional suitcase of books to carry(my husband was happy already). Next it was so easy to fan myself in the sweltering heat and hold the Kindle! Loving it… My little book light clipped right on to the top of the case…even better. Finished reading the first book in the airport on the way back to the states and could download the next one I wanted to read on the spot! Oh,yeah…convinced!

I still do read paper books. Not everything is available in electronic format(yet). I also subscribe to and read several magazines. Among my favorites are Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, and a wide assortment of cooking magazines. I am also once again listening to audiobooks on my two hour commute. I really enjoy this because I get books I would not necessarily read.

 Last year alone my reading adventures took me to India in Sisters of the Sari, Turkey in Gardens of Water, World War II stricken Germany in Those Who Saved Us. I spent time in early twentieth century Russia when I read Winter Garden. I also traveled the US in Hearts of Horses and Summer Secrets. I am sure there are others but I cannot recall them all. Which is why this year I will be using Goodreads.


is a site that I stumbled across sometime last year. It is a book site that can track you reading, reviews, Join book groups or start your own and has soon to be published books available for free(if you are selected). I was just awarded my first-I’ll let you know how I like it.

You can see what I am reading, read my recommendations and reviews and/or join yourself.

I have joined the reading challenge.logoAnd look forward to blogging my progress and furthering my travels.

Thanks for reading…