Since my 2013 book list was so popular, I thought I’d give you all a peek into what I’m planning to read this year. Last year I was a serial reader, going from one subject to the next. This year, I am more discerning with the books I read for personal growth, putting forethought into what I choose to read by focusing on what I really want to learn.

I’m always looking for more suggestions – let me know what’s on your “to read” list in the comments!

Fiction

Life After Life

I have a penchant for magical realism books, where elements of magic are a natural part of life, woven into a realistic environment. Think Isabelle Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Life After Life sounds just up my alley (from Amazon): “On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Ursula’s world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization — if only she has the chance?”

The Alchemist

Don’t freak out – I’ve already read The Alchemist many times. It’s been a few years, and I think it’s time to revisit it. If you’ve never read it, read it IMMEDIATELY. It’s a beautiful story, beautifully written, with profound life lessons. “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.” Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

Divergent

At least once a year I crave being swept up in young adult fiction. This year I think it will be the Divergent Series. It’s being made into a film, and I’ll admit the trailer didn’t make me want to go see it. But I’ll let you know how I like the books.

From Amazon: “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.”

Dark Places

I read Gone Girl last year, and several people have told me that Gillian Flynn’s other books are equally as good. Dark Places is being made into a movie, so I’ll add it to the list. I’m one of those people who like to see how they adapt books for the screen. (BTW did you know that Gillian Flynn rewrote the ending to Gone Girl for the movie?! SO interested in seeing it now…)

The Fault in Our Stars

I saw this on the bookshelf of my favorite bookstore and it was recommended by an old friend within the same week. If a straight guy says it’s a “sweet love story” then I’ve got to read it!

Personal Growth

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

This book was recommended to me about five times in the span of three days, so I know it’s a must-read for me. I love reading along with others, and Jennifer Scott of the Daily Connoisseur is reading it as part of her “book club” for February.

Speaking of which, would you be interested in reading along in a virtual book club with me? I’m happy to pick a book a month for us to read together and talk about – let me know in the comments.

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Many people are shocked to learn I haven’t read this book yet, since it’s a personal growth primer. It’ll happen this year, I promise. It’s on my bookshelf as we speak.

 

The Artist’s Way

I started working through the The Artist’s Way in 2013 and got about a third of the way through it. I loved the exercises and reconnecting with my own inner artist. I’m planning to start this one again in the spring. It takes dedication, but I know it will totally be worth it.

Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose

Of course I’ll read whatever Gabrielle Bernstein writes the minute it’s published. I loved working through May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness last year (and her book signing last January was a magical night for me where I got introduced to the women who would have a profound affect on me in 2013). I’m sure Miracles Now will be another game-changer.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Both of Brene Brown’s books are on my Kindle and on my to-read list. I don’t think it requires any explanation because the concept of vulnerability exploded last year.

Think and Grow Rich

I’m a couple chapters in to Think and Grow Rich already and know this classic is going to be a fantastic read. My theme for 2014 is Abundance, so I think it’s required that I read a few wealth consciousness books. I already read Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want to kick off the year.

Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked

I can’t remember where, but Reveal is another book that has popped into my awareness repeatedly in the last year, so I figure it needs to be read.

 

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

One of my dear friends recommended this book to me. Honestly, it sounds like a must-read for any working woman (from Amazon): “In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.”

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Another book that’s been recommended to me multiple times. When I learned that part of her motivation for the walk was grief for losing her mother, I knew it needed to be bumped up on the list.

 

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YOUR TURN

What’s on your must-read list for 2014? Any recommendations? Let’s start a great communal list in the comments.