At the end of 2013, I realized (finally) that I love to read, but I have to make time for it. And, I have to make finding good books quick and easy.

So I…

  • set up an Amazon Prime account for free/fast shipping on books.
  • got a library card.
  • started a no-obligations book club with my best friend Lucy. We take turns picking books. If we don’t like a book, we drop it and don’t finish it. It’s fun to talk about the books we read. We shoot for two per quarter. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s why it’s called the no-oblications book club.
  • set up a Goodreads.com account so I can hang out online with other book lovers (like my Uncle Jon and cousin Daisey)
  • reorganized my book shelf so that all the books I hadn’t read yet were on one shelf together.
  • Twice, I tried buying a book on my iPad and hated it. I’m just not an e-reader type person. I like real books.
  • Use my credit card rewards to buy books. It felt like they were “free”.

These were all simple steps, but it resulted in a happy, fulfilling year of reading.

Here’s a list of my favorite books from 2014.

Books for First-Time Moms

On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep – Recommended to me by two friends. This book is helping me develop a flexible routine for Joslyn and our family.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting & What to Expect in the First Year – When it comes to parent books, I learned this: the cheesier the cover, the better the book.

The Power of a Praying Parent – I wasn’t sure how to pray for our baby at the beginning of my pregnancy, this book has lots of scripture based prayers. Will be more beneficial as our children grow up.

Supernatural Childbirth – Another super-cheesy 1990s cover! Great prayers for protection of the child and mother during pregnancy and birth. Also, good prayers and teaching for those who may struggle with infertility.

Husband-Coached Childbirth – Dr. Bradley is the doctor responsible for getting fathers out of the waiting room (circa 1950s – 1970s) and back at their wives’ side providing much-needed encouragement and emotional support.

Books for Writers

Copywriting Business – If you want to learn how to “write to sell” and start a writing business, this is a down to earth book that is full of practical advice.

The Well-Fed Writer – For any writer who doesn’t want to starve.

Navigating Social Media: A Field Guide – For any small business owner who wants to use several social media outlets.

Writing Down the Bones – Inspiration on the craft of writing.

The Writer’s Legal Companion – Includes simple contract samples to write basic contractual agreements and understand copyright laws, etc.

Books for Grown Ups who loved the Little House on the Prairie Series

The Little House on the Prairie Books – Read most of them this year as an adult. Still good.

Dakota – A set of essays that helped me understand South Dakota, my new home state.

Just Beyond Harmony – For the mom who feels too busy, but loves her family life.

No Time on My Hands – A true life story of a pioneer Nebraska woman. Literally, another Laura Ingalls Wilder. Except this woman loved to quilt.

Writing Her Own Life – Especially for teachers. The life story of a western rural school teacher told through her journals.

Laura Ingall’s Wilder: A Writer’s Life – Background story on how Laura and her daughter Rose interacted while the books were being written.

Feels Like Far: A Rancher’s Life on the Great Plains – A modern ranching story by a female, South Dakota author.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist: Writings from the Ozark’s – Most people don’t realize that Laura wrote as a columnist for the Missouri Ruralist magazine for years before ever writing for children. Her articles center on farm life and domestic efficiency.

O Pioneers! & My Antonia – Fictional stories rooted in the real-life pioneer experiences of Willa Cather. Feature the diverse heritages of the people who settled among the Great Plains. It wasn’t just “whites and indians”. There were Russians, Germans, Norwegians and more.

Books For Quilters

A Month of Sundays: Family, Friends, Food & Quilts — A quilting lifestyle book, with low-volume fabrics.

Tula Pink’s City Sampler – So cool!

The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt — Really cool!

Beginner’s Guide to Free Motion Quilting – Good diagrams.

Quilt as You Go Made Modern: Fresh Techniques for Busy Quilters – This may be the only type of quilt I make while Joslyn is little.

Simply Retro with Camille Roskelly – Adorable quilts, simple patterns. I have started the house quilt and just love it!

Books for Creative Entrepreneurs

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative – Easy reading, inspiring.

Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered – Same as above.

Start With Why – A great marketing book about sharing the “Why” of your business, idea, or cause first — rather than the who, what or when first.

Tribes – Helped me to understand how modern communication has changed because of the internet.

Decorating Books that Inspire, Rather than Intimidate

Life’s Too Short To Fold Fitted Sheets – Witty, fun and full of tips.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful – Contentment. Contentment. Contentment.

Young House Love – Neat projects, small budgets.

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