Exceptional Favorites from 2014

As colleges and universities finished the semester last week, I too presented myself with an academic challenge. I may not have pulled any all-nighters, though on most days last week, you could find me reading–nose in Nook–until 2am. Thus, coffee was still a morning necessity, but it is more ruotine, so I gave myself some slack in hat area. πŸ™‚

What was my academic challenge?


Did you guess? πŸ™‚ I love to read, but this year reading was different in a way. And I think I know why. At the beginning of the year, my cousin–who writes entries every so often for the blog Kindred Grace–emailed me and said that they were going to be attempting a book exchange and that I might be interested. Of course, sounds like random fun. As you filled out the questionnaire…genres or authors you prefer or not, books you own or may have read, and three on your wish list to read…you were then matched as close possible with someone who may have the same interests or just seems like a good pair. I am not sure how many girls participated, but we used Goodreads as a way to connect, share our reads of past, current and wish list and enjoy some new recommendations and opinions. Goodreads is a Facebook for book worms. πŸ˜‰

The best part–yes, you sent a book and received one–was the fellowship. I still write my exchange partner on Goodreads here and there, if I notice her current read titles have a book I wan to read or have already. I noticed I did the same in conversation with friends over the year; books stimulate conversation: we all have our likes and dislikes, so by sharing them, we “expand ours horizons,’ as my Dad would say. Books are meant to be shared. Through this year, especially after the eye surgery, I experienced this, but in thought of others enjoying the pages rather than the dust, pairing titles with family and friends was like being a librarian, offering recommendations without spoiling the ending…which is what I often do best.

“So, now you can read the book for yourself,” I tell my sister, Megan, as we laughed. I had basically told her the whole plot–even the last sentence of the book, which I had found hilarious. What a way to share books, indeed! Therefore, I present to you my list (title and author only)–a list of books that I found exceptional–some were recommended, some were found randomly when browsing e-reads through the library on my Nook and some I have had on my bookshelf for too long.


  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
  • Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Historical Fiction

  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Gideon’s Call by Peter Leavell


  • One Nation: What We Can Do to Save America’s >Future by Ben Carson, MD
  • A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern
  • Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose
  • Life in Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice by Kristen Anderson
  • Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • Hands of My Father by Myron Uhlberg


  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
  • The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little

What were your exceptional or favorite reads this year?




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6 responses to “Exceptional Favorites from 2014

  1. Sheron Gibbs

    Melinda you definitely challenged me with this post. In 2015 I NEED to READ more… It is a wonderful de –stresser (if there is such word). Stop laughing ! !

    • mel

      I love new words!! I just usually add “ness” to the end of a word to make it sound new, so I am not laughing. πŸ™‚ Play Scrabble with my family and you’ll hear all sorts of new words, haha.

  2. Lois

    I am inspired. I copied, pasted and printed your list! Thank you!

    • mel

      I hope you enjoy the list…it took much contemplation. πŸ™‚ For example, I had also read Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and found it fascinating, especially since we live close to part of where the history took place, but I just didn’t think it quite extraordinary compared to the other Historical fictions. Hence, my academic challenge, haha. Let me know what you think if you read some. πŸ™‚

  3. Dustin

    Mel, a few books I thoroughly enjoyed this year were: The Frontiersman by Allan Eckert; The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni; and the Biography of Frederick Douglas (written around 1867). Other than that, the rest of my reads were of the professional genre designed to put all other beings in a permanently unconscious state πŸ™‚

    • mel

      Oh wow! The first of the books listed, i have never heard before–si I will have to look them up on Goodreads. πŸ™‚ I read a few books from the Civil War era and have had biographies and autobiographies, such as the Frederick Doiglass, to want to read but then got caught up in the Civil Rights time frame. I jump around a lot when it comes to history. πŸ™‚

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