Top Reads of 2014

I have read 158% of my goal on Goodreads this year.  Some of the books have been life-changing, others have been complete garbage.  Here are my top 5 to recommend, in no particular order:

2014-top-books

(Not pictured: Mental Health First Aid USA, because I gave my copy away and haven’t replaced it yet.)

1. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
A lot of the content will be familiar if you read Allie’s blog, also titled Hyperbole and a Half.  Yes, if you’re like me and “clean all the things?” is your favorite internet line ever, you will find it here.  There’s just something special about holding it in book form though, with the bright colors on pretty glossy pages.

2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Not one to follow the popular crowd, I skipped over Gone Girl with all its pre-movie hype and tried this one instead, based on the intriguing blurb on Amazon.  Part murder mystery and part exploration of the main character’s physical and emotional scars, I was impressed with the author’s success at tackling the rather unsettling topic of self-injury without making the character one-dimensional.

3. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
This book was a gift from my first therapist when she left at the end of her internship.  As I read each chapter I thought, “This is why she gave me this book!  No, wait, THIS is why!”  I found it funny that a book on imperfection could be so perfect for me.  Now, 6 months later, I feel like it’s time to go back for a second reading to see if I’ve grown in any of the areas addressed in the book, and to really tackle any areas where I haven’t grown yet.

4. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney
I first discovered this book when someone shared the page “What is a “MOOD DISORDER” anyway?”, which is featured in this interview in The Guardian.  I read quite a lot of books on Bipolar Disorder this year, having just been diagnosed.  I have a couple of favorites, and this one (as a non-self-help book and humorous) is the most relatable for those who don’t share the diagnosis.

5. Mental Health First Aid USA by Betty Kitchener, Anthony Jorm, and Claire Kelly
Designed as a textbook for the course of the same name, this book is a basic, straightforward guide to identifying potential mental health issues and supporting those in crisis.  Like physical first aid, the idea is to teach average people to help long enough to get the person transferred to a professional.  As I mentioned above, I gave my copy away after I finished it, because I felt that strongly about other people learning to use these skills.

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5 thoughts on “Top Reads of 2014

  1. I also liked “Marbles” and, like you, have read a pile of memoirs by bipolar folks. I found most of them to be so similar: Crazy behavior leading to a crisis; Repeat; Treatment; Resistance; Ah-Ha Moment. I found , Suzanne Antonetta’s book “A Mind Apart—Travels in a Neurodiverse World” to be completely different and wonderful. I highly recommend that one.

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  2. Since you liked the book on perfectionism, try Martin Antony’s When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough. All of his books are good, but reading that one was one of those life-changing literary experiences for me, where you’re reading it and you keep having those moments of “Ohhhhh, I DON’T have to keep doing/thinking that…”

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  3. Pingback: Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge | Stuff That Needs Saying

  4. Pingback: Top Reads of 2015 | Stuff That Needs Saying

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