Mandi’s best books of 2014

If you’ve been close to me in the past year, you have heard me raving about one of these books. I read some of these while I was in Austria, or before I left for Austria, and these books are the top six that I would recommend to friends over and over.

I really had a FANTASTIC book year!

I tore through this book like LB when he reaches the stuffing inside his favorite stuffed toy. The story revolves around Rumi, the mystic Sufi poet of long ago (whose quotes we have ALL seen crowding pin boards for years). Although this is a work of fiction, this book is so full of Rumi’s wisdom that I almost wanted to highlight the whole thing. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Your job is not to seek love– it is to seek and find all the barriers you have against it.” –Rumi

This is definitely a book that I could read again and again.

You knew this was coming.

I read this book in a flurry of traveling throughout the Austro-Hungarian empire, and that made it even more real to me. However, this is an incredible work of biography nonetheless. This is not a biography that reads like a textbook. This is a book that is entertaining, dramatic, and real.

If you’re at ALL interested in what Empress Elizabeth of Austria was all about, please please please PLEASE read this fantastic book.

My therapist recommended this book to me when I left for Austria, saying with a chuckle, “I think you could use a bit more Taoism in your life.” She was right.

I have studied Taoism in philosophy and anthropology classes, and it has always gone FAR over my head. As soon as we get started discussing time-as-a-spiral, I am lost. However, this book brings the key Taoist ideals forward in the simplest of ways… which is very characteristic indeed.

Winnie the Pooh has a lot to teach us about how to think and how to live our lives. I would recommend this short, quick, and enlightening read to anyone curious about simplicity and peace of mind.

This book, recommended to me by my chief mentor, really inspired me to travel, to be independent, and to see the world differently. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in traveling outside of the tourist traps… to anyone who really wishes to see culture and collect experiences rather than souvenirs.

I have not yet read “Eat, Pray, Love,” but these two books stand as my personal travel bibles.

Highly recommended!

Oh, Anne… sweet Anne with an “e.” This girl changed how I see the world.

L.M. Montgomery brings the most beautiful place in the world to life before your mind’s eye, until you really do see the white way of delight and the rolling hills of Avonlea.

I laughed, I gasped, and I grinned all the way through the book… and then, I laughed out loud with my friend Ryan watching the hilariously wonderful movies.

Anne will forever live on as one of my all-time favorite book characters. I wish I were more like her.

Wow… this book blew me away.

After taking a semester-long foray into Middle Eastern cultures, I thought that I had it all pretty much figured out. Malala changed my mind. She opened my perspective so much. I am constantly surprised at how her writing style can be so advanced for a girl of 17 (now).

If you’re ready for a rude awakening into the lives of people under the rule of radicals, pick this up. You will be amazed, surprised, and your eyes will be opened.

If I could recommend one book for all Americans to read this year, it might just be this one. This book has the power to change ignorance, one mind at a time.


This year, I have read some wonderful books that really opened my eyes and mind.

I hope 2015 holds just as much in store for the bookworm in me. :)

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin



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