Just follow this. No this. Wait…this one is the one.

I love to read, and usually squeeze in 70-90 books a year. This is on top of several magazine subscriptions (including fitness, health and cooking), lots of on-line reading, a few audiobooks, tons of podcasts, and a number of books merely skimmed or flat-out abandoned. This year I was on the lower range of finished books (only 74), but the number of books in the “other” category sky-rocketed to 38. I like to keep track of everything, because of course I can’t remember what’s what later, so this way I have a reference to try to avoid double-reading (except when authors re-issue a book under another name, not that I’m bitter).

One should not be impressed with the number books on the list this year. My partner finished well over 300 (he’s a fast reader, a bit obsessed, and gets a lot of reading in because he travels a lot for work). Additionally, a look through the list finds a lot of fluff (those Jane Austen sequels/prequels/retellings/modern adaptations/etc. come to mind), and quite a few nutrition/cooking/this-is-the-diet-that-works/no-this-is-the-diet-that-works, many of which are relatively quick flip-throughs with a few notes along the way.

As part of my refocus/reset of my diet and exercise, there were a number of books perused in the hopes of figuring out what I should do. In addition to checking out cookbooks/nutrition books already on our shelves and countless on-line recipe/nutrition blogs, these books in particular were supposed to help me figure out what to eat, how to reset, how to run, how to lose weight, how to cook healthier, etc., etc., etc.

Yeah, it didn’t work out so well. What a confusing, conflicting mess! At no point did I ever say “I should do this”. Yes, lots of notes about “superfoods” to try to stack my diet with, but even that was rife with contrasting information. Count sugars! No, count carbs! Hello, count calories!! No, fat is where it’s at! Fruit is great – unless it’s a banana, orange, strawberry, watermelon or any other fruit with sugar, like all of them.

A few days ago I found a plan telling me I couldn’t eat beans. That was a new one for me, as beans consistently show up on “superfood” lists, and as a vegetarian, they are a bit of a staple. That was a little crushing, if I’m being honest.  It was also disregarded.

Even more of a struggle is deciding what is OK to use as a sweetener when cooking/baking: Stevia, Dextrose, Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup. So many “OK/not OK” lists and the same items are in different columns.

I also couldn’t believe how many plans were flat-out “This is the way to go, forget everything else you’ve read”, and then the diets/advice/exercise suggestions would be just completely different.

What’s a girl to do? Honestly, it was impossible to put a plan together. I’m still just feeling my way. I’ve been good about cooking and preparing my lunches, and doing some experimenting along the way.

I suppose I should be grateful I still have a stack of related books next to my bed, and large virtual stack on my Kindle…surely the answer is in there if I just try hard enough?

Here’s the full list of my reading for 2014. Exciting stuff.

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time – Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson
Ken’s Guide to the Bible by Ken Smith
Unlikely Friendships – Jennifer Holland
Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story: So Lively a Chase – Laura Hile
Mercy’s Embrace: The Lady Must Decide by Laura Hile
I was Jane Austen’s Best Friend – Cora Harrison
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
Longbourn – Jo Baker
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
High Infatuation: Steph Davis
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman
Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger
The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
The Rosie Project -Graeme Simsion
Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom – Celia Rivenbark
Shoes to Die For – Laura Levine
The International Bank of Bob – Bob Harris
Pride Revisited – Tess Quinn
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Fowler, Karen Joy
Ticking Along with the Swiss by Patricia Highsmith
Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen – Lindsay Ashford
Snow White Must Die -Nele Neuhaus
One Summer, 1927 – Bill Bryson
Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
Big Stone Gap – Adriana Trigiani
Ticking Along Too by Patricia Highsmith
Heidi – by Spyri, Johanna
Among the Janeites – Deborah Yaffe
Narcissus and Goldmund – Hermann Hesse
Swiss Family Robinson – by Johann David Wyss
Fidelity & Affection: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel by Yve Turner
Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel, by Katherine Reay
Pride & Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition – Michelle M. Pillow
Free Country – George Mahood
The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid
Mr Darcy Came to Dinner – Jack Caldwell
Pemberley Ranch – Jack Caldwell
For All the Wrong Reasons – Mary Lydon Simonsen
Captain Wentworth Home From the Sea – Mary Lydon Simonsen
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Thin by Lauren Greenfield
Charlotte Collins – Jennifer Becton
The Rule of Reason – Abigail Reynolds
Fake – Clifford Irving
The Piano Teacher – Elfriede Jelinek
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
Tell Me Who I Am: Sometimes it’s Safer Not to Know… by Alex Lewis and Marcus Lewis
Demian – Hermann Hesse
The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible – Simon Winchester
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress – Susan Jane Gilman
A Street Cat Named Bob : And How He Saved My Life by Bowen, James
The Ashford Affair: A Novel, by Lauren Willig
Professor Birdsong’s 157 Dumbest Criminal Storiesby Leonard Birdsong
The Possibility Dogs – Susannah Charleson (AUDIOBOOK)
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris (AUDIOBOOK)
Mr. Darcy’s Proposal – Susan Mason-Milks
The Truth About Mr. Darcy (originally self-published as Affinity and Affection)- Susan Adriani
Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections by Abigail Reynolds
Loving Miss Darcy – Nancy Kelley
The Future Mrs. Darcy – Maria Grace
The Three Colonels- Jack Caldwell
Conviction: a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice by Skylar Hamilton Burris
I Love Everybody – Laurie Notaro
What Matters in Jane Austen – John Mullan
Parents Who Killed Their Children – R.J. Parker
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub
Serial Killers Abridged by R.J. Parker
Emma (Jane Austen: Marvel Adaptations) by Nancy Butler
My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
Spiced: A Pastry Chef’s True Stories… by Dalia Jurgensen
I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook by Sarah Wilson
A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan, and Carolyn Eberhart

Other:
world’s best travel experiences – national geographic
how to start a running routine and become a confident runner – jay walkins
the vegetarian slow cooker recipe book – julia cussler
she drives me crazy – celia rivenbark
Adventure Travel – 16 stories from a world traveller hoping to provide little inspiration for your next travel adventure by Ian Usher
Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Centuryby Sean Patrick
travel resolutions: 52 new ways to experience planet earth – lonely planet
incredibly delicious vegetarian recipes from the Mediterranean – vesela tabakova
Adventures Underwater – Ian Usher
Travel Tips – Ian Usher
The Vintage Tea Party Book – Angel Adoree
Bizarre World – Bill Bryson
Life in the Country by Freydis Jane Welland
What Makes You Grateful? – Anne O. Kubitsky

Abandoned/Skimmed:
The Hourglass – Barbara Metzger
Cooked : Finding Ourselves in the Kitchen by Pollan, Michael
must have done something good – cheryl cory
The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex
Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert H. Lustig
Couponing for the Beginner
33 More Ways to Reboot Your Life – Luther Cale
Simple Avocado Recipes
Stop Procrastinating: 10 Power Habits
The world is flat : a brief history of the twenty-first century by Friedman, Thomas L
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generationby Joseph J. Ellis
Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani
Benjamin Franklin – Edmund Morgan
Fast Track One Day Detox Diet – Ann Louise Gittleman
Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat by H. Leighton Steward
Clever Tricks to Stave Off Death – David Malki
The 100: Count ONLY Sugar Calories- Jorge Cruise
Running for Beginners – Gary Jones
Penelope – Anya Wylde
Keeping Up with the Germans: A History of Anglo-German Encounters by Philip Oltermann
The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally by Diane Sanfilippo BS NC
The 3-Day Cleanse – founders of BluePrintCleanse Zoe Sakoutis
Flat Belly Diet – Liz Vaccariello
Superfood Salads
DIY protein bar

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