Great New Books Favorites

2014 GNB Favorite Books copy

One of the best things I’ve done this year was to become a contributor to the Great New Books blog team. When my writer friend (and Great New Books founder) Jennifer Lyn King visited Maine last year, she contacted me and asked me if I had time for a cup of coffee. Instead, Jennifer and I took a tour of my little corner of coastal Maine. Jennifer and I both love photography and the day we went out was absolutely gorgeous…we had an amazing day and both of us posted photos on Instagram before Jennifer headed out for a sunset lobster dinner with her family (who I also had the happy opportunity to meet).

I digress. Before we parted ways, Jennifer asked if I might be interested in joining the Great New Books team—if an opening came up. I quickly said yes, and I was thrilled when just about a month later she emailed and said she was expanding the team and asked if I would like to join.

When I joined Great New Books, I became a part of an amazing group of readers and writers; in addition to founder Jennifer, they’re Hallie Sawyer, Nina Badzin, Jessica Vealitzek, Lindsey Mead, Stacey Loscalzo, Cathleen Holst, and Katie Noah Gibson.

Great New Books is all about weekly sharing of a new book one of us loves:

Our passion is for recommending quality books which keep us turning pages long through the night, great books which have the potential to touch hearts, and lives, and open doors to a better world.

But Great New Books is so much more than that. We’re nine women. All from different backgrounds, at different stages of life, but our lives intersect at a passion for reading and writing. And I can now happily say that I call these eight remarkable women friends. We share our lives through weekly emails, something I count on every week…continuity in my life that’s a little discontinuous of late. For that I’d like to say thank you. To Jennifer for the invitation to join, and to the other women in the group. Thank you for being a part of my life and for allowing me to be a part of yours.

This week’s posting on Great New Books is even more special than usual because we each contributed to it (Jennifer did an amazing job compiling it, too!). Each of us picked the favorite book we read this year, and that’s what this week’s post is all about.

Over the past several weeks, the nine of us on our GNB team — Lindsey Mead, Nina Badzin, Jess Vealitzek, Hallie Sawyer, Stacey Loscalzo, Cathleen Holst, Katie Noah Gibson, Julia Munroe Martin, and Jennifer King — have worked hard to each try and pick our favorite book from 2014. Between the nine of us, we’ve read over 450 books this year. It hasn’t been an easy task to choose just one book apiece. But here, after long deliberation, are our favorite book picks (old and new) we’ve read this year …

So please head over to the Great New Books blog. Read about our favorites, and sign up to receive the weekly posts while you’re there, too. I can promise that every week you’ll read about books that we feel passionately about—and isn’t that what reading is all about?

Happy New Year,






  1. I love this so much, Julia. Thank YOU. xoxo

  2. Heading over there right now!

  3. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Great picks, Julia! I’ve only read one of these this year, so lots to choose from here.

  4. Barry Knister says:

    Nine readers and 450 books = something over 63 books per. I have never felt so logo-centrically challenged! You do under-achievers like me a favor by publishing a short list of favorites. I’m heading over to the website right now. I mean right after my nap.

    • Oh Barry, you always can make me laugh… but seriously, I am definitely the slacker in the Great New Books family as far as number of books is concerned. I am constantly in awe of my friends! My goal this year is to read two books a month. Here’s hoping.

  5. Lisa says:

    What a fabulous thing. I’m jealous, but in a good way. Now I will wander over, and probably add more books to the ever growing list. Sigh.

    • Like you I have an endlessly growing list (AND STACKS) of books to read. I’m not doing very well personally on making a dent, but it’s one of my resolutions, to read more books. Hope you enjoy the post!

  6. Nina says:

    LOVE having you on the team!

  7. Cherry Harris says:

    I confess I am a little bit obsessed where books are concerned . I never go anywhere without one . I always read three books at the same time but it still doesn’t help me get through the piles in our house …I could do with three heads to be honest . My husband has often said it’s either him or my books …well come on he just knows there’s no contest . Now I have a new and wonderful list from you to plough through there will be more piles . I wonder if I’ll get any in my Christmas stocking . Hope you get this, I’m a little late, I just couldn’t drag myself away from that book you recommended lol

    • I’m like you, Cherry, I rarely go anywhere without a book — especially now that I have my Kindle. The Kindle helps (a little) with the piles of books, although I still have plenty. Yet like you I hope to have more to add after Christmas. Here’s hoping, right? Happy Christmas!

  8. Wow, loved reading about great new books — this is awesome! I definitely need to check it out, thanks Julia! And Happy New Year my friend!