2016 Reading Round Up

I careened into 2016 excited and ready to go. I spent NYE making a vision board, stating my goals and choosing guiding words for the year (Intention and Attention). I was so sure that I would be able to complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. I was really excited, sent out texts to a bunch of friends to join me and printed out the checklist.

Somewhere between book 3 and 4, some things became clear. 1) I was in Korea and had little access to English books, 2) New books are expensive, especially 50 of them and 3) some of the categories did not interest me at all. Part of taking on this challenge is to expand your reading horizons, and that’s what I looked forward to BUT I did not like the idea of spending lots of money on books I was not interested in or did not enjoy reading. So, the challenge was quickly abandoned but I still tried to read a fair amount throughout the year, I did ok. Here is a round up of what I read not in accordance with the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge in 2016. I realized I sway heavily towards memoirs written by women and in 2017 and am going to try to read more nonfiction and more varied authors.

1) I was in Korea and had little access to English books, 2) New books are expensive, especially 50 of them and 3) some of the categories did not interest me at all. Part of taking on this challenge is to expand your reading horizons, and that’s what I looked forward to BUT I did not like the idea of spending lots of money on books I was not interested in or did not enjoy reading. So, the challenge was quickly abandoned but I still tried to read a fair amount throughout the year, I did ok. Here is a round up of what I read not in accordance with the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge in 2016. I realized I sway heavily towards memoirs written by women and in 2017 and am going to try to read more nonfiction and more varied authors.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

You are going to start seeing a pattern here. I love inspirational, feminist-tinged memoirs. There were a lot. What can I say? I love the words of wisdom that come from strong, successful women. Year of Yes was entertaining, relatable despite the fact she is RICH and has a super bad ass job, and inspiring. If you aren’t into this genre you won’t like if you are, take a note from Shonda and say YES.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Another pattern you will see is that I got pretty into the self-help genre this year. I want to be a better person, I want to live a truer life, I want to make an impact. If reading a book can help me do that I am all for it. These are pretty simple statements that have a pretty powerful impact IF you put them into action, which is always the hard part. Don’t take anything personally. Always do your best. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t make assumptions. Easy right? Okay great, you are set free.

How To Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie

Well, I thought if I was going to get into self-help world I should explore some classics so after some research this is what I came up with. I didn’t really like it. Most of this is common sense but super hard to remember and put into practice. Some interesting anecdotes.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Loved it. Love Her. She has a really solid and unique voice that I found consistent throughout the book. Some funny, some inspirational, some informative. She takes on some heavy topics and I was really glad she did, so important for celebrities to use their platforms responsibly and Amy does. She discusses domestic violence, abusive relationships, sexual assault and gun control laws. I read a lot of books in this genre this might have been my favorite.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Glennon has a strong, consistent voice as well. Her memoir is about her husband’s affair, her relationship with the church and her journey as a mom. None of which I have any personal experience of and had some trouble relating to. But I still enjoyed her very personal and eloquently written journey. She talks a lot about feminism so, I liked it by default. Kidding. Kind of.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

So good. So strong. So scary. So sad. So many obvious things I didn’t really think about before reading. I really need to educate myself about race relations in the US and this was a great place to start. Coates talks about police shootings, growing up in Baltimore and the transformational experience he had at Howard University all through heartbreaking and heartbreakingly beautiful letters to his son.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkings

This book had a lot of buzz so I bit. Really fast and suspenseful read. Excellent story telling and so much fun to watch the drama unfold.

It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman

OKAY, this was an accident. I thought I was just reading a smaple but I finished the whoel book and didn’t realize I had purchased it. oops. Exactly what you would expect in a tell all memoir from an ex-bachelorette. She did I good job but nothing ground shaking. I was a big fan of Dorfman’s until I deduced she is a Trump supporter. Not confirmed.

The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris

A guide for how to break free from the 9-5, use lifestyle design to create a mobile and profitable life you love that you can take on the road. I get super amped up while reading, make a ton of to-do lists, forget I made them, don’t follow through and go out with my friends. A few weeks later, find the lists, crumple them up and ask all over ‘what am I going to do with my life?” Good for the go-getters.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Loved it. He has a sharp, witty insight to the world of online dating which is not always a fun world to be in. He examines it with like a sociologist and a comedian provides comedy and useful insight. Totally cool take at a budding world of bad communication and crossed wires.

Without You, There is No Us by Suki Kim

A memoir by a women (surprise!) who spent a year undercover teaching English to North Korean elite with missionaries who she was not a part of. It felt totally dystopian and  I have so much respect for the lengths this women went to peer into the life of North Koreans. This was my first look at North Korea and read it before I went to the DMZ at the border. This book got slammed because she said she missed her boyfriend (during a year of total isolation, having her journal read and e-mails watched living on a compound in which she was not allowed to leave and observing a country on youth being brainwashed). She also got compared to Eat. Pray. Love. Sexist. It’s a good read. She has a TedTalk too.

We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

I would say this is more of an essay than a book. It is short. But it is powerful. And as mentioned before, I love memoirs written by women, especially ones with feminist themes. Also, I like to hear about what life is like in other places around the world. So this was great. She also has a TedTalk, I would not watch the talk if you are going to read because they are very similar.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

As a Brandeis graduate, my reading of TWM was long overdue. It was beautifully written, inspiring and touching story about how to live life. The only thing that made me sad was comparing my lack of connection with any professor at Brandeis to this life-altering experience.

My Life On the Road by Gloria Steinem

I think it is safe to say I became a feminist this year. I had only heard Steinem’s name and knew she was important but never read anything by her. I loved the beginning when she recounted formative tales from time with her family. I cried a few times. She discusses the need to travel and the desire to have a home, this resonated with me deeply as this is an issue I constantly face. My favorite quote : “My father did not have to trade dying alone for the joys of the road. My mother did not have to give up a journey of her own to have a home. Neither do I. Neither do you.” My heart! Thanks, Gloria.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankel

I stay FAR away from anything holocaust related. But this book came highly recommended and is less about the atrocities of the holocaust and more about the human mind. It was interesting but I did not find it as earth shattering as I heard it was. And it was still about the holocaust.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Sample

I guess I did read one fiction book this year. Funny. Quirky. Quick. Super fun novel.

Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis

This is a mental-emotional preparation guide for hiking the Appalachian trail. Zach is the creator of the website TheTrek.co and I am blogging for them you can find my articles here.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank To Forgot by Sarah Hepola

Brave. This memoir is so brave. Hepola recounts details from her life as an alcoholic that are scary, intimate, relatable and disturbing. Hepola takes an unflinching look at herself and does so in beautiful words. Her voice is sharp and succinct and this was one of my favorite books this year. She dedicates it to anyone who needs it.

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

Did I already say I like memoirs written by women and self-help? Well, this book is both. A little repetitive but I like the message. Like all self-help just reading it doesn’t do too much for you but actually following through on the advice probably does. SIncero is funny and concise. And her message is to Love Yourself. I can get down with that.

Big Magic

I have mixed feeling about Eat.Pray.Love but I adore Elizabeth Gilbert. She has a unique and positive outlook on life that is simply infectious. She is so true to herself and inspires you to do the same. Here is her TedTalk. This book gives great, practical advice about what living a creative life. She emphasizes that you don’t need to be paid, take out giant loans or give up everything in your life. You can create, no matter what, just because it makes you happy.

Living in The Sweet Spot by Amy Baltzell

As a former athlete and current coach, I am enthralled by sports psychology. I truly understand the difference your mindset can make. This book is great because it gives you activities and exercises you can actually participate in to ameliorate your sport performance.

Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Umm.. I didn’t actually finish this one because well the whole book seems to be about the same sentence. Be here now. Mindfulness is important and I believe worthy of an entire book but I found this redundant, and lots o’ Jesus talk. I’m not too down with that.

Still Reading: Hillbilly Elegy, The Dance of Anger and Letters to a Young Therapist

There were a handful more but I’m pretty tired. I realized I read almost exclusively non-fiction so in 2017 I hope to vary my genres more. I also hope to read more by authors of different backgrounds, colors, religions and sexual orientations. I would also like to read more classic literature that I (oops!) skipped in high school. Oh, and less self-help because I never actual put the words into practice.

What were your favorite books of 2017? Mine was a tie. Between the World and Me, it was uncomfortable to hear and at times went over my head, but I figured I could put up with the discomfort of listening while in my privileged skin and home. I also LOVED Sarah Hepola’s memoir her voice is so insightful, sharp and consistant.

Happy Reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *