As a kid, I was positively ravenous about reading. Every time we’d leave the library with a fresh stack of books, it felt like getting away with highway robbery: how could something as wonderful as books possibly be free (to borrow)? In 4th grade the local library issued a challenge - to read 20 books over the summer, and I proudly turned in my sheet with something like 150 titles listed (no joke).
And yet, when I look back over the last few years I haven’t been reading books at all. Why did I stop doing something I loved that much? I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions but at the beginning of this year I set a goal to read more books! I knew I needed to make time for reading again, and I’m so glad I did. I mostly enjoy reading to glean knowledge from business or religion books, and I love memoirs written by women because I like learning from their experiences. I also read one novel this year, and was reminded of that wonderful feeling when a book carries you away to some far off distant land, making you forget where you are. (In this case, a 7-hour train ride across Italy – a wonderful way to pass the time!)
Here are the books I read, and a brief review of each. Please let me know what books you are gobbling up and what you recommend, too!
1. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely – Lysa TerKeust is a well-known author of more than 17 books and the president of Proverbs 31, and this is my first book of hers. I didn’t really relate to most of the stories/lessons in this book on a personal level, but I could absolutely see the value it could bring to someone else. Planning to pass this one on to a friend!
2. Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life – Lisa Sugar is the founder of POPSUGAR, a company I work closely with (they sent me this copy). This book felt like a good fit for a recent college grad – a light, easy guide to all things in the workplace and life in general. For me, I enjoyed learning more of Lisa’s story and love her “nice always wins” attitude in business!
3. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This is an old book and the title is really bad, but the hubs recommended it and I’m so glad I gave it a shot. It’s a business book, but more than that it’s a people book, full of wonderful lessons and deliciously vintage stories (it was written in the 1920s) that still ring true today. Highly recommend for anyone, but especially if you’re in a sales job.
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – This book gets so much hype, and while it was certainly good maybe I was expecting more? It’s a fun, easy read – a whimsical story that has a deeper meaning - so I recommend it, just so you know what everyone’s talking about. ;-)
5. The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel– A friend gave this to me 10 years ago and wish I hadn’t waited because it’s SO GOOD. It’s written by a courtroom reporter (and former atheist) who essentially puts the four Gospels (the story of Jesus) on trial. Each chapter covers a different type of evidence and includes an interview with an expert in that field. As scholarly as this book is, I also experienced a deep emotional connection. Really phenomenal book no matter your faith.
This next set of books I read while traveling to/from/in Europe. I checked them out from our local library and downloaded them to my iPad. (Which is why the picture looks different – they are images of the covers, not hard copies.)
1. Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton – An incredibly raw memoir about the author’s addiction and broken marriage, and holy smokes this woman can write! The entire book feels like a poem – her way with words is just incredible. Even though I haven’t gone through many of the things she has, I could empathize. You will wish you could put your feelings into words as eloquently as she does.
2. Bossypants by Tina Fey –This book contains lots of short stories from her early life and career, as well as hilarious essays. In hindsight I really wish I had downloaded the audio book to hear it in her voice. Overall, a fun, light read.
3. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – I wanted to read a novel on our trip and randomly picked this one, by a well-known fiction author. Pros: this book is nice and long, kept me entertained for hours, and I love all the research she did about elephants. Cons: did not like the psychic theme, and I found myself being jarred back into reality because of sudden eye-rolling moments, which made it harder to enjoy. Mixed feelings on this one!
4. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin – This book is super short and easy to read, more like a long-form article. It’s a business book, the main concept being to motivate you to lead a “tribe” in your life and step out into leadership. (ps. I quoted this book in this recent blog post.)
5. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso – This is written by the founder of fashion brand Nasty Gal at the height of the company’s success. The company went bankrupt recently, regardless, I love reading autobiographies and “how I got here” stories and this book was exactly that.
6. For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker – You will want to be best friends with this author after you read this! I was rolling in tears from laughter, she made some excellent points about faith, and overall just kept me entertained and learning something new with every chapter. Highly recommend.
7. Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown – This is my second Brene Brown book. She is a researcher and like with her other book, I found her writing style to be very scholarly and factual. A good read full of interesting case studies.
These are the other 6 books I’ve read this year. Go here to see my review for these!
Which ones have you read? What books do you recommend?