I feel like I just crammed for a final exam but I did it! By the hair of my chinny chin chin (ok – with a day to spare) I read 50 books this year! It was a random goal of mine – but I really have figured out that I do love reading. And – thanks to my special friend – audible.com, I made it a point to replace listening to the same songs on the radio over and over to listening to motivational books and fiction stories.
This all started with joining a book club with some friends from the Junior League – and then I also started to follow Reese’s Book Club on Instagram ( @reesesbookclubxhellosunshine) and went with some of her suggestions. I track all of my books through the “Goodreads” app where I write reviews and add way more books than I will ever read. Another new discovery that I really like a lot.
Now comes the hard part where I tell you my favorites – instead of telling you all of them right off the bat because that’s kind of boring. I understand. So maybe…yeah, ok – here’s my top 3 for 3 categories: Audiobooks, Nonfiction and Fiction. I’ll divide it a little more later on.
Top 3 Audiobooks:
Download these books now. Ok – The Death of Mrs Westaway you may want to listen to only once, since it’s a mystery, but man was it a good read. I definitely am now a huge fan of both Ruth Ware (the author) and Imogen Church (the narrator). The writing is beautiful and the story kept me on the edge of my seat – perfect for a long road trip. Now Unfu*k Yourself and Girl, Wash Your Face I love for the same reason – both books tell me what I need to hear. It’s like talking to a friend. These I have and will listen to over and over again. The chapters are great and let me know that what I am thinking isn’t weird – but it does get in my way. Also the fact that both are read by the author is a huge plus, especially Gary John Bishop’s Scottish accent.
Top 3 Nonfictions:
I feel like the last few years I have definitely been in a Gabrielle Bernstein and Brene Brown world. Both authors really inspire confidence. Of these 3, you could do the audio or paperback version – except for the Judgment Detox. I really recommend for that one you get the physical copy and take your time with it and journal. It really helped me break through some things that Braving the Wilderness so wonderfully setup for me. That is – trying something new that’s hard and scary (hello, entrepreneurship!). As far as John Maxwell is concerned, you know you are just going to get something good. I read 4 of his books this year, and this Everyone Communicates, Few Connect was my favorite. I like how it helped me hone my own personal communication style, and to also work to be a better listener.
Top 3 Fiction Reads:
Both Next Year in Havana and Where the Crawdads Sing were books recommended by the Reese’s book club, and I really didn’t think I would like Where the Crawdads Sing but the photo on the cover drew me in. I loved how it talked about the strength of a woman, how she overcame adversity and had some mystery, romance – really a little bit of everything.
Next Year in Havana was just an interesting read. It tells the story of a Cuban American family that had to flee during the revolution. Living in South Florida – I hear stories about this so it was neat to hear the story told from 2 perspectives in 2 time periods, and I got a kick out of the fact that I knew where of the areas in Miami and the Palm Beaches that were talked about in the modern times section.
When Life Gives You Lululemons is the 3rd book in the Devil Wears Prada series. And before you ask – do you need to read the first 2 books to “get it?” Nope – I sure didn’t. I bought it while in an airport solely for the title, but while reading the book which is narrated by Miranda’s old assistant, Emily (played by Emily Blunt) I heard her voice perfectly in my head and it was so entertaining to read and just laugh out loud.
Top Books of the Whole Durn Year
My absolute favorite book of the year – again..ugh so hard. But if I have to pick one it would be…The Plant Paradox and its accompanying cookbook with recipes compiled by the author from his own kitchen as well as his patients.
I know what you are thinking – Really, Amy, a freaking diet book? Yes. And I will tel you why. This book changed my life more than any story would. It finally helped me figure out what is going on with my health that doctors just call “IBS” or “A Bad Diet” and I finally feel…well. Do you know what it’s like to feel good when you wake up? To not go to bed with stomach pains? Sleep through the night? Ya’ll – it’s not a page turner but its amazing to learn how your body works. I think I bring this book up daily, and it is certainly mentioned in most of my recipes.
The last book I read for the year also deserves an honorable mention – Option B by Sheryl Sandberg (the same person who wrote Lean In). I purchased this book to help me through some grief and to find me again – and it’s the last book I listened to this whole year. It’s like she was inside my head and this was the last book I needed to read to find “me” again. It’s so powerful – and I don’t wish anyone to feel they need to read a book like this, but if you do – well dang.
Thinking back – it’s crazy that I didn’t really know what genre I even liked – I just read what I was told to read, and then got a bit burnt out (I swear, Mrs. Fienning – I did read all the books you assigned in school!), motivational book overload – that kinda thing. But after this challenge, I really love motivational books (shocker) but I was also surprised how much I loved a mystery, and reading the paperback version of a real “page-turner” where I prefer the motivational books audible-style. Here’s the full round up.
Personal Development & Motivation
Fiction with a hint of Mystery
Health & Wellness
What about you? Do you have any favorites or must-reads? I’m looking for any and all suggestions – because I am thinking I am going to repeat this again next year (WHAT?!).