For the past few years, I have dedicated the very top of my bookshelf to the books I’ve read that year. I also keep track using Goodreads (find me here) but I really enjoy this physical visual reminder.
A few of the books I read are currently being borrowed (because they were so good that I immediately handed them to friends), but here’s a full breakdown of what I read in 2017:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A great young adult read to kick off the year. Great characters, lots of emotion, and lots of great 80’s music references.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I enjoyed this book, and it had some great pearls of wisdom. Amy Poehler is funny (duh) and honest about many areas of life. It made me want to be her friend (as if that wasn’t already true).
Enneagram and the Way of Jesus by AJ Sherrill
I went to an Enneagram workshop at my church (where AJ is the pastor) and this was part of it. An interesting look at how our personalities are an important part of faith.
The Platinum Rule by Tony Alessandra, Ph.D., and Michael J. O’Connor, Ph.D.
We’ve all heard of the “Golden Rule”: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. The Platinum Rule suggests that isn’t exactly right. They instead offer “treat others the way they’d like to be treated.” I have to admit I read some and skimmed most of this book. Great concepts, but I bet there’s a synopsis out there somewhere if the topic intrigues you.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
This was a pick by someone in my book club, and admittedly I didn’t think I would like it. It seemed to be set up as just a love story, but it’s much much more. This book taught me about some pieces of America’s history of which I didn’t know anything about before. It had me Googling and looking things up all through the book (in a good way, not in a what-the-hell-is-going-on kind of way).
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
I’ve had this book forever, and I had started it at some point, but never finished it. I am a Brene Brown fangirl so I can easily sing the praises of the book, but it felt like the most practical and easily broken-down of her works. And it gave me an idea for what I’d like my first tattoo to be, so I’d say it was pretty impactful.
The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron & Dave Logan
This was a book I read with my team at work. If you’re looking for something to rally your team to have clearer communication and some new tools for working together well, I’d highly suggest this.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’m a sucker for books about creativity, and this was a good one. She lost me at some points where she was, as my mother would say, “a little out there.” Overall, a great creativity igniter.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This one has been on my list for a while, but after listening to the song “The Life You Chose” by Jason Isbell which mentions the book, I decided to finally give it a go. As someone who struggles with depression, and who knows how Sylvia Plath ended her life, this was a bit of a tough read. Thinking about what care for mental health was in her time is tough enough, but she writes about it in exquisite detail. I read this pretty quickly as to not sit with it too long. Maybe I’ll revisit it someday.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Man, I love dystopian novels. This one had me hooked all the way through and afraid for what our future will look like. Side note: the book is better than the movie.
An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
Another work read, but another great one. Put people and their development first in your organization and everyone will benefit.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
I told you I love her. This was a re-read and it won’t be the last time I read it. A wonderful challenge and pep talk to be vulnerable and get in the arena.
The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
This was my first Book of the Month Club book. A great non-fiction book that reads like fiction. An interesting look at a man who lived as a hermit in the woods for way longer than I could ever hope to survive outside.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Everyone should read this book. If you are currently or have ever interacted with online dating especially. But, even for those of you who haven’t, this is a hysterical look at our current world when it comes to romance. There was a lot more research and interesting facts in here than I would have thought (sorry, Aziz, I thought you’d just write a funny book and I was wrong).
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
This book took me a while to really get into it. I read it on and off for a while, not really excited to pick it up and keep going. Once I hit about halfway I had fallen in love with the characters and couldn’t put it down.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I expected this just to be a sad book about someone writing during their last days, but what I got instead was a beautiful view of what life and death are. It’s a short read, and I probably powered through it too quickly to really absorb its true power, but I’d highly recommend it. And a box of tissues to go with it.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I held on to this book until a while after the movie came out, wanting to read it without the crowding of the bandwagon. A great read. Strayed is funny, wise, and open about her life.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Bruuuuuuuuuuce! Not only can the man sing, play guitar, and wear jeans incredibly well, he can write. It’s a long book, and he jumps around a bit in the beginning, but once you get into it, you’re in it. I listened to his albums exclusively for some of the periods I was reading it, and for a few days after I finished. And yes, I cried when he talked about meeting and working with Clarence. RIP.
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
A good book about family, tough times, and dealing with illness.
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This was a re-read. It’s a great book that’s a real look into life with depression. Part autobiography, part advice, and part comic relief, I revisit it often. A good read for all.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
A gift from my Secret Santa the previous Christmas, I wanted to read Wild first to learn a little more about Cheryl Strayed, but I loved this book. I don’t often read advice columns, but this was fun, informative, and helpful.
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
I just realized I read three books by goddess Brene last year. This one took me a little while to get on board with what she was saying, but there was a point in the middle where I had an “aha, I get what she’s saying now” and from there on it was smooth sailing (minus the gut punches of wanting to get my shit together ASAP…in the best way possible).
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
When this book first came out and there was a ton of hype I bought it, which is very unlike me. It then sat on my shelf for a while, which is very like me. It’s a good read to reframe the way you view “stuff.” I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to some things, and I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as tidy, so this was a good read for me. The principles are helpful, but my apartment still gets messy so I haven’t mastered it quite yet.
Artemis by Andy Weir
I loved The Martian so I’ve been waiting for this book for a while. I devoured and loved it.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
I’m torn with this book. I enjoyed the premise and characters, but it lost me in several places. I’m still confused and unsure about the ending as well.
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Yes, that Tom Hanks. He’s brilliant. I’m not usually one for short stories, but I really enjoyed this collection. There were a couple I abandoned mid-story as it didn’t really resonate with or hit me in any way.
Originals by Adam Grant
Watch his TED Talk here. That’s what inspired me to read his book. It’s a good look into how we should lean into our uniqueness and what it means to be an original.
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
As a Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fan, I knew I had to read her book someday. Loved it, and read it as quickly as possible with her voice in my head the whole time.
Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
I’ve been reading this book for many years. I pick it up, I quit. I start over, I stop. Finally, on a flight to San Francisco I knew it was time. Then I finished it a month and a half later. I wrote my senior thesis on Kerouac, but this wasn’t my favorite of his. I enjoyed the beginning, and I admire his writing, but I skimmed a good bit. Sorry, Jack. I still love you.
Night by Elie Wiesel
World War II and Holocaust literature fascinate me. Perhaps it’s because many good historical fiction books are written about this era, or because I still can’t wrap my head around such a devastating event. Reading this first-person, true perspective was heart-wrenching. He writes so beautifully and in deep detail that makes you sick and angry. It’s an important read.
So, there you have it. My 2017 in 30 books. Have you read any of these? Agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments! Also, I’m looking for suggestions of what to read in 2018, leave some ideas for me.