At the end of 2017 I decided to make a list of all the books I had read that year. (Here’s last year’s post) It wasn’t really about the quantity, but I wanted to see how much I’d grown in the past year, and books were a great way to measure that! Now, 2018 has ended, and I’m doing it again. Here’s what I read last year and which ones I would recommend reading!
(This is usually a short category since I don’t like hauling physical books around)
- Big Ernie’s New Home: A Story for Children Who Are Moving by Whitney Martin
- This book was more for my daughter, but I’m including it because it was very helpful when we relocated this last summer! The book is an adorable story of a cat who moves with his boy across the country. We didn’t move that far, but it was helpful for explaining to our 3 year old what was happening. She adjusted very well to the move!
- How to Sit (Mindfulness Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh
- I am almost done with this book. I’ve been very slowly working my way through it as part of my meditation practice. It’s an excellent beginner’s guide to meditation. I love any book by Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Another Thich Nhat Hanh to aid my meditation practice. I’m also not quite done reading this one. This is a beautiful side by side of Buddhism and Christianity. I found it helpful to meditate on the similarities and differences and consider how my own spiritual community and practice were influencing the direction of my life.
- Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- I read this book for a book club I’m in. I didn’t make it all the way through, but it is an excellent book! It really helped me reframe the way I am telling my story. It’s easy to show the “before” and the “after” of our successes, but it’s harder to tell the nitty gritty middle part. But it’s that middle part where the transformation actually happens.
- Burn Your Goals: The Counter Cultural Approach to Achieving your Greatest Potential by Joshua Medcalf
- Excellent read! After listening to “Chop Wood, Carry Water” by Joshua Medcalf, this was an excellent follow up. He goes much more in depth into why traditional “SMART goal setting” is not very helpful.
- The Baby Decision: How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life by Merle Bombardieri MSW LICSW
- We already have a child, so obviously this wasn’t a huge deal for us to read. But I read this together with my husband as we considered when/if we were going to have another. I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about this question! The thought exercises were fantastic and contains a lot of really helpful reality checks for anyone considering having (or not having) a child.
- One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One by Lauren Sandler
- To follow the baby book, I picked this one up as we considered the fact that we weren’t ready to have another child anytime soon. Our daughter is 3 now, and by all definitions is an only child. This book was a refreshing and captivating presentation of all the research on only children, as well as the author’s personal experiences as an only child and raising one herself. It really showed me how many biases I had against only children and why I was afraid to have only one. The research she presents is excellent and really shows the up-sides to being and having an only.
- Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only by Susan Newman
- Last parenting book, I promise. After reading about only children, I wanted to know more about how to be a good parent to one. So I picked this one up. The beginning of the book rehashes all the research I read about in the previous book, but it was still excellent information to read. The parenting tips were great, however, I did realize part way through that parenting an only child is not that different from parenting children in general. There are only slight differences and some pitfalls to be aware of.
- Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis
- I read this for my book club. I’ve read lots of other books by Lewis, but this one was new. It’s a bit thick, but if you enjoy philosophy and theology it is pretty fascinating. It is basically Lewis’ memoirs about his journey to becoming a Christian. There were points in the story I found really beautiful, but there were other points I wanted to throw the book into a river. For various reasons.
- Know Your Why: Finding and Fulfilling Your Calling in Life by Ken Costa
- I would call this a heavily religious self-help book. Whether that sounds good or bad is up to personal interpretation! I haven’t finished this book yet. It is extremely thought provoking so I find myself reading a few pages at a time and then meditating on them for awhile. It’s slow going because of that. I like how he strikes a balance between “God’s will for you” and “you decide your future”. He gets it right, in my opinion. That being said… there are a lot of Bible verses. Again, you might like that, you might not.
- Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J. R. R. Tolkien by Janet Brennan Croft (and various other authors)
- When I found this book I wanted to squeal with delight. I am obsessed with Tolkien’s female characters, so I was ecstatic to find a collection of scholarly articles analyzing them. Yes, this is very very nerdy stuff. But come on… philosophy, feminism, mythology, fantasy… somebody get me a bucket of ice water. I’m not done reading it yet, but the nice thing is that it is a collection of articles by different authors, so it’s easy to pick it up and set it down for awhile.
- Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out–and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield
- If there is a book that EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ, this is it. I started reading this in mid-December, not quite done yet, but it single-handedly prevented me from making yet another stupid New Year’s resolution to lose weight. If you have ever struggled to lose weight or feel good about your body, read this ASAP. I also follow Rebecca on Instagram and she’s amazing!
- The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know about Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Dissing Sandahl
- Oops. There was another parenting book. I forgot about this one! My husband and I listened to this entire book on a road trip last year! Fantastic parenting book. Really takes the guilt off.
- Tropic of Serpents: Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 2 by Marie Brennan
- If you haven’t noticed, I don’t read much fiction, and it’s because I’m extremely picky. This series though…AGH! AMAZING. I listened to the first book at the end of 2017. And I devoured the rest of them in 2018. This series is like Jane Austen with dragons. I mean… come on…
- Chop Wood, Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great by Joshua Medcalf
- I mentioned this book earlier. I listened to this before picking up “Burn your Goals” by Medcalf. This book sucks you in like no other motivational book out there. It’s written as a story about a guy who is training to be a samurai and his sensei tells him a bunch of parables about becoming great. This book changed my life and the way I set my business goals.
- Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by Fr. James Martin
- I was definitely attempting to read more spiritual books in 2018. This one I only made it halfway through. It’s quite long. I may pick it up again. I really enjoy Fr. Martin, but this book was a little more heavily theological than I was expecting.
- Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr. James Martin
- I did finish this book by Fr. Martin. It is excellent, succinct, and very thought provoking. I didn’t agree with everything in his conclusions, but it is an excellent read on the topic.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- On a much less reverent note, this book was f*cking awesome. Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the title, the book is very introspective and philosophical in nature. I really enjoyed reading it. Mark Manson is very entertaining and this book made me think hard about what I am prioritizing in my life.
- How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism by Steven Guise
- This was the perfect follow up to Mark Manson’s book. Steven Guise outlines what Perfectionism actually is, and how it is not a good thing. I suffer from perfectionist tendencies and it has really held me back from accomplishing what I want with my life. Guise’s “mini habits” solution has been a life saver for me, both in my personal life and in my business.
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Yassssss. Tina Fey <3. This book is her memoir and life story. It’s hilariously entertaining and yet it also addresses some pretty hard truths all at the same time. A great break from all the “self help” books I had been listening to.
- The Surrender Experiment: My journey into life’s perfection by Michael A. Singer
- I listened to this for my book club. A fascinating story of a hippie Buddhist who also started a major tech company. I really don’t know what else to say about it… haha. That is pretty much it. He does get slightly annoying because you wonder why you don’t hear more about what goes wrong in his life. He’s a little too “perfect”. But maybe that’s part of the message? It’s thought provoking to say the least. We had a good discussion about it in the book club.
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
- I only made it 2 hrs into this book. I needed to stop. By this point in the year I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed by “self improvement” and I needed a break. However, I do highly recommend this book. Rachel is very engaging, hilarious, honest, and real. She addresses issues that every woman struggles with, and she has helped thousands of women get off their butts and do amazing things with their lives. The best thing I heard from her was “Stop breaking promises you make to yourself”.
- The More of Less by Joshua Becker
- Excellent minimalist read. Joshua Becker is pretty religious, but he has great advice for getting started with minimalism and his story is really beautiful.
- The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay
- Another fantastic beginner’s guide to minimizing. She does not pull any punches. My favorite part about this book is her Minimalist Philosophy section where she goes over the mindset behind minimalism.
And that’s all folks! Whew! Lots of reading in 2018. Lot’s of struggle and growth (which are the same thing!) What was your favorite book you read in 2018? I’d love to add it to my wishlist for 2019!