An Unexpected Reading Journey

This year, like many years before, I made a resolution to read more. I’ve actually made good on this commitment this year, thanks to two things: setting a goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and putting my Seattle Public Library card to good use.

First of all, Goodreads is so rad for keeping track of what books I’ve read, and for seeing what my friends have read, suggested and what’s on their wish lists as well. I know Goodreads is like the oldest social network, but hey, at least we don’t have to see fake news or annoying political rants on there, right?

Second of all, look at my library card. Wouldn’t you want to get more use out of it too?

Jacob and I have amassed quite the personal library over the years, but I love the library for giving me exposure to books I wouldn’t normally buy. I’m no good at paying attention to bestseller lists or to what’s going on in the literary world, especially in fiction reads. Checking out books from the library has helped me read more fiction that isn’t Harry Potter-related than I have in years. Having a due date is great for putting that pressure I need to stick to a timeline. 

That said, here’s a super brief review of each of the books I’ve read since my last book post. I accidentally misjudged the wait times for holds on library books and checked out ten alone during the month of August. Ever the competitive ENTJ type, I had to try to read and conquer each and every one of them!

  1. The Art of Living - this is my coworker and good friend Taylor’s all-time favorite book, and now it’s one of mine. Similar to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations but MUCH easier to read, Epictetus’ The Art of Living has short quips and anecdotes for those who want to strive for virtue and good in their everyday life.
  2. Brave Enough - A great book of quotes you can read in 15 minutes, then leave on your nightstand or coffee table for any time you need some inspiration. I love Cheryl Strayed’s writing.
  3. The Sirens of Titan - I haven’t read Kurt Vonnegut in so long and this was like taking a long, weird, luxurious, science fiction bubble bath. Don’t recommend if you can’t have any fun with your imagination, or if thinking differently freaks you out.
  4. The Law of Divine Compensation - Marianne Williamson is a brilliant writer on love, and in this one, she applies her expertise to personal finance and knowing your worth. If you’ve read Return to Love, you’ll appreciate this.
  5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - This is probably my favorite read this year. I absorbed every bit of hopeless love, longing and nerdiness that plagued Oscar’s life. The culture weaved into each word is so rich. I highly recommend this one.
  6. Dot Complicated - Randi Zuckerberg’s first book is a great read if you’re looking for some tips on how to find balance in a social media-heavy world. 
  7. Leave Your Mark - I didn’t think Aliza Licht’s first book was for me, but I’m a big fan of how she harnessed the power of social media as the force behind @DKNYgirl (before DKNY killed off any personality it had :() so I read it. I’m so glad I did. What a great memoir, and a great reminder for any woman looking to make it in a field or discipline that’s unfamiliar to her. Read this and then go get it, girl.
  8. My Life on the Road - You already know Gloria Steinem’s life is fascinating, but her memoir magnifies that a hundred-fold. 
  9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami’s memoir about the impact of running on all aspects of his life was enough to get me running in the crisp fall weather. If anything, it’s a good motivating read for anyone who spends far too much time sitting down.
  10. The Little Book of Healthy Beauty - If you’re looking for some simple, easy ways to lead a healthier life, you’ll like this quick read by Dr. Pina LoGiudice!
  11. Barbarian Days - William Finnegan’s memoir is a dream for any surfer, surfing fan, or a fan of the Hawaiian islands and its surrounding waters.
  12. Becoming a Citizen Activist - Former Seattle City Council member Nick Licata wrote a 101 guide on how to be a louder voice for the causes you believe in. I highly recommend picking this up if you want to be more engaged in your community and country (especially following the elections) and you don’t know where to start. I was kindly gifted a copy by Sasquatch Books and will be gifting more copies to my friends and family this holiday season (and beyond!)
  13. The Girl on the Train - There are a lot of books I wanted to read before seeing the movie, and this was one of them. I couldn’t put it down but I have a hard time saying I liked it. It was suspenseful for sure, but the weak personalities of each of the females in this book (who were leading characters but all dependent on the men in their lives for literally every move they made.) 
  14. Tiny Beautiful Things - I read this in one sitting coming home from our London & Iceland trip. Cheryl Strayed will bring you to tears and then bring you to your knees with these select responses from her Dear Sugar advice column. Plenty of anecdotes from her own life give Cheryl the awareness and vulnerability she needs to give the rawest answers you never knew you needed to hear.
  15. The Joy Compass - This book was gifted to me by Alderbrook ahead of our media trip earlier this fall and I blazed through it. Simple and easy-to-read ways to find some joy and happiness in your life.
  16. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth - My coworker and friend Nicole loaned this to me after discovering Warsaw Shire through Beyonce’s work (of course.) It’s a super-short book of poems, but don’t let its brevity fool you. This will gut you and leave you thinking about it for days after reading.
  17. Finding Ultra - Rich Roll is a super human. Anyone who’s nuts enough to go from being dangerously unhealthy to running an Ultramarathon (twice) and THEN running an Ironman triathlon on five different Hawaiian islands over the span of a week - well that’s not normal. But it is inspiring. I gotta get back in the gym, damn. Listen to his podcast too, it’s great.
  18. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do - Need a little breather from post-election social media chaos? Here’s a book full of good, straightforward reminders of how to literally not lose your mind.

Stay up-to-date on what I’m reading over at Goodreads!