In late 2016 I set a goal to read a number of books. I’ll be honest, I fell very short of this goal. While I read a good amount, I didn’t read many of the books on my original list. Oops. I did read Hillbilly Elegy and tried to read Victoria: A Novel of a Young Queen. I enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy, but I could not get into Victoria. (The PBS show however? Love it!). So, from the other books I read this year, here are my top five recommendations:
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
I reread The Alchemist this year. I first read it almost 10 years ago when I was studying abroad in Italy. I was underlining so much in this book that it’s hard to pick one main takeaway. However, I think this quote is a huge takeaway for me: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert
Do you need a creative boost? I definitely did (and still do) this year. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was a quick read, but I learned some big lessons from it. For Gilbert, “creative living” means “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” In today’s world it’s hard not to be fearful. We hear so much about the negative in the world that it’s hard to see the positive, let alone set out on a path unlike others. According to Gilbert, “creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognize the distinction. Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.” While a healthy fear is necessary, it shouldn’t dictate your life. Big Magic is a perfect read for anyone thinking they’re not creative or never could be.
Wait and See - Wendy Pope
Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans by Wendy Pope is a must-read for anything feeling like they’re in a season of waiting. From the beginning, Pope writes like your best friend who has been there (wherever there is for you) before; and it’s because she has. Within the first few pages, Pope writes “Waiting is inevitable. Waiting with hope and courage is optional.”
You are a Bada** - Jen Sincero
Continuing with the non-fiction trend, I read You are a Bada**: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. The follow-up to this book, You are a Bada** at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth has been on my “must read” list since finishing Sincero’s first book! In general, this book will make you feel like you can conquer the world. Or at least your little slice of it. Again, I underlined constantly while reading this book. In a nutshell, You are a Bada** is “about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can’t have it...You need to go from wanting to change your life to deciding to change your life.” Y’all. What a breakthrough.
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware
One of the few fiction novels I read, The Woman in Cabin 10 was a quick suspenseful read that I would highly recommend. The Woman in Cabin 10 takes place on a luxury small ship that has set sail on its first journey, and the pace of the story keeps the reader interested throughout the entire novel.
In 2016 I kept a list of all the books I read. I didn’t do this in 2017, and I missed it! So in 2018 I plan to keep a list again of all the books I read. What books were your favorites in 2017? What do you still hope to read?