I started the year out with a goal of reading 52 books in 2018. While I am bummed I did not hit 52, I did read 41 and I can’t be mad about it. I would never have read that many if I did not set a goal to begin with! (I will share my full list on another post!)
Reading is a passion of mine and I am obsessed with getting lost in a good book. Ever since I was little I remember falling in love with fictional characters, story lines and allowing my imagination to run wild as I read though words on pages. It’s become tricky to make the time nowadays, but this is the year of #noexcuses.
I went to school for many years to become an English teacher and I honestly wonder how many books I read through my 4 years in undergrad and then a few more as I completed my Master’s Degree. I didn’t read many books for pleasure during those years, but I did read some great books!
Out of the 41 books, I chose these 10 as my “WOW” books. These are books I think of often, connected with, learned something and really just had a great vibe with. As you can tell, I read all types of genres! I really want to up my memoir game, so if there are any you’d recommend, let me know. I love me some professional development and typically listen to the audiobook version. Hands down, my favorite way to read is an actual hardcover book, but I do use my phone/iPad with the Kindle app, Audible and Overdrive apps too.
My top 10:
Braving the Wilderness
I do appreciate Brené Brown’s books. She puts forth a lot of research and shares her thoughts unapologetically. This book was really worth the read, especially if you’re someone who struggles with the past election. She talks about how we can all be different, have different viewpoints, but we must stop attacking each other. While I am not here to debate whether our president is a good fit, she makes some valid points about how we should act. If you get offended over mockery of Hillary Clinton, then as a HUMAN you should get offended over mockery of Donald Trump. I had a photo I thought about sharing, of a bunch of Women marching, with signs of genitals and horrible things said about Republican women and such. It proves Brown’s point of how is that acceptable? What are we teaching our daughters by tearing down other people simply on their political views? My favorite quote from this book, “Stop looking for ways you’re not belonging.” Wow. So true!! If you look for it, you will find it.
Wow. This memoir is so beautifully written and Tara endured a life that doesn’t even seem like it could have happened–but it did. She didn’t receive any formal education until the age of 17. Can you fathom? The way her father controlled her and her brothers and sisters as well as her mother, was so bizarre and yet from Tara’s point of view, as the reader you can empathize with why and how this family lived (ie. Mormon survivalists) Her will power and perseverance is undoubtedly some of the strongest I’ve encountered. It has some hard to read moments, but at the same time is absolutely worth every page flip. Tara is an extremely talented writer and the literary elements are beyond expectations. If you are a lover of words and language, she strings sentences together so beautifully to tell her story.
The Wisdom of Sundays
If you love Oprah and her courage, optimism and voice, get the audio version of this book! There are many little interviews from other amazing people, authors with their spiritual lessons. I will most likely listen to parts of this book again this year. (You will find other books to read from these authors!) We only get one life and Oprah helps us uncover how to live our best lives and feel everything along the way. Our spiritual connection with other humans and purposes is one that will elevate us to the next level.
Little Fires Everywhere
Get ready for a book hangover with this book! It’s so wonderfully written–this story and its characters will stick with you for awhile. This coming of age story, intermixed with interesting topics of adoption– is motherhood more about blood relation or is is the bond of love? You will be turning each page in anticipation to see where the story leads and will not be disappointed.
The Last Mrs Parrish
Coming off of The Wife Between Us I had a total book hangover. I wanted to call the characters and see what was going on. I didn’t think this next book could hold a candle to it as far as keeping my attention or desire to read another book right away. Boy was I wrong!! I read this one probably even faster?! It had such great detail, and right away your instincts and detective skills are trying to figure out what this main character is up to and what is really going on. You love to hate some of these people and you really develop a desire to know how it will all unfold. It will keep you up reading til midnight. I loved how the book ended, and while I won’t give it away, I will say it was a little over the top…but in a good way. Sometimes what seems perfectly perfect, may not be so perfect after all. Definitely a must read in 2018!
Where the Crawdads Sing
This was one of my last novels of 2018 and it was a quick listen! I could not put it down. I fell in love with the main character and felt for her every step of the way. Basically abandoned at her home in Marsh, Kya’s tale of survival and success is so beautifully told. You’ll empathize with her in more ways than one and I promise that it’s totally worth reading until the very last sentence! You’ll love some characters and despise others; I recommend finding a reading buddy to chat about what happens.
Small Great Things
This is one of my first Jody Picoult books and wow. Just wow! I listened to it over the Summer when we were in the South taking in all the history, so it truly was a perfectly timed read for me. It delves into the topics of White Supremacy and racial issues; an African American nurse is refused by a white couple to deliver their baby, and the baby dies shortly after birth. This story was well researched and beautifully told. It gives insight as to how or why people act, say and do things they do. I’m for sure not saying that they are right, but you only know, what you only know–and this book is a must read for everyone. I absolutely loved listening to this book.
Girl Wash Your Face
Ah, Rachel Hollis. I could and should devote an entire blog post or two to her. She’s a firecracker for sure and lays it ALL on the line. She tells ya how it is, like it or not, take it or leave it. In my humble opinion, those that resonate with her, are like her. Real, honest, raw & truth-seekers. Those that continue to attack her, her Christian faith, her ideals, morals, her choice in running an empire and the ways she mothers, really blow my mind, but like I said, another blog post. The book itself helps out women at any age re-discover that yes, her happiness matters. Yes, it’s okay to put ourselves first as moms and wives. It’s okay to want to work and build an empire–she almost gives permission to go out and fail, live out your dreams, no matter what the age. My mother gained a ton from reading this book, friends of mine have and clearly I am huge Rachel Hollis fan girl. If you are questioning your life’s purpose, self worth or what the hell am I even doing? Read her book. She talks to you like a friend and spills a lot of her soul; you may just find out that yes sister, you were indeed made for more.
Think your Way to Wealth
Throwing in some good stuff here. This old school book would get some feminist panties in a bunch I tell ya! Haha. I love Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the “O.G.” as my husband calls it. This is his interview with Andrew Carnegie so there are a lot of simialr themes throughout this book, but told slightly different. I 100% agree with some of his philosophies on how to make money, stay wealthy and the steps along the way to get there. One of my favorite quotes from the book was, “Idle Minds tend to develop ailing bodies.” Whoa, ain’t that the truth! If you surround yourself by garbage and feed your brain nothing but crazy, your body will probably fail you earlier than if you are constantly re-inventing yourself, becoming a better you each and every day. So often I see people play the victim and sit back and give every excuse in the book as to why he’s not better, richer, smarter, more in shape, whatever. Either you want it, or you don’t. “Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Emerson, from this book.
The Wife Between Us
It’s been awhile since a book has really held my attention and made me devour it in a sitting or two. This book did exactly that!! I couldn’t tell who was who, what was really happening, who was the crazy one?! It had so many twists and turns, that it kind of did feel a little loose at the ending. I won’t give anything away, but I am still left with questions…that are unanswered and that always annoys me! However, this book was JUST what I needed to get back into the reading saddle. I despised some characters, felt sorry for some, and really was thrown off by a few things that came up. There was some bothersome subject matter, but overall this book kicked off our book club and if you like Gone Girl type books, I’d say totally pick this one up or at least at it to your TBR pile.