My favorite books of 2015
A few years ago I read the book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom. Here’s the gist - (and I paraphrase because it was forever ago); put down the smut, it’s making you stupid and you should read more books. Make the time. Carve out the time. Read more. Read anything. Read everything. Hire help so you can read more.
So this is what I did. I read all the time. I read at work. I read and write and edit all day long. When I’m not reading for work, I read for fun. With the exception of Gray’s Anatomy, House Hunters International and whatever documentary is on Netflix – I don’t watch TV.
A good friend of mine had a goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks this year (she did it!). When I heard about this I got curious how many books I plowed through this year. Thanks to Goodreads, my library account, Amazon and Audible, compiling my list was pretty easy.
I’m reluctantly sharing my list with you today.
I say reluctantly because there’s a shit-ton (approximation) of self-help books in here (and one really, really dirty one) - I mean my first thought is what the fuck…why am I reading so much self-help?
But my second thought, and the one I’m running with, is whatever – I’m better and smarter than I was last year, and I’m winning at life, so I don’t care about what anyone thinks.
Also, at least half of my reading is in the form of audio books. Love love love Audible.com. I listen in the car during the two hours I spend sitting in it each day. I’m totally not complaining either – LOVE my car time. No kids, quiet, a good book streaming in my ear. I take the slow lane on purpose.
I also started a dozen or so books that I didn't finish. Life is too short to waste time on books that don't light your fire - these aren't listed here.
For fun, I’ve separated them into categories you won’t find at any bookstore, and included what I’d say if I was handing you this book. (There’s also a whole lotta affiliate links in here. That means if you click a link that takes you to Amazon, and you end up buying something. I get like .08 cents to go towards…more books!)
Enjoy. I hope you find a few good reads here.
Books I’d shove in your face if you came over for dinner, saying, “You have to read this!”
- Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes – This book was so fun, so many AHA moments, and I hear Shonda coming through in all her characters. Definitely listen to this on audio!
- Yes Please, Amy Poehler – You need to listen to this book.
- Rousey: My Fight / Your Fight, Ronda Rousey – holy shit, I’m the biggest wuss in the world, I’m never complaining again.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert – she says it’s cool for you to draw a penis on the wall if that’s what you want to do. Go draw a penis.
- Rising Strong, Brené Brown – Love me some Brené, with her fancy accent aigu in her name. My favorite of all her books. AHAs all over the place.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo – Throw all your crap out and improve your life x1000.
- Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage, Stan Beecham – If you have kids, or are a coach you need to read this. Or if you just want to be the best.
- MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, Tony Robbins – If you can get past the infomercial title – money talk just scratches the surface. This is also a self-help book.
- Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, Todd Henry – Do you want to die with your best work stuck inside of you like a big green snot?
- The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, Elle Luna – Disclaimer: you might quit your job after reading. I’m not responsible.
- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Amanda Palmer - Definitely audio this. Even if her music is not your jam (it’s not mine), you’ll laugh and cry – and just take the fucking donut.
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, Eckhart Tolle – Not for the woo woo faint of heart. You’ll say, “WTF” to yourself at least a dozen times. This is my FOURTH time listening to this book, and I’ll definitely listen again.
- The Writer's Life: Insights from The Right to Write, Julia Cameron – It’s time for me to stop reading about writing and just write already.
- Priest: A Love Story, Sierra Simone – Don’t tell anyone I gave this to you. It’s dirty dirty dirty! If you grew up Catholic, this book might have a special place in your,…. er…heart.
Fiction books – (yes this is a tiny list, but mighty)
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles – Fun and fancy.
- Ready Player One, Ernest Cline – I don’t like video games but was in love with this book.
- The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion - Charming and so so funny!
Books you’ll find in my bathroom. One page at a time.
- The Grammar Devotional, Mignon Fogarty – Write gooder.
- Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose, Gabrielle Bernstein – I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks.
- Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion, Pema Chodron – Time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Other books I enjoyed and will gladly hand over to you.
- The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, Kelly McGonigal – It doesn’t need to be hard.
- Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink – The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.
- Transformational Speaking, Gail Larsen – Learn to speak gooder.
- Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, Pamela Slim – What’s the common thread of all this work?
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin – Stop trying to be like everyone else.
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely – YES! We’re all irrational!
- Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, Bo Burlingham – Some big ass companies doing cool shit.
- Out of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn't Work and What Will, Shefali Tsabary – So what’s the natural consequence for not doing your homework? You’ll also stop reading parenting books after this.
- Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, Marc Lesser – Title says it all. Simplicity is sexy.
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Anne Handley – If you write stuff – read this.
- Homeschooling Essentials: A Practical Guide to Getting Started, Dianna Broughton – We considered homeschooling. Then realized I'd have to be with the kids all day.
- Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Tom Robbins – Weird and wonderful.
- Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, Rolf Potts – I’m selling all my shit to travel the world. Bye.
- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp – Keep making stuff.
- Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis – My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.
- The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of "Enough", Julia Cameron – I’m rich.
- How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, Anne Berest – I’m moving to Paris – for real this time.
- Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers, David Perlmutter – This just makes me feel better for going gluten-free. Apparently I’m smarter – do you think so?
- The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Olivia Fox Cabane – Maybe she’s not born with it.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain – This open space office isn’t working for me. I’ll be in the corner, with headphones on, pretending to be really, really busy.
When I wasn’t reading this year, I was writing. I wouldn’t have written this if I didn’t read so much.
Finally, my little book: Unfussy Mom: simplifying your life, staying [mostly] sane and working like a boss, by ME – Read this one on the toilet. Then get your spanxed ass to work, you’re going to be late.