9 Books I read in 2017

One of my 2018 resolutions is to make time each month to read at least one new book- so a minimum of 12 books for the year! I love audiobooks and listen to them often while I'm at the studio or traveling, but my goal for this year is to read more tangible books cover-to-cover! 

In 2017, I read/listened to nine books. Business & Personal Growth still seems to be my very favorite genre of book.

I'll be 100% honest and say that I'm not really "into" immersing myself in fiction or anything non-reality. I would like to be the type of person who enjoys the escapism of seeing a movie, playing games, or reading fiction/fantasy, or going to themeparks. But I kind of dig reality and don't really love making time to escape from it. This makes me a terrible friend to have if you love seeing movies. 

My hubby is super imaginative, and most likely way more creative than I am. He loves fantasy novels, going to the movies, and getting into character for a boardgame. This year, I tried branch out of my personal-growth / non-fiction comfort zone a bit. I supplemented my usual genre with two fun thrillers for sheer entertainment, and my husband and I read three fiction books together that have movies based on them. This was a win for both of us, because it gave us time together to discuss the books (which I enjoyed doing) and there will be a movie afterwards for us both to go see (which he will enjoy doing).

Before I share my list of 12 books to read in 2018, here are my books from last year! Did you read any of these? If so I'd love to discuss in the comments :D

I've also included links to Amazon in case you'd like to read any of them also!

9 Books I Read in 2017:

1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

I really loved this book. We tend to place so much emphasis on talent and skill- while overlooking the staying power of determination and perseverance. This book gave me a lot to think about and was very inspirational.

"In this must-listen book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, students, and businesspeople - both seasoned and new - that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called "grit".

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur "genius" Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial, such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments."

©2016 Angela Duckworth (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

I would actually suggest reading this book immediately before or after the Grit book that I listed above. The two books pull from the same research and have a lot of overlapping themes, but the authors also some really thought-provoking differences in opinion.

In this book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

I really enjoyed this book. I've been trying very hard to embrace a more minimal mindset and lifestyle. Sometimes having too many things equates to having much mental clutter. Likewise, we're so overstimulated today that we often expend time and energy on things that aren't important, because it is easy to get distracted from the things that give our life meaning and value.

"The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter."

©2014 Greg McKeown (P)2014 Random House Audio

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

This book was amusingly written- and the veil of humor really makes it easy to digest the author's valid points about living a good and happy life!

"Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear."

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

This is a children's book that will soon be made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. I will be honest and say that this was just not my genre (although it might have been when I was a child). Since my hubby and I both read it, I am eager to discuss with him and maybe even go see the movie together!

"Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?"

6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This was another book that my husband and I read together. He had already read it once, but revisited it since he disliked it the first time. I think he enjoyed it more the second time, and I really enjoyed it. Plus, we were able to watch the movie together afterwards...which wasn't nearly as good. The book jumps around a lot in time-  which wasn't portrayed quite as well in the movie.

"EVERY DAY THE SAME. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"

7. Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

I enjoyed this fantasy book more than I expected to! I think what made it so fascinating to me is the setting of the futuristic world- where humans live, work, learn, and spend most of their time in a virtual reality. I thought there was a lot of eery foreshadowing to a future that may actually happen in reality. This book is soon to be a movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

"In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."

8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I fell so in love with this book and author (the next on my list is one of her's as well). This thriller-style fiction book was one of the first fiction books that I have eagerly devoured in years. My sister-in-law suggested this book to me and mentioned that there was a HBO series based on it too! The tv series was quite good, and had an amazing cast: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz.

"Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.

In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families. And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors."

9. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

I loved this thriller and how ordinary the characters tied to this terrible, tangled web of drama seemed to be. This author became my guilty-pleasure read over the year- as her books don't demand much of the reader but are highly enjoyable while reading them.

"Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive....

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's secret."

That's it for my 2017 book list. I'm excited to read more books in 2018 and to post my reading list on the blog soon. Do you have any recommendations for me? I'd love to hear some of your favorite books, new suggested books, and especially any reads that fall into my beloved "personal growth" genre! Comment below!

 


2 comments

  • Beth- thank you SO much for your comment! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one unimpressed by Wrinkle in Time- you and your 12 year old have made me feel better about that! lol So excited to read The Power of Habit :D Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    Megan Connelley
  • I love reading list goals!
    Last year I started branching out in the other direction, from lots of fiction to more non-fiction. If it’s fiction, I like it meaty & often historical.
    I have read 2 from your list:
    A Wrinkle I’m Time – I know it’s a favorite of many, but it did nothing for me. My twelve year old didn’t think much of it either. And I don’t plan to read any further in the series.
    The Husband’s Secret – I loved that the secret wasn’t painfully obvious. The cover makes you think you know what’s up, but your guess is way off! I was surprised by how much I liked it.

    Ok do have a recommendation, especially since you like non-fiction:
    The Power of Habit
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/081298160X/ref=mp_s_a_1_2_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516069936&sr=8-2&keywords=power+of+habit
    Everyone I have recommended this to has liked it!

    Happy 2018

    Beth

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