I’ve always enjoyed reading and view it as both a hobby and a way to improve my own writing. However, after focusing much of last year on personal growth and development, I’m working to become more intentional in my reading choices. In the past, I’ve reviewed books I have already read and shared my personal thoughts about the character development, storyline, etc. With a focus on more intentional reading, for this post I’ve decided to share my list of must-read books for 2018.
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
by Jen Sincero
I actually starting listening to this on audiobook at the recommendation of a good friend and health coach. This meant that I was usually listening in my car and often found myself wishing I could take notes on key points. For example: one chapter talked about ways to love your life more and how selflessly giving to others is one way to work toward this. As someone who constantly seeks out opportunities to help others, this was something that really struck a chord with me. Instead of finishing the audiobook, I ended up buying the paperback version so I can read with a highlighter in hand and mark up my favorite sections!
We’re Going to Need More Wine
by Gabrielle Union
The more I have learned about Gabrielle Union in recent years, the more I am inspired by her. I never knew much about her outside of her career as an actress and her relationship with NBA player Dwyane Wade. However, she is so much more than these two things. Having been sexually assaulted herself, she is an advocate for survivors of assault. She is an Ambassador in Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Circle of Promise and a voice on social media speaking out against racial injustice. She believes it is her responsibility as someone with a platform to stand up for those who can’t. These are all causes very dear to my heart for different reasons and I can’t wait to read her memoir and get more insight into someone so inspirational to me.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
by Lysa TerKeurst
Insecurity and rejection are things I think we all deal with on some level, whether we choose to admit it or not. Our histories and personal experiences have a profound effect on how deeply we feel them or how much they impact our lives and relationships. I am very much an empath and also have a tendency to take things too personally. This book intrigued me and I can’t wait to dig in a bit deeper. Note: the author speaks a lot about her faith in God throughout and how she uses this to overcome her feelings of insecurity and rejection. If that isn’t part of your belief system, this probably isn’t the book for you.
Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together
by Van Jones
The last year has been a very interesting one politically, no matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself leaning toward. I think we can all agree that when it comes to politics, we are more divided than ever. Families have taken sides, friends have cut each other off, and wars have been fought on social media. This book focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of both political parties while attempting to find ways to bring people back together for the common good. I’m fascinated by the idea because I believe healing can only begin if we are willing to respectfully listen to each other for understanding, not for the purpose of arguing or persuading.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
by Mark Manson
I will admit, I care way too much about what other people think. I wish I didn’t but I haven’t quite figured out how to take back the power over me I’ve given them. I’m slowly learning to not let my fear of what people might think of me keep me from going after things I really want. I think this book will be a no nonsense, no excuses, no holds barred offset to the less gritty (less profanity-laced) book by Jen Sincero above.
Bonus: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg
This is an older book so many of you may have read it, which is why I listed it as a bonus. The CEO of my organization recently read this book and discussed it with us at one of our all staff meetings. Not only is he a male recommending (and reading) a book targeted toward woman in leadership, but he is possibly the most inspirational and influential leader I’ve had the opportunity to work for. I have so much respect for the way he leads and the way he treats our entire staff, from top to bottom. If he’s recommending it, I’m reading it.
Have you read any of these books yet? What is on your reading list for 2018?
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own.
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. As someone who loves to write myself, I love seeing a story told through another person’s point of view and being transported to a different place and time. Having lived in multiple states, I have spent more than my fair share of time in airports. For a time, it was sort of a tradition to head straight for the airport newsstand directly from the security checkpoint. I would peruse through the floor to ceiling bookshelves, looking for the perfect read. Sometimes it was the title that drew me in; sometimes it was the cover. I’ve discovered some of my favorite authors through this ritual and actually found myself looking forward to time spent waiting to board a flight.
However, most of my travel these days is between Saint Paul and Chicago. Although I am originally a Wisco girl, I also consider these two cities home and often find myself planning last minute trips from the Twins Cities to the Windy City. Since they do tend to be more spontaneous with ever changing schedules, I find myself driving more than flying these days, which lends little time to travel reading. As fate would have it, my last trip was temporarily derailed by a blown tire and I found myself with an extended amount of time on my hands while waiting for the repairs that would set me back out on my journey. I found myself once again scanning titles and covers, searching for the perfect book to salvage this setback. Although my choices were much more limited than at the airport newsstand, it didn’t take me long to settle on The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.
The Good Girl is the story of Mia Dennett, a young woman from a wealthy family who rejects and resents everything they stand for. The story starts in her family’s English Tudor home in a suburb along Chicago’s North Shore. Mia’s mother Eve answers the phone to find Mia’s friend Ayanna on the other end of the line. Mia hasn’t shown up for work and she’s not answering her phone. With the help of Detective Gabe Hoffman, it is soon discovered that Mia was supposed to meet her boyfriend at a bar but he never showed. She soon finds herself leaving with a stranger and disappears without a trace…
The Good Girl is one of the most riveting books I’ve read in a while and here’s why:
Although Mia is the main character, the story is told almost entirely in first person accounts of her mother, the detective, and the stranger she met at the bar the last night anyone sees her. Through their stories, we get to know a more complete version of Mia and who she was. Each of these characters is less than perfect but you grow to care about them, root for them, and through them, care more about Mia.
I didn’t know it when I chose the book but the entire thing takes place in Chicagoland and northern Minnesota. The author does an incredible job of describing both the bitter cold and yet, the beauty of Northern Minnesota, something only Minnesotans can truly appreciate. If you aren’t from the Midwest, Kubica does a great job of taking you there. In turn, her small but important details of Mia’s Uptown neighborhood and the Dennetts’ wealthy community make me feel as if I’m back in Chicago with them (which I actually was for half the book).
Alternating between past and present accounts of three different characters, this story could have been a confusing mess. However, Kubica does a masterful job of weaving the stories together in a way that tells Mia’s story in, not only chronological order, but a way that makes perfect sense. By the end, you completely understand why the characters made the choices they did and how they ended up where they are.
At just over 400 pages, this book is a long read but I found myself devouring most of it in three sittings. The chapters are short, most under 6-8 pages, which kept me wanting to know more. At the end of each narrative, I found myself saying one more, just one more, then just one more…
Because of work, I find myself with less time to read lately and I was less than thrilled to have a five hour setback on my way to Chicago. This psychological thriller was definitely the silver lining.
What are your favorite thrillers? Have you stumbled upon any books recently you just couldn’t put down?