My favorite day at school when I was in the 4th grade was Tuesday. I would look forward all week to 10:15 am Tuesday morning because that was when my teacher would line us all up and march us to the small portable set up at the edge of the school – the library. It was small, but within its four walls held countless treasures just waiting to be discovered.
From the time I learned how to read (and speak English), my nose was stuck in a book. I would spend my lunch time scarfing down the cafeteria fare and then running to the library to return the books I finished and stock up for the weekend. Sometimes, I would check out the same books over and over because I loved them so much (The Dollhouse Murders and How To Be A Perfect Person In Just Three Days were two of them). By the time I was 14 years old, a used bookstore opened up about a mile from my parent’s restaurant. I would ride my bike there and help the owner, Michelle, shelve books in exchange for all the novels I could carry home in my pink bike basket. I hung out at that bookstore until I was 30 years old, going back to get a stack of books regularly long after I moved to a different city.
As life got in the way, my time to read whittled down to almost nil. There would be pockets when I would stay up most of the night to finish a book or arm myself with a few novels for a long flight, but I longed for the endless days of childhood when reading was considered schoolwork and getting good grades was my only job.
In August, after turning my nose up for years at it, I started listening to audio books. For the first time in my adult life (save a few weeks at a temp job when I was 20), I had to commute to work. The drive is 45 minutes each way and out of sheer boredom and desperation – because Orange County traffic – I ended up downloading a book I had been wanting to read, Steal the Show by Michael Port. I was able to finish it in a few days on my commute and I was hooked. In the last four months, I’ve been able to “read” (via Audible) 20+ books. I’ve even begun listening to audiobooks during my long run! I have a goal to finish 50+ books in 2017.
I’ve been updating my GoodReads account slowly, but below is a list of the ones I ended up reading LOVING (there were many that I did not enjoy and therefore did not finish – there are SO MANY books out there, I’m not wasting my time on the ones that don’t resonate with me). Though many were very good, here are the best nine books I read/listened to this year. I hope you find some gems among them as well.
**Note: Though I LOVE fiction novels and read quite a few the beginning of 2016, the books I’ve read recently are all non-fiction. I’ve been really trying to focus on spending more time learning and growing, hence all the self-help and memoirs.**
Best Nine Books of 2016
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero – This is the book I would write if I wrote a self-help book. Full of sassiness and appropriately placed F-bombs, this one will be read again, perhaps once a year!
My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman – Witty, entertaining and fun, even if you’re not a runner, this memoir was one of my top 3 favorites this year.
Living With A Seal by Jesse Itzler – Listened to this audiobook while running the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Not only did it get me through the 26.2 miles laughing out loud half the time, it motivated me to keep pushing and give 100% to my training and life after the marathon.
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly – A very interesting memoir about a little boy who was lost and adopted in another country. The book documents his journey finding his way back using his memory and Google Earth.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – THE BEST BOOK I READ (Listened to) ALL YEAR! This biography of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian who survived on a life raft at sea for 47 days only to be picked up by the Japanese and made a POW in WWII. Remarkable story.
Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang – This memoir is one man’s experiment in becoming rejection proof in 100 days. He steps out of his comfort zone each day to become more and more resilient to rejection. Kidlet loved this one, too!
Confessions of An Unlikely Runner Dana Ayers – This book was absolutely hilarious and mirrored my own journey in the running and OCR community. A quick read and so funny!
Man Hunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson – After visiting Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was assassinated, I became thoroughly engrossed in learning more about the capture of the man behind the murder of my favorite president (because I wrote an extensive report on him in the 5th grade). Fast paced, historical and learned a lot of new details about Lincoln’s assassination that I never learned in school.
Boston Bound by Elizabeth Clor – Of course I loved this book because my big 2017 goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon! Plus I love to read about triumph over adversity and have really been working on eradicating my own limiting beliefs.
Books I’m Currently Reading (January 2017)
I ended the year as I typically do, my nose stuck in a few books. I LOVE all of these so far. It’s shaping up to be a great reading year.
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes – If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal or just a fan of witty writing, this is a great book by the creator of the shows.
Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert – Liz Gilbert’s voice just soothes you into a place where you want to create in this book. Highly recommend the audio version.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield – A book that MUST BE read every year; a blueprint for life.
Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell – I’m almost done with this one and I’ve cried many tears (to the dismay of the early morning running crowd I pass on the boardwalk). I love the badass SEAL bravado that comes through the narrative and an accounting of some of the heroes and their amazing acts of bravery.
These last two, I’m actually reading the real book – like with pages and a binding.
Devil In The City By Erik Larson – a true story of a serial killer during the Chicago World Fair in the 1800’s. A little slow to start but maybe because I’m so used to audiobooks now.
Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferris – This is like a recipe book for the mind, body, and spirit. Love Tim Ferriss.
So, what books did you read/listen to this year? Which ones should I put on my ever growing to-be-read list?