Since I set a goal of reading 24 books in 2014 and hit 30, I set a goal of 30 books for 2015… and ended the year at 44!
I’ve changed a few things about the way I read, which I think has enabled me to read more every year (it also helps that my kids are getting older and are less needy): 1) I prioritize it more and usually get in at least a half hour of reading every afternoon during nap time, 2) I abandon books I don’t like instead of trying to power through, 3) I have multiple books going at once so I can pick up whatever genre I’m in the mood for, and 4) I keep a running to-read list that I constantly request from the library, so I always have new ones to pick up.
Out of the 44 I finished this year, here are my top 10 choices for the year, in no particular order…
- All the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam. I went on a Vanderkam reading spree over the last year, completing 4 of her books. This and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think were my favorites, and both really challenge the beliefs that many of us hold about time and money. Highly recommended reading! I’m not exaggerating when I say that Laura Vanderkam has changed the way I work, spend time and money, and even parent.
- The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. I took copious notes from this book! I also have to give credit to Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Both books had similar topics and were both very well-written and thought-provoking.
- Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. I pretty much cried through this whole book – it gives such a moving account of Katie’s decision to move from her comfortable life in Nashville to Uganda and minister to some of the most desperate and poor people on the earth, including adopting 13 little girls as her own.
- Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I don’t read a whole lot of fiction, but this is one of the BEST books I have read in a long time. I recommend it to everyone! By the end, I had fallen in love with the main characters myself.
- Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth. I devoured this book at the beginning of the year, and what I really enjoyed most was reading about the power of story-telling in our lives.
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I wasn’t quite sure what this book was about when I opened it, but I thought it was fascinating. It focuses on the fields of medicine, architecture and aviation to make the argument that a simple thing like a checklist can be extremely vital in saving time and saving lives, especially in emergency situations.
- The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. I loved this so much that after I read the library’s copy, I bought one for myself. Ripley follows U.S. exchange students in education superpowers South Korea, Finland and Poland and details the educational careers and methods of children in those countries as compared to the United States, from classroom expectations, emphasis on sports (or lack thereof, in other countries) and the quality of teachers.
- The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I can honestly say that this book has completely changed the way I interact with and engage with my family members – not only my husband but my kids, other family members and even some of my best friends. Knowing what someone’s love language is has been immensely helpful to being able to connect best with them.
- Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline. I typically enjoy historical fiction, and this did not disappoint. By the end, my heart was practically aching for the main character!
- I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. It was Bob Goff who said “nothing scares a terrorist more than an educated girl.” I think this book is a must-read for all female teens! Malala gives a fascinating history about her home country of Pakistan, including the take-over by the Taliban, and details her harrowing experience of being targeted and eventually shot by Taliban members for advocating for the education of girls.
Any other books I need to add to my to-read list for 2016? What were some of your favorite reads last year?
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