Right before the start of 2016, I committed to having a better reading year—a year in which I take the time I need to soak in stories and escape from daily life. So far, I’m happy to say that I’ve done that. Work will always be there, but I read more research every day that shows how critical leisure is to making us productive and happy. I just came across this great infographic of the daily habits of some of the most creative people in history. The majority of their days were spent on sleep, creative pursuits, and food/leisure. A lesson to learn from, for sure!
So how am I doing in 2016? Here’s what I’ve read so far this year, and the categories they fill on my 2016 Reading Challenge:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Category: A classic I’ve read before
When I first read this book in 7th grade, I hated it. But I also hated peanut butter and avocados and many other amazing things that I now love—so clearly the problem was just my immature tastes back then. Unsurprisingly, I loved it this time around! It was a perfect way to start the year, reflecting on the prejudices that still surround us and how we can all be a bit more like Atticus.
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Category: A book I’ve never read by a favorite author
The Dovekeepers has been one of my favorite books since I first read it, and I’ve been anxious to try another Hoffman title. This one didn’t enthrall me like the first one did, but I still enjoyed this story of one family’s legacy. Hoffman writes breathtakingly complex female characters.
Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg
Category: A book from my Goodreads To-Read list
Editors have few well known heroes to revere—but Max Perkins is it. Perkins was the editor who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, among others. He’s not just the editor of genius; he’s a genius himself. This book was just made into a movie, Genius, starring Colin Firth as Max Perkins and Jude Law as Thomas Wolfe. I’m seeing it today!!
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Category: A book I’ve been dying to read (and a book I’ve never read by a favorite author)
This book had been on my list for a while, since I loved The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. The narrative style isn’t what I’m used to—told almost as a fairy tale, rather than the 1st person dramas I usually go for. But it was a nice change of pace. There were many lessons you could take away from this book, but what made the biggest impression on me was the central characters’ devotion to each other.
Rising Strong: The Reckoning, the Rumble, the Revolution by Brené Brown
Category: A self-help book
Many of you know that I’m a HUGE Brené Brown fan. I tell everyone and their mom to read her. I lend out my copies all the time. In Brené’s previous book, Daring Greatly, she talks about how to be vulnerable and take responsible risks. The problem is… sometimes you take risks and you still land flat on your face. This new book talks about how wholehearted people wrestle with their failings and get back up again.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (review coming soon)
Category: Another book I’ve never read by a favorite author
After reading How to Be Good, A Long Way Down, and Funny Girl, I had high hopes for High Fidelity. But it just didn’t do it for me… I found the main character completely unrelatable. I rarely dislike a character, but I had a hard time accepting all of his soppy complaints. He didn’t seem a character worth having a story about. But I still love Nick Hornby, and I would still venture to read his other books.
Nowhere Girl by Susan Strecker
Category: Nothing. This was just purely for the heck of it!
This was perfect for a quick escape into an engrossing mystery and charming character. If you don’t mind a rather dark story, this would be great beach reading this summer!
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (review coming soon)
Category: Nope… Just inspired by the trailer for the movie. 🙂
I just had to read this before seeing the movie. It did not disappoint! The plot isn’t super original, but it’s exactly the type of plot that makes for a great movie. Plus, the main character, Lou, is adorable. It’s a growing-up and falling-in-love story all in one.
If you’re keeping track, here’s how my checklist looks now:
Again, this isn’t a rigid list I’m keeping for myself—it’s a way to inspire and remind myself of the books I want to read.
I already know I’ve got these next books lined up to read:
- Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
- Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
- The Originals by Adam Grant