My Year in Books

2016 was a year of many ups and downs but one of the things I most enjoyed was getting back to reading. They say that if you want to travel in time to read a book and truly, there are few things I enjoy more than doing just that. I smile thinking back to when my mom, a voracious reader herself, would make me sit with her and read my American Girl books. I hated it! I was just learning to read and my mom wanted to make sure that I developed a love for it like she did. Silly, but it really was a gift in a way.

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As the years went on and I was required to read more and more for school, my reading for pleasure kind of took a back seat. I did enjoy some of the reading of course— Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I highly recommend taking a Women in Pop Fiction class)—but as my required reading list grew longer, it seemed more daunting than relaxing.

So, in the past year while I was decidedly straying from screen time (more on that in another post) I found reading again. I cranked out around 30 in total, give or take. Admittedly some of the books I read this year are embarrassing—I love a good self help section at Barnes and Noble—but here are some that aren’t too bad :o)

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    ⁃    The Happiness Project
    ⁃    The Defining Decade
    ⁃    What French Women Know
    ⁃    The Inferno
    ⁃    The Opposite of Loneliness
    ⁃    Crazy Rich Asians
    ⁃    Fifty Shades Darker
    ⁃    Lucky
    ⁃    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    ⁃    Brain on Fire
    ⁃    America’s Queen
    ⁃    The Circle
    ⁃    Hollow City: Sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    ⁃    The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
    ⁃    Girl On The Train
    ⁃    The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    ⁃    Wild 10/4/16
    ⁃    Satan’s Advice to Young Lawyers 10/10/16
    ⁃    Water For Elephants – 10/18/16
    ⁃    The Help 10/25/16
    ⁃    At Home with Madame Chic – 11/8/16
    ⁃    Fifty Shades Freed – 11/16/16
    ⁃    My Year with Eleanor – 12/1/16
    ⁃    The Beautiful and Damned 12/20/16
    ⁃    Harry Potter and The Cursed Child 1/1/17

Around October I thought it would be fun to start including the dates that I finished each book so that’s why you see those there. I also did not include any books that I did not finish, or any books that I’m currently still working on.

Of all of them, my favorite book was probably The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest. I love that entire series and am so upset that it was meant to be one of 10 books instead of three. RIP Stieg Larsson. I also enjoyed America’s Queen (Biography of my idol, Jackie Kennedy Onassis,)The Miss Peregrines Books, Crazy Rich Asians, Inferno (anything by Dan Brown, really) and The Defining Decade.

Some books I didn’t quite enjoy but felt the need to finish because I had already started them, like The Happiness Project, The 50 Shades series, and The Opposite of Loneliness. There are probably around 10 books I started this year that I just could not push myself to read through, no matter how loudly my OCD protested. I summoned my inner Marie Kondo and dropped them off at the Goodwill to bring joy to someone else.

I didn’t begin the year with any particular book list and looking back I am actually surprised by how female-centric all of them are (not a bad thing, of course.) However, I do have a book list started for 2017. Side goal: stop buying more books when I already have so many to finish.

Here’s my 2017 book list, as it currently stands, and including a few that I just started, listed at the top:

– Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
– The China Study

– Dante’s Divine Comedy
– Library of Souls – Miss Peregrine series
– Holy Blood, Holy Grail
– The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
– China Rich Girlfriend – Crazy Rich Asians series
– Rich People Problems – Crazy Rich Asians series
– The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
– Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
– The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
– Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food
– Steve Jobs – Biography

If I can keep up my streak, I’ll be able to get through all of these by June so I’m always looking for book suggestions! Do you guys have any book lists or reading goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

chelsea

A Year’s End

I read a really great article today that talked about finishing off the year strong. I hold a certain amount of faith in the future but it was really empowering and refreshing to read something that calls for action in the present.

The article asks readers to list 15 of the best things done this year and 5 things we wish we had done, but didn’t. It really had me start thinking about how transformative a year it has been. After having a crazy and exciting 2014, I didn’t think this year would top it…but now that I think of it, I’d say 2015 was better. Okay, I didn’t backpack Europe and fall in love this year, but change crept up in unexpected ways and quietly, 2015 became a landmark year.

So here are my lists; 15 of the best things I did and 5 things I wish I did:

  1. Chris and I took our first vacation together and headed south to Miami & Key West.
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  2. I curbed my materialism. I’m not going to say  I stopped shopping, but I do shop less and give away more.
  3. I learned how to relax once in a while. I still have that overachiever bug in me but I finally feel comfortable giving myself a break every now and then.
  4. I finished books! Lots of books. It’s been a long time coming, really.
  5. I graduated college! Honestly, it was a relief to have it be done but it didn’t feel life changing. Maybe I’m still in denial.
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  6. I saved money. 
  7. I became a more organized, neater, and patient person.
  8. I dedicated time to building relationships. This has been important to me, and something I really neglected in college. It feels good to spend time with friends again.
  9. I cut out toxicity. On the flip side of number 11, I finally embraced that it’s okay to put myself first and not always dedicate my time and energy to others, especially when those actions don’t serve me in any way.
  10. I trained for a marathon. I didn’t run a marathon, but I got to the last 6 weeks or so of training, and I think that’s still something to be proud of. Hasn’t been in my cards yet but I’m determined to do it.
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  11. I worked my ass off. This year has been challenging in a multitude of ways. I’ll leave it at that.
  12. I finished Breaking Bad. I miss Jesse.
  13. I tried new recipes. And by recipes, I mean winging it in the kitchen and hoping it turns out well.
  14. I started my first *real* job.
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  15. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Which, if you ask me, should happen every year. If you’re never uncomfortable, you’re not growing.
  16. Also want to add that I started using coconut oil (life changing, really) and cut off all my hair.

5 Things I didn’t do this year but wish I did:

  1. Finish a marathon. (Without injury!)
  2. Buy less. (I’m getting there…)
  3. Travel abroad.
  4. Move out of state.
  5. Cut meat and dairy out of diet.

I’ve already got some exciting ideas for 2016, but I’m realizing there’s really no reason to wait for January 1st. I’m ready to start tackling my goals now.

How do you guys plan on finishing 2015 strong? Let me know in the comment section!