So I had a goal in 2015 to read 50 books.
Basically, a book every week. Well, I accomplished that a few days ago and exceeded it at 52 books. I’ve read 17,988 pages (it’s probably in the 18,000s because I’m currently working through a book and I’m definitely past 12 pages).
I’ve been posting my reviews on Instagram and people have wanted to hear what were my favorites. They asked for a top 10 list. And when we’re talking about books, I’m more than happy to oblige. In fact, ask me for any type of book recommendation and I’ll start going through my list. I am trained as a librarian, as you know.
As I typed that, I realized that I am perpetuating the stereotypes of librarians everywhere. Let’s get some things straight that librarians are information architects. We don’t just read books (although many of us do read). We make sure information is accessible and findable whether in a physical location (like a library) or online (databases, search engines, marketing).
I digress. The point is — I love giving recommendations. Without further adieu, here is my top 10 favorite books I read this year.
1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Have you ever heard of Scheherazade and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights? She was a legendary queen who managed to stay alive by telling stories. Aladdin comes from one of her stories. This is a retelling of that story. I loved every minute that I read it. In fact, I was often staying up late to read. I finished one Sunday after coming home from church and immediately sitting on the couch to indulge. The writing was fantastic. The story was beautiful. I have been telling everyone to read this. You won’t regret it.
2. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
Did you know Julie Andrews wrote a book. Yes, THE Julie Andrews. Mary Poppins? The Sound of Music? My Fair Lady? Basically one of my favorite actresses? Yeah… her. She wrote a book. It’s more for younger kids (middle grade? Elementary? I’m not very good at determining ages), but it was a delightful little read. It seeps into your imagination and makes you more excited every time you pick it up.
3. Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull
I am a big Pixar and Disney fan. What I find most interesting though is how they manage to come up with stories and then be creative as a group. This book was an interesting insight into their processes. It definitely inspired me to be more creative in whatever ways I can be.
4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
My sister-in-law loaned me her copy and told me I needed to read this. I had never read Kate Morton before. Of course, I loved that the main character’s name was Laurel. I loved the relationships between mother and daughter.
5. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I will admit my ignorance when it comes to what’s happening outside of the United States. I probably should be more informed, but I’m not. Reading this book gave me that new perspective and made me recognize how lucky I am. I not only graduated high school, but also earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. On top of that, I’m able to work in my chosen field and I love every minute of that. I’m truly very very lucky and I appreciate Malala sharing her story so I can recognize the opportunity I have to help other women to be educated.
6. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
I’ve made no secret my love of history. Maybe on this blog I’ve been very silent about this, but in real life I love history. When I was studying history in my undergraduate, I dreamed about writing an inspirational sports history story. Maybe I still will. I feel like there’s plenty of stories to be told; I have yet to unearth one. This book reignited that desire to find the story. I loved learning about rowing and to feel the desire of this team to do well. I wanted to be on the boat with them, with a team.
7. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
My friend recommended this book to me. When this friend recommends me a book, I know it’s going to be a good book. As usual, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a beautiful story that I loved reading. There were moments when I read and felt like someone had put to words what I feel and know but could never express. Truths like:
“Love makes us beautiful. Do you know a single person who loves and is loved, who is loved unconditionally and who, at the same time, is ugly? There’s no need to ponder the question. There is no such person.”
Or this description of reading:
“She found him squatting in the dark beside her, a book on his lap, his hands sweeping across the pages as if caressing them, while he quietly whispered every sentence his fingers felt out.
‘What are you doing?’ She asked him.
It’s a must read for any readers.
8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I can safely say that I love this series. This morning I finished the second book in the series and I can’t wait to get home and read number 3. It has everything I like — a strong female character, a handsome Captain of the Guard, adventure, romance and a mystery. I really enjoyed this book.
9. Focused by Noelle Pikus-Pace
I met Noelle Pikus-Pace for like a milli-second at RootsTech this year. I loved her talk so much that on my way home, I stopped at Deseret Book and purchased her book. It was a fast read (144 pages) and it hit every topic that it takes to win an Olympic medal. Fortitude. Focus. Patience. It was fantastic.
10. 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling
I had to read this book for work. That’s my disclaimer. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. It made me recognize in my work and even in my life, I often get caught in what they call the “whirlwind”. Find one WIG (wildly important goal) and figure out what you need to do every week to make it happen. Then measure and track your success. We’re doing this at my job, but I’m going to try it at home for the next three weeks. I can’t wait to report on the success.