Dear Strong Woman,
The world belongs to those who read.
(Right? I mean, I definitely think so.)
A stretch of gloomy weather has left me curled up on the couch with the essentials: a blanket, a warm cup of coffee, and a good book. (Okay yes, perhaps the occasional puppy dog, too.) In light of this, and in honor of #NationalReadABookDay a few days ago, I figured I’d break from my normal vibe and share with you the top six books from my 2018 reading list…thus far at least.
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
Confession: I’m actually not done with this one yet, but it’s been blowing my mind from the very beginning. While most of the book gives examples of how to have those hard conversations from the corporate world lens, everything is absolutely transferable to every single relationship. Much of what Scott discuss echoes what I try to bring to my readers of this blog. It’s like Dear Strong Woman wearing a business suit. Fierce Conversations is the first book in a long time where I’ve felt compelled to write in it, and my underlining, starring, circling, etc. has gotten gloriously out of hand. I’m not the least bit sorry about it, but you’ll be sorry if you don’t pick this one up and read it asap. Practice what she preaches and watch your relationships improve. Seriously.
Side note – I’m reading this book as part of my work’s book club. My new work has a book club, y’all. It’s like they know me!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This book captivated me from the beginning, and left me in tears and yearning for more by the end. I may be a fan of historical fiction, but even if you aren’t, you’ll find it difficult to put this one down. So many stories of war are told from the point of view of the battlefield, but this one describes the fight that endured for those women and children who were left behind. Hannah paints such a raw, real image that it often left me feeling grateful for the food on the table, and glutinous for finishing my plate. I sometimes found it hard to keep reading because I didn’t want to bear witness to just how bad things were, but the strength that kept the main characters going kept me going, too. This won’t be my last read by this author, as it seems her books’ main characters tend to be Strong Women. Oh, and I hope you like popcorn, because Hollywood is planning to take this story (and more) to the big screen!
The One Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
In a world buzzing about balance and better ways to manage time, The One Thing is the devil’s advocate we all need to consider: multitasking is what’s stunting our forward motion. It shines a light on common misconceptions about time management, gives actionable steps on how to be more productive, and helps you tap into aligning your actions with your purpose. As someone who has ingested many self-help books on time management alone in recent years, this one left me with many a-ha moments that have inspired what I do each day ever since finishing it. Don’t let the fact that it’s a rather easy read fool you – this one can bring major change to your life if you carry out what it says.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Regardless of who you are and where you are in life, you’ll find a part of yourself in Arthur Less. I stand by this statement despite the main character being a gay, struggling hardly-heard-of author trying to avoid his broken heart by embarking on tour of lackluster international endeavors, right around the time of the ever-ominous 50th birthday. Greer is a beautiful storyteller, often weaving comic relief and heart-wrenching insight into the same sentence. Here is a playful excerpt about New York that had me laughing out loud:
“New York is a city of eight million people, approximately seven million of whom will be furious when they hear you were in town and didn’t meet them for an expensive dinner, five million furious you didn’t visit their new baby, three million furious you didn’t see their new show, one million furious you didn’t call for sex, but only five actually available to meet you. It is completely reasonable to call none of them.”
Less is a beautiful journey of self-discovery that will leave you smiling long after it’s over. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in 2017, so let that be the final straw that makes you click add-to-cart.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I’ve typed, deleted, retyped, deleted, and thrown my hands up in the air several times in an attempt to write a short synopsis of this story. I don’t want to tell you that it’s about Black Lives Matter, white privilege, and the hate that exists in the world right now. I fear that saying so will keep you from reading it, because regardless of your beliefs, you need to read this.
But it’s really a story about finding your voice, and standing up for what you believe in despite what society, friends, and family are telling you.
Despite being scared.
It is a great read for both it’s timely content and well-written emotional story-line. However, I highly recommend you get this one on Audible specifically to bear witness to Bahni Turpin‘s masterful narration.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
I first discovered this book two summers ago, but found its lessons just as poignant and moving when I reread it May. Shanua’s words are my words, said with a grace I have yet to master. I don’t know how she knows exactly what I need to hear, nor do I care, and this book is exactly what our overworked, to-do list, busy disease world needs right now. I’ve gifted it to more people than I can count, and I still cry all the tears, especially during the chapter called Throwing Candy.
I don’t know what more I can say to do the impact of this book justice, other than just go get it. I cannot recommend this book enough.
My normal repertoire consists of a mix of non-fiction and fiction, spiritual, business, etc., so I hope this list has a little something for everyone.
Reading has been my favorite form of self-care lately, so if you’ve got recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them! Thank you in advance!