As I read my way through each year, whether through a stack of unread books in my old room in my mother’s house one summer or elsewhere, I’ll post here about the books I’ve finished and what I thought of them. Looking for a book to read? Check here!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I picked up a copy of this book at a store in Seattle, Washington, figuring it would be a great re-read. As I began to work my way through it, I discovered that I hadn’t actually read the book before – I’d just seen the movie. I’m glad I snagged a copy of the book, though, and that I took the time to read it. Alcott’s story about four sisters and their formative years is an excellent read – whether you’re a young women yourself, or you have young women in your life. I recommend that everyone read this book – I think you’ll be able to find yourself in at least one of the little women.
Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30 by the editors of Glamour and Pamela Redmond Satran
This book was a gift from my mother before I moved to North Carolina, and though I’ve started and stopped it several times since 2012. I’ve just finally finished it. I wish I finished it sooner, as it’s full of great advice from great women, and I’m so glad I read it. The “Thirty Things” list was originally written for Glamour in 1997, but this version has essays from women like Lauren Conrad, Katie Couric, Suze Orman, Portia de Rossi, Angie Harmon, Bobbi Brown, Maya Angelou, and a host of other amazing ladies. It’s a really great, easy read, and I recommend any woman approaching thirty, newly thirty, or starting to leave thirty behind pick up a copy.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
I absolutely loved this book. I’ve been meaning to pick it up for a while now, and I finally was able to with some gift certificates from Christmas, and I am so, so glad that I did. As a writer, Lamott provided me with some really great advice on being a writer, but she also gave me some advice about life that I really needed right now. It’s a great book to read if you’re a writer, but even if you’re not she has some excellent advice about living life in general. I’d say it’s a must-read.
This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl
Esther was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 12 years old, and died just after her 16th birthday. These are not the events that defined Esther. She was a caring, lovely young woman who impacted the lives of many people. Reading her book was a peek into her life before she left us, and she taught me things through the pages that I needed to learn (or being reminded of). I would highly recommend this book. If you’re interested in reading my blog post about it, go HERE.
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
This wonderful book was a Christmas gift, and the woman that gave it to me knows me well. She saw the book and thought that it would be something that I would like, and it definitely was. Brown does an excellent job going through some of the basic pointers that people need as they transition into adulthood, and her humor and occasional drawings are an excellent addition. This book helped me make some changes in my life that were necessary, and I’d recommend this book to anyone, 20 or 52, that needs a little help figuring out adulthood.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This book, this amazing book, is about a young woman named Cath who is a writer of fanfiction starting her first semester of college. With the exception of the fact that she has a twin and has relationship drama, this is very close to the story about my first year of college. That’s part of why I loved it so much and why I read it so quickly. I went through a lot of the same events and feelings that Cath did, and I think anyone in their freshman year of college will relate to what Cath and/or her sister Wren are going through.
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
This story, about two people struggling with mental illness, is a well-written look into what it’s like to suffer from addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, and any number of other things. Pat and Tiffany are two broken people who find a way to heal together, and Pat’s constant belief in silver linings is beautiful, I think. I really liked this book, and would recommend reading it – either before or after seeing the movie.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell did it again with this one. This story, about two teenagers who fall in love in the late ’80s, is a beautiful love story, and a dangerous one. Though the story wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I fell absolutely in love with both Eleanor and Park, and I flew through the book. It’s a wonderful read, and anyone who has ever been in love will identify with how Eleanor and Park are feeling. (Trigger warning: abusive home.)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
While this book is advertised as a modern-day, adult Harry Potter, it didn’t turn out to be quite what I thought it was going to be. I loved it at the beginning, this story of a “normal” kid named Quentin who suddenly discovered he was a magician and went off to college at a magician training school. There were good parts all along the way, and there were also some not so good parts. The plot started to implode on itself, and I was slugging through it by the end. I was less satisfied with the book than I thought I would be, but my opinion is different from that of many others, so don’t take my word for it. Try the book yourself!
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This book was absolutely amazing. I was enthralled from the beginning, and Sloan takes the reader on a journey that surrounds reading and feels like you’re flying. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue, and Clay Jannon’s quest to discover what is really going on with Mr. Penumbra and his Bookstore is fascinating. I fell in love with reading all over again, and I hope you all have the chance to read this book. Especially if you’re a reader.
Job One: Experiences of New Professionals in Student Affairs Edited by Peter M. Magolda and Jill Ellen Carnaghi
Job One was required reading for my seminar in College Student Personnel, and it was a book I really enjoyed. It allowed me to read through the experiences of other Student Affairs Professionals and gain a general understanding of what my next few years might look like. It also helped me (finally) come to the conclusion that I am supposed to be in academics – that I can best serve others by working towards my PhD and one day running a College Student Personnel program of my own. Anyone interested in Student Affairs (whether currently in a graduate program or not) should read this book. I really loved it (and highlighted the crap out of it).
Red by Neal Samudre
I was lucky enough to read Red just prior to its release on Amazon, and I absolutely fell in love. Neal tells the story of how he began to understand and appreciate love, and it reminded me of so many things I need to think about and process before I can fall in love. Neal’s story is so honest and raw, and I just really loved it. The best part is that this is just the first in a Colors series of e-books that Neal will be putting out, and I’m so excited to read his next one, Yellow. Get your copy HERE!
Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney
I follow Rob Delaney on Twitter, so for Christmas I bought myself an e-book copy of his book, and I really loved it. Though I stopped reading it for a while to focus on school, when I picked it back up it was still just as funny. Delaney is honest about his experiences with alcoholism and depression, and it made me laugh out loud at moments too. If you want something that’s going to make you laugh, pick up a copy of this. (It can get kind of raunchy and is not at all politically correct, just as a heads up.)
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Crazy Love is about God, and about what it is like to be part of God’s “Crazy Love”. While I loved the book in general, it is definitely one of those books that assumes that you believe what the author believes. It’s an eye-opener and a book that will make you think, but I’d only recommend it if you believe some of the same things that Chan believes.
Books Read: 14/52