I have been on a book reading rampage for about two years now, and this year things really ramped up. I read more books recreationally than I think I ever have in my entire 30 years of life this year. Every book was read slowly, only twenty minutes each night, in the company of my bathtub and usually a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar. My slice of heaven. And it was a freaking blast! Last year I shared a short list of my favorite things I read in 2014 and it ended up being pretty popular, so this year you guys get a whole blog post.
A few disclaimers: Although these are the best things I read in 2015, it does not mean all of these are 2015 releases. I am a little behind the times on that one. Also, I noticed for the second year in a row I chose all women writers. I assure you this is not intentional, but what can I say, I love women writers! Another thing I have noticed yet again – I lean very heavily towards memoir/self-help books. There is not a single fiction novel on my list this year, so if you are looking for that, best go elsewhere.
And last, but not least, I have a new rule that I cannot keep a book unless I can be reasonably certain that I will go back and re-read it sometime in the not-so-distant future. Because I adore holding a real, actual book in my hands, this rule is necessary or we would need another house solely for books. So these books made that cut.
Enjoy! And let me know in the comments what I need to read next!
- Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith – Anne Lamott
I am late to the Anne Lamott party. This is the first book I have read of hers, but I definitely will be reading more in the future based on this book experience. Anne writes in that brutally honest way that sometimes makes you flinch a little to read, which is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I also loved reading her unique viewpoint as a decidedly quite vocally liberal Christian. I don’t share all of her views or beliefs but I found her point of view fascinating. It was a tough one to read sometimes, and I loved that.
- Rising Strong – Brene Brown
Ok, nobody throw a book at me, but I have a confession to make. I have several Brene Brown books that I have read, and after reading both I was like, “Meh.” I recognize this is basically sacrilegious based on my background (also a research nut and part-time professor) and the things I like to write about (shame! Perfectionism!)– she should be an idol of mine. I know her books have helped millions but for me they just seemed like sort of common sense. HOWEVER. THIS BOOK. I LOVED and NEEDED. On the cover it reads : “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.” Hallelujah! This was so dang good. I can now proudly ride the Brene fan train with authenticity.
- What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey
Since we are on the confession train, here is another: I love Oprah. Absolutely love her. I feel a little cliché having an Oprah book on my list but damnit, it needs to be here. This book is short and sweet and perfect for my bubble bath reads. Her little chunks of knowledge on subjects like resilience, joy, gratitude, and awe are just brilliant. I know for sure I will be reading this again.
- The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting – Bunmi Laditan
THIS IS NOT A PARENTING BOOK. THANK GOD. If I ever meet Bunmi Laditan I might kiss her. This book came at a time I was having some major existential parenting crises and was a total gift. It made me laugh so hard I cried. It made me feel not alone. It made me realize laughter is healing and reinforced my belief that life is so, so much better if we don’t take everything so damn seriously. If you are a parent to a toddler and not a sanctimommy, I promise you will see yourself and your child in this book, and will absolutely want to kiss Bunmi should you ever meet her as well.
- Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Another book that came just in the perfect nick of time. I was having a major streak of writers block, which was effectively more accurately described as my self-confidence about writing took a major nose-dive. This book is an absolute MUST READ if you are anything like me – have a passion, its not necessarily conventional, your not necessarily sure you are great at it, but it lights you up. If that is you – YOU NEED TO READ THIS. TODAY. DO IT. So inspirational, it will light a fire under your ass. I promise.
- I Like You Just the Way I am – Jenny Mollen
I picked out this book off a shelf randomly when I was in the depths of severe morning sickness. I felt on the verge of serious depression because I was miserable day in and day out with no relief anywhere in sight. I started reading Jenny’s book and within a matter of one night I suddenly had something to look forward to at the end of every day. Jenny says the things you think but would never dare say aloud, much less write in a book for the world to see. She is hilarious and brilliant and will make you absolutely cringe with her brutal honesty. I love her. I love this book.
- Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
After reading “Wild” last year, I knew I had to get my hands on anything else Cheryl had written. I picked up this book with very high expectations and was not disappointed. This is a collection of “Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar” a column that Cheryl ran in secret that nobody knew was her. Her writing makes me physically ache because of how perfect it is – she has the gift of being able to write with such clarity and honesty that it makes me insanely jealous and also inspires me to no end. Her advice could not be more perfect and beautiful and crushing all at once. This is my favorite book of 2015.
Have you read any of the books that made my list? Did you love them as much as I did? And what should I read next? Help a fellow book-nerd out – and happy reading!