It’s hard to believe that we’re already to November and there are just a few short months left before the new year! Before we know it we’ll be running around doing our holiday shopping, making baked goods galore, snuggling up watching Hallmark movies, and seeing the first snowfall of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays so I’m really looking forward to these next two months!
With the end of the year quickly approaching, I’ve been working hard to meet one of the goals I set on January 1st of this year – reading 50 books. I had never kept exact count of how many books I read so I wasn’t sure how ambitious 50 books was compared to my regular reading habits. I’ve realized that 50 books was VERY ambitious as I typically hover around 20 books a year. It really has been wonderful though having the goal to keep me motivated. Reading frequently has helped me decrease my time spent scrolling aimlessly on my phone and has been an amazing stress reliever. I’ve loved finding a quiet spot outside and reading for hours on end and I love reading because it helps create connections to people and stories that you’d otherwise never get the privilege of knowing. Every page I flip I feel my world expanding.
This year I’ve read some of my most favorite books ever and I wanted to share with you all. At the end of the year I’ll share all 50 that I’ve read (I’m 35 books in to my goal)!
- After The Flood by Kassandra Montag – This book was so engrossing and compelling it quickly shot up to one of my favorite books of all time. Taking place in the future, what was previously the United States is now covered in water. The book follows the heartbreaking and inspiring story of a mother and her daughter on their quest for survival.
- Educated by Tara Westover – The most inspiring and humbling book I’ve ever read. A biography of the incredible Tara, who overcame extraordinary obstacles to live the life she deserves. It’s no wonder this book has been on the reading list of the Obamas, Oprah, and Bill Gates.
- Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – This story was somehow light and enjoyable while still dealing with real life challenges. It follows a young woman, Cassie, who is a fire-woman who has dedicated her entire life to her career. After her mother needs her in Boston, she makes the move and starts all over again. Cassie was an easy character to root for and by the end of the book, I felt like Cassie was a friend.
- The Grace Year by Kim Liggett – A quick paced whimsical thriller about a society that forces young women on the outskirts of town during their grace year (aka when they turn 16). The women are entirely subservient to the men however the protagonist, Tierney, is strong and the type of character you aspire to be like. This was a book I couldn’t put down!
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, I picked this book up because I had heard good things about the new sequel, Olive Again. This book told many short stories that all had ties to the central character, Olive Kitteridge. Olive herself wasn’t the most lovable character but the stories surrounding her were heartbreaking in their vulnerability and authentic way. A book that will surely make you more empathetic to those around you as the book reminds you that you truly don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life behind closed doors.
- American Royals – I devoured this book like it was a good meal! A re-imagined America where the government is a monarchy, rather than a Presidential democracy. The juicy stories of Beatrice, Samantha and Jefferson, part of the royal family, were akin to watching a great reality show. These were characters I rooted for and fell in love with. This book will be apart of a series and I am already eager for the second book which comes out in the Fall of 2020.
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown – Brene’s work is so relatable and eye opening. I listened to this through Audible and felt like I was getting life coaching from Brene herself. This book is about standing in the wilderness and truly owning who you are and your convictions. My favorite takeaway was that there’s a difference between fitting in and belonging. Compromising yourself and your beliefs to fit in won’t make you feel like you belong or give you the feeling of authentic connection.
- The Whisper Man by Alex North – A creepy thriller that left me physically curling my toes! The story of a young son and his father who are living in a town plagued by The Whisper Man – someone that lures children out of their homes, the children never to be seen again. I read it for my book club and we all were sufficiently scared reading it!
- November 9 by Colleen Hoover – Hoover is one of my favorite authors so there’s not much she writes that I don’t love. This romance story was raw, heartbreaking and wonderful.
- Again But Better by Christine Riccio – This is the story of a young introverted girl that has never felt like she fit in. She decides to study abroad in London for a fresh start and with a little bit of magic, she works to give herself the life she’s always imagined. Although this book started slow for me, it’s quirky, highly relatable and all around enjoyable read.