I love a good book recommendation. Most of what I read comes recommended from someone I know. And I want to share what I have read this year in case you want some recommendations too!
I have always loved to read. My Mom got me involved with the local library at a young age and having time to read has always been important to me. As my responsibilities grew, my time to read for fun often became hard to find. Some years were better than others, but in 2017 and 2018 I felt like I wasn’t reading as much as I wanted.
So for 2019 I set a a goal of 15 books for the year. I thought it was ambitious, but as soon as I set the goal, I prioritized reading time and I quickly hit it. By August I had doubled my goal to read 30 books for the year. This means I have to read roughly one book a week for the remainder of 2019, but that is doable. I am so grateful I have more time to read right now and I have been seeking out cute bookstores and cafes to read in all over AUS.
I’m sharing the list of books I have read with a star rating and a quick few sentence review. I could go on and on, but that would make for a super long blog post. If you want to chat more about any of the books – please message me!
I read a lot of nonfiction and young adult fiction, but honestly I will read anything that gets a good rec.
And one quick caveat: I RARELY give a book 5 stars. 4 stars is really good for me. I save the 5s for truly incredible books.
Okay, so here we go. In the order I read them in below from January on. I’ll keep adding as the year continues.
- Heart Talk by Cleo Wade (4 stars). Cleo Wade is my favorite. I had seen a lot of her poems, but at the beginning of the year I ordered her book and sat down to read it cover to cover. She has such a way with words.
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (3 stars). I wanted to read this book before watching the Netflix film. I always want to read the book before the movie. It was a quick read with a heart warming story, but just okay.
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (4 stars). This was a really unique perspective on running. I have read a lot of running books and they often say a lot of the same things, but this one felt different – in a good way.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama (4 stars). Oh Michelle. I love her and loved this book. It was so interesting to read her life history, especially the early years. Highly recommend.
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero (4 stars). I like self-helpy books. This one was pretty motivating, even though I do think it gets a little over hyped.
- 26 Marathons: What I’ve Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life From Each Marathon I’ve Run by Meb Keflezighi (4 stars). Meb! The sweetest, most genuine guy. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him twice and will never forget it. His publisher actually gifted me this new book before it came out and it did not disappoint. I love his attitude and his storytelling. And I enjoyed this book more than his first!
- So Here’s the Thing…: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut by Alyssa Mastromonaco (3 stars). I wanted to like this, but it felt pretty repetitive and random. I like her, but this seemed hastily put together.
- Not Afraid of the Fall by Kyle James (2 stars). I loved the idea of this book. Quit your jobs, travel the world, do cool things. But basically everywhere they went…they ate and drank. Cool. I found it repetitive and dull. The idea was still cool though.
- Run Strong Stay Hungry by Jonathan Beverly (3 stars). A running motivational book that had some good lessons in it. Nothing truly ground breaking to me, but it was still worth the read.
- Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco (4 stars). This was Alyssa’s first book and it was WAY better than the second. I probably should have read this one first. But either way, I loved learning more about Obama and the administration and Alyssa’s role in it. Definitely recommend.
- Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson (4 stars) Laurie always enthralls me. Difficult subject matter, but such an important read. Worth picking up if you have never heard of her (or even if you have).
- The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life by Brad Stulberg (3 stars). I love following Brad on Twitter and wanted to love this book. It does offer some good advice, but I guess my expectations were a little too high. And I felt like I disagreed with a few things I read. Maybe it was the mood I was in or the job I was in, but I didn’t completely love it.
- Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson (3 stars). This true story is so fun. I love Paris and I love American breakfast food, so I am thankful for Craig. A really neat story of him bringing his dream to Paris and the hard times he faces before making it.
- I Am Her Tribe by Danielle Doby (4 stars). Danielle’s poetry is moving. I bought her book because I knew it would be one I flipped through regularly. I keep finding myself back in the pages.
- That Summer by Sarah Dessen (3 stars). I love Sarah Dessen. I read all her books as a teenager and now decided I want to reread them. I started with That Summer. It was never my favorite of hers, but still fun to relive.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (3 stars). This book was ALL OVER my social media for months. It seemed like everyone was raving about it, so I read it. Honestly, did not think it was all it was cracked up to be. Sure it kept me interested and I read it quickly. It was an interesting story, but I felt like the ending was a little abrupt and I walked away not feeling like it was as amazing as I thought it would be.
- Beyond the Pill by Jolene Brighten (3 stars). This book was recommended to me by a few people and I found it helpful to read before starting my transition off birth control. Take it for what it is, it does push a lot of supplements, but I think a lot of the information is useful.
- The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (3 stars). The newest in the Sarah Dessen collection. This one did not keep me as interested as she usually does. It wasn’t bad, but it was set in a summer lake town and I think I was just too overwhelmed with my own life at the time to put myself there. Will always read anything she writes though!
- Where to Begin: A Small Book About Your Power to Create Big Change in Our Crazy World by Cleo Wade (5 stars). Wow is just about all I can say for this one. Cleo did it again and in a bigger way. I actually had tears in my eyes when reading many of these poems.
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander (3 stars). I randomly picked this up at the library. It’s a collection of short stories, all from different time periods. It was good, and thought provoking, but I felt some stories were kind of hard to follow.
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (4 stars). I couldn’t put this one down. You follow three women during the Holocaust with alternating chapters in their voices. It was tough to read some of it, as these type of books always are for me, but it was captivating. I cried at the end.
- The 12-Step Mind-Body-Food Reset by Jessica Sepel (4 stars). I have followed Jessica on Instagram for years and just recently bought this book. It includes a lot of great recipes that I know I will go back to, but it is so much more than a cookbook. I really enjoy her approach to eating and living your life. Can’t wait to hear her speak at the Sydney Almost 30 event in a couple of weeks.
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (3 stars). The general idea here is to eat mostly plants. I knew this. I was hoping I’d gain a little more insight as to why. And I guess I did, but it felt very negative. I know there are a lot of conflicting opinions when it comes to food and the food industry, but this book kind of made me feel worse rather than better.
- Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels (4 stars). Jack Daniels is the best. Smart training goes a long way. I have learned a lot of what he teaches through coaching and my last two years of running, but it was really interesting to learn even more about him and his philosophy.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (5 stars). Up there for best book I have read this year. This poetic, unique storytelling was captivating. This book is over 500 pages, but I read it in two days. I simply couldn’t put it down. If you enjoy historical fiction and great stories, I highly recommend it.
- The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory by Corey White (4 stars). Woah. I picked this book up randomly at the library over her in Australia. It’s a memoir that talks a lot about the foster care system in this country. It was pretty gut wrenching, but really interesting.
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates (4 stars). I loved this book. Hard to read some chapters, but they were all important. The things women go through in this world…it breaks my heart. But this book left me feeling inspired and hopeful of change.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. (5 stars). I could not put this book now. It might have been my favorite book of the year (even though it didn’t come out in 2019). This story is an honest look at race in America. I loved the main character and shed many tears for her and the people in her life. It’s a really really important read.
- I Was Here by Gayle Forman. (3 stars). I have read a few Gayle Forman books. I’m a big young adult fan and I like how these are quick reads. This one was heavy, dealing with suicide and life after losing someone you love. Wasn’t my favorite of hers, but still liked the characters and the way she dealt with a serious topic.
- The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr. (4 stars). A collection of short stories! Picked this up since I loved All The Light We Cannot See so much. This collection was very random. I never would have guessed the topics they covered, but each story was more interesting than the next. Definitely recommend!
Hope you enjoy. Happy reading!