2015 Reads

Can you believe we are already in the final days of 2015? I’m thankful for many things that occurred this year, including how many books I was able to read: 52! My goal was 30, but it was surprisingly easy to surpass that number (which I consider impressive, but clearly varies person to person). I avoided my phone, reduced overall screen time and started bringing a book with me whenever I left the house. There are dozens of instances where I opt for a book instead of opening up a social network for the millionth time that day, or just sitting there absent-mindedly flipping through magazines in waiting rooms.

My toddler decided he can’t fall asleep unless I’m sitting in his bedroom, which became a blessing in disguise as I easily consume 50+ pages each night — after reading him his books first, of course. 🙂

This year was filled with nonfiction and a few novels sprinkled throughout. Goodreads provides a fun “My Year in Books” rundown of how many pages I read (14,874), the average length of the books (286 pages), and my average rating (3.7 stars). Screenshot of the review:

goodreads

My favorite book of 2015 is a toss up between “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche. Both of the aforementioned books ignited a passionate transformation of my life and how I view the world — the ultimate goal of reading, I think.

What was the best book you read in 2015? Do you set a reading goal for the New Year?

 

Favorite Books on Writing

Lately I’ve read some great books on writing and it led me to make a list of my favorites so far. I highly recommend the following four titles for anyone who could use some writing inspiration!

birdbybirdBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This was the first book I read on the topic of a writer’s lifestyle and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve read several of Lamott’s books and when one of my Goodreads friends posted a review of Bird by Bird, I had to get my hands on a copy. It’s a relatively short read (237 pages) and I finished it in one evening, hanging onto every word. Lamott’s writing style may not be for everyone, but I love her conversational tone and emotional honesty.

Favorite quote: “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.”

onwritingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King’s work, but there’s no denying the man has an enviable work ethic. King has published more than 50 books — that’s insane! As the title suggests, the book is part memoir, part writing advice. He made a point of mentioning all the rejections he collected in his early days as a writer, and I was inspired by his ability to use those rejections as a decision to work even harder instead of becoming discouraged.
This book should be a must read for every writer.

Favorite quote: “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

writingdownbonesWriting Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
I’d never heard of Natalie Goldberg before having this book recommended to me. Let me just say that I wanted to highlight and take notes throughout this whole book. It was inspiring, her words were incredibly encouraging, and I know I’ll pick this book up again and again. She has several other books about writing that I’m eager to check out next!

Favorite quote: “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

zenZen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Bradbury’s enthusiasm for writing immediately jumps off the page. His passion for the craft reignites my own flame and that is my ultimate goal when reading books like this. He urges writers to get serious and stretch out of the comfort zone. I particularly liked his advice to write down the nouns bouncing around in your mind. A list like: “The Meadow. The Toy Chest. The Monster” would then become a prompt for a story.

Favorite quote: “You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can’t sleep at night, because your best-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.”

Have you read any of these books? Any not on this list that you think I should check out? Leave a comment and let me know!