In 2017 I had a goal of reading 50 books. I only made it to 44, but I WILL get to 50 this year!!! Below are my reads, spanning all categories and topics, with brief descriptions (and/or opinions :)). Let me know if you have any recommendations below!
1. Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance : Christopher McDougall
Christopher McDougall is a phenomenal writer in that he makes you suddenly crave to do the things he's doing, which in this book is unreal battles against gravity by running up cliffs in Greece. But he also provides historical context. After closing his books I always feel a bit smarter and I usually don't complain as much at the gym...
Interesting story from the perspective of ultra marathon legend Scott Jurek. From being what calls a "talentless child" to becoming a champion of 50, 100, 150 mile races all the while becoming a vegan along the way.
This was a lot deeper than I expected from the hilarious Amy Schumer. It still had her sense of wit, but woven throughout were some intimate details and strong beliefs.
4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Milan Kundera
A captivating philosophical novel. "This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places; brilliant and playful reflections; and a variety of styles to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers."
5. The Shadow of the Wind : Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I read this just before leaving for Barcelona, where the story takes place. “It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.”
6. The Geography of Bliss: Eric Weiner
"Part travel memoir, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader across the globe to investigate not what happiness is, but WHERE it is." An interesting, thought-provoking yet light read.
7. ¡Yo! : Julia Alvarez
Written by one of my favorite Dominican authors (the position tied with Junot Diaz!). "A zesty, exuberant follow-up to the wildly popular How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, full of Julia Alvarez's keen observations and tender affection for her characters."
8. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents: Julia Alvarez
9. Running with the Firm: James Bannon
Spending more and more time in London, and with a favorite movie of Green Street Hooligans, this book was not only interesting (it's nonfiction!) but keeps you on your toes throughout. James is a cop who tells firsthand his time undercover with a football hooligan gang.
10. SS-GB: Len Deighton
A well-written 'what-if?' thriller on the Second World War that is now a major BBC series. "In February 1941 British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall…"
11. A Dog's Purpose: W. Bruce Cameron
After a recommendation from my animal-loving Nana, I had to give this book (also made into a movie) a try. The movie is not the best, but the book was heartwarming.
12. A Dog's Journey (the sequel): W Bruce Cameron
13. Notes from a Small Island: Bill Bryson
14. Let the Great World Spin: Colum McCann
What quickly became one of my favorite novels, this enthralling story takes place in 1974 as a tightrope walker attempts to cross between the Twin Towers. "A dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s."
15. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook: Anthony Bourdain
Another Bourdain best. If you haven't already, I recommend Kitchen Confidential. Life seen through Bourdain's somewhat-jaded eyes is just more fun.
17. Thrive: Arianna Huffington
Surprisingly, I did not like this book, and ended up skimming most pages towards the end. I just found it a bit redundant to all the "Lean In"-esque books out there these days.
Heart-wrenching and powerful; Very hard to read at times but as one reviewer was quoted, everyone in the world should read this book
Creepy and nightmarish but also a great current read. Recently made into a HULU TV series.
I liked Originals better than any Malcom Gladwell books I've read, combined! To me he doesn't seem as pretentious; he writes with data driven statements but without sounding condescending or boring, and the overall message was truly inspiring - fight groupthink, be original!
A great insight into one of the brilliant minds of our time.
22. Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front: Mary Jennings Hegar
24. Rich20Something : Ditch Your Average Job, Start an Epic Business, and Score the Life You Want by Daniel DiPiazza
26. The Heart and The Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL
27. Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Mark Sullivan
Cannot say enough good things about this phenomenal book! "Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours."
28. Half of a Yellow Sun: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
30. Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey: Ernesto Che Guevara
31. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America: Erik Larson
32. X: Sue Grafton
33. Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell
34. A Thousand Splendid Suns: Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini is a beautiful writer. I've cried while reading his books and I always walk away with a greater understanding of an area I've never traveled- the Middle East.
35. Lab Girl: Hope Jahren
36. Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner: Dean Karnazes
Karnazes has become one of the most famous ultra marathoners, and his book made going to the gym seem that much easier.
37. Girl in a Band: A Memoir: Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth)
38. The Vegetarian: Han Kang
Word of warning: This book was very strange and very disturbing.
39. The Dry: Jane Harper
40. Five Nights in Paris: After Dark in the City of Light: John Baxter
The perfect read for the flight to Paris! (I would also recommend The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, about Hemingway's wife, Hadley)
41. Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms: Amanda Steinberg
Written by the founder of DailyWorth.com, this book gives an original take on your typical "self-help financial advice". "Worth It outlines the essential financial information women need—and everything the institutions and advisors don’t spell out. Steinberg gets to the bottom of why women are stressed and anxious when it comes to their finances and teaches them to stay away from strict budgeting and other harsh austerity practices."
42. The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini
43. Lilac Girls: Martha Hall Kelly
"Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances." It makes you think twice before complaining about your crowded subway commute...
44. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth: Jen Sincere
This was the perfect read to end the year and start 2018 with a fresh perspective. Jen speaks from personal experience and gives steps on how to trust the universe and manifest your happiness and wealth (don't knock it till you try it :)). If you like this read, I definitely recommend E-Squared by Pam Grout.
I'd love to hear your recommendations to get started on the 2018 list! Let me know below :)