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The Best Books I’ve Read This Year

2018 July 2

“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl

One of the best gifts I have given myself this year is the gift of reading again.

I was tired of mindlessly scrolling my free time away and realized that I had fallen out of love with reading, and in turn writing, because I wasn’t prioritizing it the way I should have been. Not just as a pastime, but as something I need to invest in – financially, mentally and physically. So I started buying books. A lot of books. Real books, not e-books. I started lining shelves with them, keeping a stack on my bedside table, and talking about them with anyone who wanted to listen. I started giving my brain the much-needed gift of time spent reading. It took a lot of work at first – sadly – to actually focus on a book without my phone nearby. To read without interruption. To devote time to nothing but reading. But once I started, it felt like a true release not only for my book-starved mind but for my phone-addicted one as well. And finally, I physically committed myself to reading. Making lists of books I wanted to read, following (yes, following – you didn’t think I ditched the phone altogether, did you?) book-related Instagram accounts for recommendations and reviews (see list below) and now, at last, sharing the ones I have loved the most along the way with you here.

The truth is, I have read a lot of books in the past year or so. And I wish I could say they were all good. A lot of them were just okay. A lot of them were ho-hum. But it was ok because I was reading again and that was satisfying enough…even when the book wasn’t. And then there were these. The ones I couldn’t stop thinking about. The ones I told all my friends about. The ones that made me fall in love with reading again. Hopefully one of them will do the same for you.

First is A Little Life. This isn’t a new discovery. It graced most of the “best books” lists in the year it was published, 2016, and with good reason. It is an exquisite novel about four men whose lives intersect in ways big and small, set amid a backdrop of drama, intimacy and love. It is NOT a light read. In fact, I had to put the book down several times just to absorb what I was reading and to digest it before moving on. It can be triggering for some, with haunting stories of trauma and abuse. But it is so beautifully written that I also found myself reciting passages aloud to my husband, just to marvel at the writing. The story unravels in a way that makes you want to keep reading late into the night and early again the next morning. And when you finish it, I promise that the main character will stay with you forever. Truly an incredible book.

Second is a much-lighter self-help super star. I have added a lot of self-help style tomes to my list this year and while many of them have had great nuggets of wisdom here and there, the tone of Girl, Wash Your Face made it stand out in a very crowded market. I am lucky enough to know the author, Rachel Hollis, from years ago and can vouch for her authenticity, drive and incredible charisma firsthand. And it all comes together in this book. It’s a frank but friendly, kick yourself in the pants, amazing motivating read for any woman in any situation. Whether your goals and dreams are big or small. Whether you’re a CEO or a stay-at-home mom. Whether you’re religious or not (I found so many of the popular books in this genre to be too faith-focused for me, personally; this one isn’t). This is an easy read that you will come back to time and again whenever you need a little push in the Rachel direction.

Finally, Hourglass. I have become an avid Dani Shapiro fan (loved her book on writing and the creative process, thoroughly enjoyed this fictional work, have another on my stack to-read) but Hourglass stood out among them all. It is a beautifully simple look at her marriage and marriage in general through the lens of time and heartache and raw emotion. It is an easy read, written with thought and candor, but not overly complicated. And it left me breathless several times because she just nailed it. A book I know I will pick up again and again through the years.

Hope you find something here to explore – and that you make the time to explore it…soon.

*image above via Polly Florence on Instagram. One of the above-mentioned book-focused feeds I love to follow. Others include Better With Books, Laura Tremaine (not book exclusive but when she recommends one, I read it), Out of the Bex and Belletrist.

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2 Responses
  1. July 3, 2018

    I love Dani Shapiro and am so happy to see her work here my favorite of her books is Devotion.

    • WWGD permalink*
      July 3, 2018

      Thanks, Lindsey! Adding to my list. Have really been loving her stuff since I have been diving in. x

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