Growing up, I always looked forward to the summer reading challenge from the library. I would always walk home with a handful of books! The different stickers, Wendy’s coupons, and small toys were a great reward for the work I was already doing. Somewhere along the way, these prizes faded and my interest in reading was taken over by social media and Netflix.
I’ve made it my goal to read at least 50 books this year, starting June 1st. So far, I’m 8% to my goal. I learned that I loved the person I read after reading a new book that I couldn’t put down. I could go on and on about the benefits of reading, but my happiness boiled down to achieving one small accomplishment. This made it worthwhile. At the same time, I was entering a different universe by the same pool I sat at every day.
During my time off between college and working full time, I’ve learned 5 ways to make more time for reading. You can find them here.
Below, you’ll find my favorite books of 2016 (and a few from years before). I hope you enjoy! If there’s a book you think should be on the next list, please comment below!
The Book List
- Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
- Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling
- Originals by Adam Grant
- Adulting: 468 Easy-Ish Steps by Kelly Williams-Brown
- Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
How These Books Got on The List
To Continue Your Netflix Binge
Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Halfway through my last semester, I battled a few different health issues. Spending a lot of time on my couch, I started falling in love with the magic of Neal Caffrey. The art thief on White Collar seemed to have it all put together, while losing it all at the same time. As I was reading Goldfinch, I couldn’t help but compare the main character to Neal. It was fantastic!
To Think Efficiently (and feel like a superhero)
Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
My first introduction to the Checklist Manifesto was during my sophomore year. My senior year, I had a conversation with at least 3 different professors about this book. Not only did it help me connect more dots, but it was a different way to look at things (and validated my to-do lists)! The basis of this story is saving over 1,000,000 lives (not a typo) with 1 checklist. Are you hooked yet?
To Make You Contemplate Life
The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
If you love Gone Girl, you will absolutely love how Jessica Knoll wrote this book! It’s set in a similar style of the dual narrator. When the stories begin to get intertwined, I couldn’t help but put it down. It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up past 2 a.m. It’s been even longer since I did that with a book.
To Make You Laugh
Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling
I’m obsessed with Mindy Kaling’s personality. I’ll admit, I’ve never seen an episode of The Office (sorry!), so some pieces were a blur. Other than that, I felt like I was reading the Facebook page of a friend. She covers things like how movie stars actually look like real people without their makeup team, what it’s like to work 12+ hour days, and dating while a professional. When I finished “Why Not Me,” I felt like I was given a pep talk for starting work.
To Send Some Inspiration
Originals by Adam Grant
Spending so much time in the startup community started my interest in how things become popular. This was my first stop. Do you ever wonder what distinguishes Selena Gomez (known pop star) from Rebecca Black (one-hit wonder)? This book looks at 5+ scenarios of what makes an empire versus a blip on the radar.
To Give You A Pat on the Back
Adulting: 468 Easy-Ish Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
This book is where I first found the phrase “Adulting.” I finished the book in about 3 days on a whim and haven’t looked back. It’s a great by the pool read for whatever random situations come up. I didn’t take it too seriously but some things are fairly useful!
To Motivate You to Clean Everything Out
Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Throughout the course of reading this book, I got rid of enough things to:
- Empty 1 full set of hangers
- Move my purses to 1 bin
- Fit all of my shoes in my over the door shoe rack
My mom didn’t believe me until I sent her the pictures. Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method takes a completely different approach to decluttering. If you’re getting ready to move or are just tired of searching your closet for nothing to wear: I recommend setting aside 1 night to read this and 1 weekend to actually execute the book.
To (Re-)Evaluate What You Need In Life
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Sorry to all 700 people I deleted off Facebook, 250 people I deleted off Twitter, and 75 people I deleted off Instagram. You can thank this book for that! And I now enjoy a decluttered social media feed. From this book, I realized how much I was keeping in my life that wasn’t essential. After getting rid of all of the time-sucks in my life, I began forming better relationships with the people I actually wanted to talk to.
This book is the definition of finding quality over quantity, then feeling at peace with your decisions.
To Read in 2 Days
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book was first recommended by The Skimm. I read it mostly because it was the only book on my list available on Overdrive. I couldn’t put it down. It was similar to Gone Girl but with a bit more Gossip Girl. It covers transitions, love, and lost while making you smile. If you read this, please shoot me a comment with who you think Taylor should have ended up with (a la Twilight)!
To Understand Your Angry Co-Worker/Roommate/Sibling
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Did you ever have that book that sticks with you for the rest of time? For me, that’s 13 Reasons Why. It was such an impactful book for understanding what’s past the surface. It explains how our interactions affect other people, even when we don’t see it. Prepare the tissues for some parts! It’s so worth it!
Want to make sure you discover the next reading list? Make sure to get on my email list for any updates!