1 Year, 52 Books


A year of books. I think this is the first resolution I have ever kept, at least one that took effort and commitment. I read 52 books in 52 weeks. My eyes are tired but my brain is full and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. There is nothing like getting lost in a story.

If there was ever a year to dive deep into books, this was the year. 2016 was a year of dread for politics, but a showstopper in terms of publishing.


The time commitment was a big challenge for me. A week after I committed to this challenge, we decided to flip a house. A few months later, we decided to move into it. There were a handful of situations that required a lot of brain space for me, and sometimes the commitment became more of a chore than a passion, but it kept me focused on filling my brain and my heart instead of zoning out to the tv. I was motivated to do this challenge for a few reasons:

1. Intellectual stimulation I was home with a newborn baby in the middle of winter, in the trenches of postpartum depression, and I was going a bit crazy. I needed more mind stimulation during the day, because I was stuck inside most of the time.

2. Less time on social media This was a hard one for me. Social media can be so tricky. When I’d get bored, I’d get on social media. When I nursed Marlow, I scrolled through Instagram. When Marlow was napping, I’d log onto Facebook. It was not contributing positively to my well-being in any way. I didn’t get rid of social media, but I wanted my go-to to be something that had depth. When I had an extra minute to myself, I wanted to pick up a book, not my phone.

3. Practicing Self-Care and Slowing Down I honestly didn’t have time to read. During naps, I worked on renovations. When Carter got home, we painted walls and screwed on cabinet doors and hung shiplap. I needed something that made me take care of myself, put down the paintbrush, and get in bed a few minutes early.

IMG_5785So, I read some incredible books. These are the best books I read in 2016:

Best Fiction: Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Best Nonfiction: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown 
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Best Memoir: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein 
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton 

Best Parenting: Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
Understanding Waldorf Education by Jack Petrash



And here are all 52, in the order I read them, if you’re interested:

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

2. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

3. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

4. After Birth by Elisa Albert

5. Rising Strong by Brene Brown

6. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

7. The Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

8. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

9. Felicity by Mary Oliver

10. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

11. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

12. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

13. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

14. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

15. The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso

16. Epilogue by Anne Roiphe

17. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

18. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

19. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

20. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

21. You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

22. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

23. The Girls by Emma Cline

24. Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel

25. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

26. In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

27. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

28. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

29. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

30. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

31. Upstream by Mary Oliver

32. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

33. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

34. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

35. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

36. My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

37. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

38. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

39. Garden Time by W.S. Merwin

40. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel-Miranda

41. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

42. Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

43. Understanding Waldorf Education by Jack Petrash

44. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

45. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

46Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

47. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

48. Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

49. Upstream by Mary Oliver

50. Thank You For Being Late by Thomas Friedman

51. No Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel

52. The Mothers by Brit Bennett


What should I read in 2017?

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