2017 : A Year in Readview

A year in Readview, get it? Of course you do. I’m so clever and it’s absolutely because of the books I read this year. I’m always asking other peeps what they’re reading and so I figured I should share my booklist from this past year as well. Below are most of the books I read in 2017 and a few I listened to. Unfortunately, I usually give away my books after i finish them and I am quite forgetful so there are bound to be a few books I’ve left off the list. Oops.

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I also have quite a few on the ‘To Read’ list for this coming year. I’m curious if you’ve read any of these. Any profound thoughts? Do you remember a single plot line? Wait, who is writing this blog post anyway? But really, what are you diving in to? I want to know! Now that we’re asking questions, I also want to hear your thoughts on a physical book vs. Kindle. I’m so torn. I fell like 2017 was a resurgence of the real book for me and I don’t want to go back, but I also love the organization and retrieval of notes and highlights on a kindle. These are the tough choices in life, amiright?

Read in 2017

The Red Pony – John Steinbeck – Heartfelt, raw, concise. If you’ve read Steinbeck, you know each word counts.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – One of America’s most widely read and taught novels and I just happened to read it during my 28th year of life. Better late than never.

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway – Another classic that took me way too long to pick up, but once I did, I finished it in an afternoon. Courage, personal triumph, the struggle of existence..  Over the course of the novel, I fell in love with the old man, but maybe everyone does?

Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff – Wow. Hoff is incredibly successful at teaching the basics of Taoism with Winnie the Pooh characters. I loved this book and probably recommended it the most of any of the books I read this year. It’s an accessible book for all personality types.

Untethered Soul – Michael A Singer – Another of my favorites from 2017, but not one I would recommend to just anyone. I think you need to delve into the world of meditation and self-work before reading this or it may come off as a bit woo-woo. I found myself highlighting the sh!t out of this book and it gave me a lot of topics to sit and contemplate.

Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson – An intriguing autobiography of sorts of Mara Wilson aka Matilda. I loved the perspective this book offered up on child stars, but also on young women faced with career choices, personal heartache, and a bit of anxiety thrown in the mix. I can’t wait to see what Wilson writes next.

Poser : My Life in 23 Yoga Poses – Clair Dederer – I picked this up at a used bookstore, flipped to a random page, read a few lines and loved the authors prose so I bought it. I wasn’t disappointed. Dederer takes you on a journey through her life while relating it to her new yoga practice. Reading this as a yoga teacher, I found it was a refreshing look at how ‘real people’ practice yoga, what it means to them, and how it impacts their day to day.

First They Killed My Father – Loung Ung – Heartbreaking. Real. Recent. First They Killed My Father is a firsthand account of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s, written from a child’s perspective. This book had me crying out of despair and also gratitude for the amazing life I was born into. I wish I had read it before I traveled to Cambodia. If you’re having a hard day, read this and then count your blessings.

The Four Agreements : A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz – As I was reading this, I didn’t think it was anything new, groundbreaking, or earth-shattering, but once I finished, I realized this book shifted my entire perspective. I can honestly say that whenever I’m feeling upset or off balance, I think of The Four Agreements and it always boils down to one of them. Now I think of this book as a masterpiece and I recommend it to everyone. If you read it, I’m curious to hear what agreement is the hardest for you to keep or challenges you the most? For me, it is Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Warrior Of The Light – Paulo Coelho – This book was inspirational, but the cynical side of me also thought it was cheesy at times. I definitely wrote down a few quotes and words of wisdom to share during my meditation practices, but after I finished it I had no qualms about passing it on.

Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse – THIS BOOK IS ONLY 60 CENTS! I’ve read this book about five years ago and I constantly reference the notes I made in it, but I felt I had to read it again since I recommend it to most everyone. It’s the story of enlightenment of self. I think it’s lovely and there is a lot that can be gleaned from it no matter what type of lifestyle you lead or are aiming for. It’s also written by my favorite author, HH, whoop whoop!

Buddha’s Brain : The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Wisdom, and Love – Rick Hanson PHD – This is a book that I try to read every single year. It is actually the star of one of our very first blog posts and a big driver in my meditation practice. I reference the neuroscience in this text time after time during my meditation classes. I find westerners need hard science to encourage them to do pretty much anything and this book is my framework for that.

John Muir in His Own Words : A Book of Quotations – John Muir – I love John Muir, even if I use his journals to put me to sleep at night. This is a great little compilation of his words and will have you feeling inspired by nature even you are snowed in on a freezing cold December day.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Project reminded me what it’s like to be completely lost in a book. It’s a story so enthralling that it will cause you to hold in your pee for as long as possible because you just want to finish the chapter kind of book. I heard The Rosie Effect was just okay, so I haven’t read that yet, but it’s on the list. It’s kind of like having an amazing first date and wanting to leave it at that cause the second one couldn’t possibly be that good.

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go is mysterious and character driven and while I thought it was a really nice story there was nothing that blew me away. I think I’m alone on that though because this novel is topping all the charts and it’s described as a modern classic, so maybe don’t take my word for it!

Rumi’s Little Book of Life – Rumi – Rumi, man. The poetry in these pages is profound, yet knowable to every one of us. I find it amazing that I am able to enjoy the work of 14th century Sufi mystic and that each of these poems was translated to English for my enjoyment. It just never dawned on me until this year when I heard an interview of a writer who translates poetry how difficult a task that must me and I’m so grateful.

Journey to the East – Hermann Hesse – If you’re an HH fan, definitely give this a go. It’s short, but not simple, definitely dumbfounding at times in that it manages to say very little that seems to make sense and yet altogether it’s understandable and in line with most of  Hesse’s work. I met someone in Nepal who saw me reading another HH book and he told me he read Siddhartha, I then asked if he read any others and he said, ‘yeah, one that seemed to be about nothing at all,’ and I immediately said, ‘Journey to the East,’ and he laughed in astonishment and said, ‘What the hell? Yeah, that was it!’

Rabbit : The Autobiography of Ms. Pat – Patricia Williams – Ms. Pat is an African American standup comedian, but she wasn’t always. Before that, she was a (very young) impoverished teen mom, turned crack dealer to support her family. I love Ms. Pat, which is why I paid $17 to buy the hardcover copy the day it was released (something I never do) and then I immediately devoured the book. If nothing else, this is an eyeopening read for most middle-class white Americans who think they know even an ounce of what it’s like to struggle in America. Honestly, I think this book should be required reading for any class pertaining to race and class in America.

Beneath The Wheel – Hermann Hesse – Another HH novel because he’s my favorite. Beneath The Wheel has the same themes as most of Hesse’s others, the struggle of human existence between honoring self-fulfillment and societal expectations. I think this novel is more accessible to most than his others and would definitely recommend it if you read Siddhartha and enjoyed it. I found myself bummed out when it ended because I was so wrapped up in the story.

I Am Malala : The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai – This book is as much about Malala’s upbringing as it is about the history of Pakistan, Islam, and the uprising of the Taliban. It also offers a view of the U.S. war and involvement from a place that’s not as comfortable as America. I Am Malala is an eyeopening cultural and historical lesson that completely enveloped me. I’m looking to read more firsthand accounts of life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran, so if you have any suggestions, throw them my way.

Currently Reading : Finished during January 2018 :

How Emotions Are Made : The Secret Life of the Brain – Lisa Feldman Barrett – Okay, I must admit that I’ve been reading this book for *months* and it is amazing, but it’s also a lot to process. I’ve highlighted more passages, terms, and new concepts in this book than any other. Even though it’s taking me forever to read, I really do find it intriguing and I’m excited to incorporate the concepts into meditation practices.

The Nature Fix : Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative – Another neuroscience read, but this time a bit more approachable than How Emotions Are Made. The Nature Fix is basically just confirming every single notion I’ve had about the outdoors, but it’s also extremely alarming. Not only does The Nature Fix clue you in on why nature makes you feel great, it also points out how man-made environments can be quite detrimental to our health and mood. Fuck! Get outside y’all.

The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur – I just overpaid for this book yesterday, but I’m already halfway through, so I can’t be too upset. Rupi Kaur has a way of using her words to speak to the entire female population and pinpoint micro-emotions of our experience. I think her work is truly incredible and I can’t wait to enjoy a lifetime of her work.


Audio books :

Bossy Pants – Tina Fey – Absofuckinglutely listen to this instead of reading it. Tina Fey is awesome and you want her to talk to you for five hours straight. Bossy Pants is an unfiltered look at the life of an extremely talented and busy comedian and mom. She doesn’t leave of the struggle or the depressing moments, but somehow they’re also hilarious. Love you Fey Bae!

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson – Honestly, I wanted to listen to this because I knew I would probably fall asleep a lot if I tried to read it. It’s also one hell of a book, so I’m truly getting my money’s worth with sixteen hours of narration. I feel smarter for having listened to this even if I couldn’t possibly repeat one one-hundredth of what it’s about, I mean, it’s about everything, so who could!? Anyway, some preeeetttty profound facts in here, this one being my favorite : “Atoms, in short, are very abundant. They are also fantastically durable. Because they are so long-lived, atoms really get around. Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms– up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested– probably once belonged to Shakespeare.”

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Want to Read :

The Power – Naomi Alderman

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

It’s Not Yet Dark – Simon Fitzmaurice

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck – Mark Manson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson

The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

Hardwiring Happiness – Rick Hanson

The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion

The Science of Yoga – William J Broad

The Girls – Emma Cline

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Still Life With Woodpecker – Tom Robbins

1984 – George Orwell

Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk  – Read Jan 2018

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

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