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I can’t believe I’ve met my goal of reading 45 books in 2016. In fact, I’ve surpassed it by reading 80 books this year! I wonder how many books I can read next year! Here’s a look at the last 10 books I read this year.
Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
I requested an e-copy of this book from the Army MWR Library system a few months back, and forgot about it until I got an email notification that it was in. I’m a Nicholas Sparks junkie– I’ve read all of his books and have quite a few on my bookshelf. This book, although I didn’t cry by any means, was very entertaining; I finished it in a day and a half. The story of the main couple in the book had me shaken, and there is a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. I definitely enjoyed this book, but then again, I can’t remember a single Nicholas Sparks book that I didn’t enjoy.
The Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman
After reading my first e-book through the Army MWR Library system, I went a little happy and checked out all the books online. Okay, not ALL the books– the system would only let me check out I think 10 and request 20 more on holds. I was really excited to find this book in the MWR system, since this book has been on my reading list since it came out. I honestly didn’t think I have an issue with spending. Not me, the girl who paid off $17,000 of debt in a little over a year! I read the book anyway and realized I am, in fact, a spender. Remember that time I went to the Half Price Bookstore and spent literally an entire (part-time job) paycheck on books? I do. In fact, when I was looking through my 2015 budget, I realized I had spent literally 1/5th of my LifeWay paycheck at LifeWay or other bookstores. Over $1,000 that I didn’t really have extra to spend, since my whole point in working there was to pay off debt! Thankfully, the extra spending on books stopped once I stopped working there and with money being so tight lately, I have barely bought anything for myself! After reading this book, it forced me to think about all that money I wasted on books I only read once. I went through my book collection and began pricing books to sell online; it made me sick to discover out of an entire large box full, the online sites will only accept 20 of the books and give me about $1 each for them. Nonetheless, I’m selling those to put towards our emergency fund, and will be selling the rest to Half Price Books (who will donate what they can’t sell). I decided that in the future, if I want to read a particular book, I will look for a library copy, ask to borrow it from a friend, or put it on my Amazon wishlist for birthday/Christmas. If it’s a book I need to buy because I think it will be a good resource for our home library, I will first try to buy it used or use a Swagbucks gift card. There will absolutely be no more paying full-price for a book that I know I only want to read once.
I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
When I was browsing the MWR Library system, I remembered hearing that a few different bloggers had read this and recommended it to other women. This book inspired me to keep track of how I spend my time (I often get sucked into surfing the web for hours on end.) I would make a time log of my 168 hours a week like the author of the book suggests, but I can tell you what would be on it: not much. So, I’m going to create a consistent routine to make sure I wake up after 9 hours of sleep (I’ve been sleeping entirely too much lately), spend time reading my Bible, walking on the treadmill, and doing some blog things. (I will admit, I’m a procrastinator by nature so I’ve been putting them off until the last minute all too often.) This actually comes at a perfect time in my life, because I just accepted a part-time seasonal position and became my church’s new Social Media Coordinator– both of which require me to stick to a schedule that others created for me instead of just “winging it” like I have for over 6 months now. I’m really excited, and I hope that eventually I will be managing a great career (whatever that career is), taking some additional college classes (I want to go back for a Business degree but I’m not sure what concentration I want to focus on), blogging part-time (and making a part-time income from it I hope), volunteering with my church, while still spending time with friends, family, my husband and pets.
Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After by Miki Agrawal
I’ve mentioned before that I almost always enjoy the books I read, but this was another one that I just didn’t like. The title alone should have warned me off, since I don’t particularly care for swearing. The book didn’t seem relevant to me; the entire time I was reading it seemed like the author, as an Ivy League grad living in NYC who spent her summers in college interning in film studios and studying abroad, has more connections to wealthy people than the average person like myself. I’m not kidding, it felt like nearly every page she was talking about “her friend so-and-so that does this and makes a lot of money” and “so-and-so connected me with so-and-so famous person who helped me with this.” And from reading the Amazon reviews, I’m not alone. One person said it was a “slap in the face” and “makes you feel that unless you went to an Ivy League school and have high end connections it makes you feel as if you won’t make it.” I’m sure there are better books for budding entrepreneurs out there and I can tell you there are definitely better relationship books out there (since a few chapters are devoted to relationships.) I’m sorry if you disagree with my opinion, but the whole part about her going to the Burning Man festival with some guy friend and fake-marrying him was just plain weird. (As a former northern Nevada resident, Andy informed me Burning Man is a festival for hippies to go to the desert, smoke weed and have sex.) The author and I definitely have different ideas on “happily ever after” because I am quite content to be legally married to my husband while not being “successful” career-wise or monetarily. So basically, if you’re anything like me, you won’t enjoy this book.
Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
This book is about how one Navy captain influenced one failure of a submarine to becoming the best in the fleet by empowering the sailors in his command to become engaged, take responsibility, and become leaders. I really enjoyed reading this book, although I don’t have any way of leading others anytime now or in the future.
The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
This book shares examples of how parents can talk to their children about money and make them good with money. I don’t have kids (obviously), but I thought it was a really interesting book. If/when Andy and I have kids, I will have to read this book again when it’s time to teach our kids about money.
Relentless Spirit by Missy Franklin
I will be totally honest, although I recognize the name Missy Franklin, I didn’t really follow the Olympics in 2012 (I was working at summer camp then) or 2016 (I don’t have cable, so all I knew what was I saw on social media.) In fact, the only reason I remembered Missy Franklin was because one of her USA Swimming teammate’s, Lily King, is from Evansville, Indiana (my hometown news channels are all based out of Evansville so it was all over the news stations’ social media.) I really enjoyed this book, because it was more than your typical “Here’s how I became a champion athlete and after I won my gold medal life, was perfect. The end” story. In fact, Missy went from winning 5 medals in 2012 to winning only 1 in 2016, and the only reason she won the 1 was because she swam in the preliminary relay match (she didn’t make it on the podium.) This story talked a lot about how Missy’s family life and athletic career intertwined with her faith, which I found really inspiring. I loved the end of the book specifically because it doesn’t end perfectly, but instead acknowledges that God is using Missy’s story to glorify Him in both the good and the bad.
A Journey through the Psalms for Women
This was one of my devotional books for 2016 and although I wasn’t great at reading it every morning like I hoped, I really enjoyed it! The devotionals were concise but packed full of wisdom and contained a Bible verse on the topic as well as a related quote from a Christian figure (often Corrie ten Boom or Beth Moore.) This was the perfect way to start my day!
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
This is another devotional by a classic Christian author. I really enjoyed this one as well, and although the devotions were just one page long, I really had to slowly read them because of the depth of knowledge they contained. This is written in the King James English, so it’s a little tricky to understand sometimes, but that just means the knowledge contained in it is still relevant today. I am keeping this one on my bookshelf and will go through it again in the future!
Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump
Since Donald Trump is our POTUS-Elect, I thought it might be nice to read this book…. and that’s all I’ll say about that.