New Year, New Books: 2016

I have loved to read since I was a child. Unfortunately, I found that I rarely had time (or made time) to leisurely read while I was in school. As a recent graduate I was excited to actually read some of the books I had collected throughout the past 5 years. When the end of 2015 rolled around, I decided to make reading more a priority.

New Year’s Resolution: Read 1 Book Each Month in 2016

I wanted to read at least one book each month in 2016. As I previously mentioned, since reading is something I truly enjoy, I figured that setting this goal for myself would be easy. To my surprise, in the beginning I found that putting away my phone or turning off the TV to make time to read was quite a challenge.

“It’s been a long day. I just want to relax and watch TV so I don’t have to think anymore.”

I quickly realized how pathetic my own thought was. I don’t want to think?  Even now as I reflect back on that thought I can hear my dad saying, “Mary Katherine, the mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Like most people in our society today, I was completely addicted to looking at a screen. As if staring at a screen at work all day wasn’t bad enough, I chose to come home and spend more time staring at my phone while “watching TV.”  In reality I wasn’t really paying attention to either of the two and I definitely wasn’t learning anything.

Get Excited

I needed to find something that I would be excited to read. Once I started reading a great book I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down. To get myself started I chose a book that had received a lot of attention from many women as well as some of my own family members. Since then my most recent picks have been very different but my plan worked and in a few days I had finished my first book of the year.  While I did miss a few months, I am pretty proud of the progress I made this year. I finished a variety of books and also took advantage of my driving time by listening to audiobooks.

Here is a recap of the books I finished each month:

  • February: A Paris Apartment: A Novel by Michelle Gable
    •  My love for history and Paris were the perfect pair in this book. I felt I could relate to the main character and her personal dilemmas. Though this book is historical fiction, I actually ended up encouraging myself as I embraced and encouraged the main character throughout her journey.  The way the author describes the scenes in this book is really beautifully written.  She makes it easy for you to be in the apartment with the main character.  I’ll definitely be looking for more books from Michelle Gable.
  • May:
    • Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
      • I stayed up extra late to finish this book because I had to see how it would end. I will say that it was a very engaging story. It was also heartbreaking. I’ll refrain from saying too much in order to avoid any spoilers but I will say that because of my own personal beliefs I was slightly disappointed by this book. I have not watched the movie that was released this year.
    • After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
      • I started reading this sequel but I haven’t finished it yet. I’ll probably finish it in 2017 but my lingering disappointment hindered my motivation to finish it over the summer. (Update:  I did finish this book in 2017 and you can read my review here.)
  • July: 
    • The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by: Jack Schafer, Marvin Karlins
      • Thanks to a groupon for a free Audible membership, I listened to this book while cleaning, getting ready in the mornings, and in the car.  As I read it, I couldn’t help but think about how the tips and experiences he shares would have been very helpful to know back in the days of sorority formal recruitment. I couldn’t help but hear “This is not the droid you’re looking for” in my head as I listened to his lessons for influencing others.
  • August:
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
      • I could not wait for this release. I preordered the book so I would have it on my kindle as soon I could. However, I went to the store and bought the hardcover version the next day because not physically turning the pages of a childhood favorite of mine felt wrong. Even though it was a little different from the original series, this book was amazing, as always.
  • September: 
    • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
      • This book was recommended by Amazon and also by a sweet friend of mine. They were both right to suggest it. I was pulled in by the suspense and drama of this book. The author writes from the viewpoints of three different women throughout the book, which I was not used to, but it was very well written. There is a reason why this is a #1 New York Times Bestseller!
  • December:
    • You’re Worth It! by Danielle Bean
      • There was a quote from this book in one of my daily reflection emails from Dynamic Catholic.  I liked it so much that I immediately downloaded the book. It’s a short read and as soon as I finished it I wanted to read it again. I already recommended this book to some friends of mine. The way that Danielle wrote about Christ’s encounters with women was moving. Being a woman is a powerful thing and I think that is overlooked and misunderstood by most of our society today.
    • Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor by Dr. Allen Hunt
      • I might have started this in November but it was such a great book that I wanted to make sure that I was giving it my full attention. I actually liked the book so much that I bought 6 copies of it to share with friends. The link above will take you to the Dynamic Catholic website where you can actually get yourself one copy for free + shipping. I highly recommend this book to all my fellow Catholics and Christians. This author is coming to KS to speak in January and I can’t wait to see him!

What’s next?

This was the perfect resolution for me in 2016. Even though I missed a few months, (it was a busy year, okay!?) I did exactly what I set out to do: make time to expand my mind rather than let it melt away in front of the TV/phone. I have a stack of books sitting by my bed and even more downloaded on my kindle that I cannot wait to read.

Here are the books that I already have lined up for 2017:

Audiobooks:

Your turn!

This year, if nothing else, I hope you at least make the effort to spend less time in front of your phone or TV and more time doing something you love. Sharing what I learned from these books brought new opportunities to bond with my friends and family this year.

I’d also like to thank my family for bribing me when I refused to learn how to read as a small (stubborn) child.

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

3 Replies to “New Year, New Books: 2016”

  1. I love to read Katie and so do my girls, I read to them a lot!! I love Mary Higgins Clark so I don’t stray much! I love a good murder/mystery!

    Liked by 1 person

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