books of 2016.

this one time (last april), i was watching an episode of friday night lights on netflix when i spontaneously decided to stop watching tv altogether. because, when you don't have a job and all of your time is free time and the excuse of needing "down time" is eliminated, you start to really consider how you're spending your time and if you are, in fact, pursuing those things you claim you would, if only you had the time. i don't know what it was about that particular episode, or maybe it was the fact that i felt bored while watching (because, how is that even possible), that made me realize i had the time, and i was doing practically nothing with it.

mid-episode, i closed my computer (bye coach taylor) and picked up a book. and then another one. and another. and within a month, i had read six books. it was sort of shocking to realize i was capable of that, considering i'd finished only two books in the first four months of 2016 – both of which i'd started in the fall of 2015. (yikes.)

reading, of course, is not the only way i spent my time. in fact, i mostly only read while i babysat sleeping babies (which happened pretty frequently and also confused the moms to no end. they were always clarifying, "you know you can watch tv, right??") it's just that, in the process of giving up tv, i discovered how much i really enjoyed reading, and how much i really don't love watching tv.

when i got a job, i was on netflix again the very next day, but i tried my best to keep up the reading momentum and take advantage of nap times, especially since the little guy i watch is still doing two-a-days.

i ended the year with 24 books read, all of which are listed below. in the order in which i read them, i think. these few, in particular, were my favorites.

the artist's way (julia cameron) this book basically changed my life. which sounds dramatic, but it changed the way i view creativity and that changes everything. it's not a book you should sit down and just read, cover to cover. (though, technically, you could.) if you let it, it will teach you how to tap into your creative self, which exists in everyone (even you, i promise). if nothing else, i recommend trying out the morning pages routine.

daring greatly (brené brown) this book is the only one of hers i've read so far, and it makes me want to read all the others. i was endlessly fascinated by the way she describes people because it's all based on research and not personal experience. i love personal stories and perspectives, but it was interesting to read about patterns that exist in human behavior.

cold tangerines (shauna niequist) my boss has all of her books, so i took it upon myself to borrow a couple during nap times. shauna writes like she's sitting across from you at a coffeeshop, sharing her stories and the lessons she's learned and the things she thinks about. as i read, i kept thinking this is how i want to write. conversational but profound. i have lots of photos on my phone of pages i wanted to mark up, but couldn't.

if you find this letter (hannah brencher) this one took me the longest to read, partly because of laziness and partly because i would re-read whole chapters. this girl is my age (ish), but so full of wisdom and encouragement. this book made me put pen to paper again.

HARRY POTTER (j.k. rowling) y'all, when my fifth grade teacher started reading the first book to our class, for fun, i loved it – and quickly found out my parents ...didn't. and so, i was that kid who sat in the hallway and read my own books (ironically, the wizard of oz), at my parents' request. this year, i decided i can make my own decisions and when i found out one of my friends is a big fan and has all the books, i jumped at the opportunity to borrow them, one by one.

these books were super fun to read and i can see why some people get really into it. i did sign up for a pottermore account to see which house i'd be sorted into, but i don't have plans to visit harry potter world, in case you were wondering where i was on the commitment scale.


the complete list of 2016 reads.


if you find this letter, hannah brencher.

a prayer journal, flannery o'conner.

looking for lovely, annie downs.

writing to find yourself, ally fallon.

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone, j.k. rowling.

harry potter and the chamber of secrets, j.k. rowling.

daring greatly, brené brown.

me before you, jojo moyes.

harry potter and the prisoner of askaban, j.k. rowling.

why not me? mindy kaling.

high fidelity, nick hornby.

big magic, elizabeth gilbert.

harry potter and the goblet of fire, j.k. rowling.

unqualified, steven furtick.

the artist's way, julia cameron.

cold tangerines, shauna niequist.

harry potter and the order of the phoenix, j.k. rowling.

if you feel too much, jamie tworkowski.

the writing life, annie dillard.

bittersweet, shauna niequist.

the art of memoir, mary karr.

harry potter and the half-blood prince, j.k. rowling.

sisterhood everlasting, ann brashares.

harry potter and the deathly hallows, j.k. rowling.