Books Read in 2016

Surprise! I like to read! Books! Books I hold in my hands! Books with pages that need to be turned! Here’s a list of stand-out books I’ve read this past year. There are more that I’ve read, but these resonated with me and I don’t want to potentially point you in the wrong direction. I took screenshots from the publishers’ websites and linked to those sites. You figure out how to acquire them, whether you purchase them or borrow from your library. (I love libraries!)



Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. One of the best novels I read this year. I don’t know why. It’s not particularly exciting. It’s set in the UK and it’s kind of long. Maybe it’s has that long Victorian novel vibe that I like so much. (Hi, Jane Eyre!)



The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This book had come up a couple of times within a week or so. I took it as a sign from the Universe that I needed to read it. There’s a touch of magical realism, which is unusual for me to like (see, Wizards and Shit), but I really liked this book. Also, it helps that the author lives in the same area of Alaska where I grew up—I remember seeing her picture in the local newspaper she wrote for.




It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort. She talks a lot about death. Mostly because her father died and shortly after, and I mean right after, her husband died. I’m keeping my eye on this author, because I think she’s only going to get better and better and I say that because she’s already a great writer.



What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas. This is a good contrast to “It’s Okay.” Death is a common theme, but Abigail Thomas has a wiser, more experienced, (older?) voice. This memoir also has a unique format that makes it irresistible to read.



Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller. So many truths in this book. I identified with a lot in this book, which was both sad and reassuring. Obviously, I loved this book for how sincere and honest the author is.



Running: A Love Story: 10 Years, 5 Marathons, and 1 Life-Changing Sport by Jen A. Miller. Once again, I identified with this book, mostly the act of running (I’ve never trained for anything longer than 10K) and being a writer. I started following the author on Instagram and subscribed to her newsletter. I love that she’s unapologetically political in her newsletter, which is something to admire right now.




Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being and Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. This book validated a lot of things I have been seeing and feeling in my work life. I could write a whole essay on it, but I won’t right here. I found this book in the “business section” of the Dewey decimal system. The title reads almost like a self-help book, but it does belong in in business. Everyone on the organizational pyramid should read it.



The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman. Just about as slick as the title reads. But, sometimes you need that slickness to inspire you to get things rolling.



Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. Exactly what the title says it is. Even though I’ve been writing for pay for several years now, it doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally need a refresher or some tips and tricks to make my writing better. It’s also has an easily digestible format—great for reading here and there.

If you want to know EVERYTHING I read, check me out on Goodreads here.

Alright, folks, you know how this works. Now you have to tell me what you read this year that you really liked. You know how to use the comment field below.

Here’s to a new year filled with great books!

30 Around the Internet

Since turning 30, I’ve noticed a couple of articles or blog posts about the age. And then I googled and discovered another thing or two. Let’s take a look, shall we?

*Oh Joy posted about things worth splurging on in your 30s even though she’s only 33 or 34 (she states she turned 33 last year, so I don’t know if she’s had her birthday this year or not). She emphasized quality and everlasting products. Which I can get on board with, especially with her recommended pots and pans. And the boots? Done! I feel this way about regular shoes, too. I try to buy timeless, classic shoes that I can wear day in and day out. Not that I spend an amazing amount on my shoes, but let’s just say I’m not buying them from Payless. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. Been there, done that and I’m not too proud to go back.

*I stumbled upon a slideshow LearnVest put together about 10 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do by 30. Count me on board for “how to budget” and “how to write professionally” (how could I not being a writer by trade?). Nothing’s more empowering than knowing how to change a flat tire. But then, nothing’s more comforting than knowing you have family and friends and maybe even a roadside assistance service to come change that tire for you.

“How to swim,” #8 on their list, is a let down for me. No, even though it was on my Thirty Before 30 list, I didn’t do it. But, I am self-aware of my skills. I always wear my life jacket when kayaking. It’s not just “within reach” because I know if a I’m going into the drink, I’m going to need the immediate assistance of a floatation device. And, trust me, if you’re flailing about in a lake, pool, river, whatever, your best bet is for me to get the attention of a lifeguard or call 911. All bets are off for your dog. The only thing sadder than a person drowning is a second person drowning in an attempt to save the first.

“How to move on,” the next item on the list seems smart and as if it could be a resolution for newly 30 year olds. The last one, “how to strike balance between work and life,” well, that just seems wise beyond my years.

*Googling, I found this fun “What to Expect” piece on McSweeney’s. I can check off a lot of these. As for the filing of taxes, I feel like I could do it, but I’ve known myself for 30 long years. And I know that if I attempt to file my own taxes it will result in frustration, if not a hissy fit. Why put myself through that? What none of these lists have is “know what you like and don’t like to do. Do more of the former and less of the latter.”

That’s all I have for now, but I have about 10 more years to ponder this decade.

The Year In Books

Let’s take a look at 2011 by reviewing some of the books I read (or listened to on my commute) this past year. I’ve been logging them by pinning the covers to one of my Pinterest boards.

Let’s start here:

Thow Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke: This pretty much walks you through decluttering your home and thus your life. This was the perfect book to read during a transitional year (I made 2 moves within 5 months–yikes!).

There were a few good outdoorsy/environmental/sustainability books I read. These are perfect for big-picture thinking, but also small-step-taking to a greener outlook on life:

Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart: Good starter book. And, after reading this you’ll start to see and recognize the Cradle to Cradle certification on products and trust what it stands for.

Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows: This one is a little cerebral, but it’s worth working your way through. There are a lot of good ideas in this that are relevant to the environment and other aspects of life.

The Necessary Revolution by P.N. Senge et al: Reading this is like reading Thinking In Systems with an environmental spin. Again, a cerebral read, but worth it.

A couple about food that will change the way you see your dinner plate and inspire you to at least make incremental changes to your food habits:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

For those who had life-changing moments (read:  bad things happened), these books are comforting in that they are stories of other people who had crap happen and how they either overcame or simply dealt with it:

The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney and Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon and The Late Bloomer’s Revolution by Amy Cohen

And, finally, I love memoirs. These were my favorites:

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern and Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. (I have to say that Kimmel is an excellent reader. I listened to this book and this woman knows how to read and tell a good story.)

Well, folks, those are the highlights of my 2011 reading. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 filled with good books!

Inspiration On My Desk

In a magazine I used to read, (maybe it was CMYK?) there was a regular feature where they’d ask a person working in a creative field, what they kept on their desk for inspiration. A few years ago, as an aspiring creative, I decided that I, too, would put something on my desk to keep me inspired. I chose this:

Bend, Oregon Postcard

A postcard from Bend, Oregon. After graduating from Portfolio Center, I drove out west and became enamored with Bend. It’s a small-ish town in the middle of nowhere. Sure, Portland is a mere 175 miles or so north, but it’s not an easy drive as you have to traverse a mass of mountains. (When done in November, at dark, in the pouring rain, it’s terrifying. Trust me, I know.) Bend is a lovable, fresh place that has a bit of a resort town feel with all of its outdoorsy opportunities.

It’s not that Bend is where I want to be. It’s that in order to work in there, you have to love being there. A bazillion big-name accounts are not rolling into Bend for its creative agencies to work on. Some creatives run to any major metropolis, following the major accounts. That balance between loving where you are and being happy with the work you do, is what inspires me.