When I was a kid, I read books. LOTS of books. I regularly knocked out the Texas Bluebonnet reading list, and even volunteered at my local library. As a grew up, I slowly lost this pastime, like many others do. So in January 2015, I used my Christmas money to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite for reasons.
My goal for 2015 was to read 12 books. One per month, averaged out, since I knew I would go through periods of heavy reading and others where I’d be too busy. I’m pleased to report that I was successful, and slightly overachieved, with 13 books. I’ve always hated book reports, but I tried to include a little bit about the book and my thoughts on it below. You can also find me on Goodreads, if you want to keep up with everything there.
Books I Read In 2015 (in no particular order)
- Looking for Calvin and Hobbes – I loved the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip as a kid, and still do, so I was intrigued when I learned of the reclusiveness of its creator, Bill Watterson. This book charts author Nevin Martell’s quest to interview Mr. Watterson, and the things he learns along the way. It’s a great, easy read, and I’d highly recommend it for any Calvin and Hobbes fans.
- Word of Mouth Marketing – I received this book as a gift from attending one of SocialMedia.org’s events, and after posting about it online, author Andy Sernovitz sent me a box of 10 copies of the book, to pass along to whoever I deemed worthy. I did that, but I kept a copy for myself (and bought it for my Kindle) and try to re-read it at least once a year. If you work in marketing (regardless of your specialty) you should read this book with a highlighter and a notebook open.
- Living The Remote Dream – this was a new one, published by my online acquaintance Darren Murph. It’s a great read, pretty easy to get through in a weekend (the first time, at least). One of my professional goals for 2016 is to get back to a point where I have the freedom to choose to work remotely 100% of the time, and I enjoyed Darren’s practical tips in this book.
- You Have What It Takes – this is a super quick read, recommended by my friend Luke while recording an episode of the Paterfamilias Podcast. I’m a big fan of John Eldridge’s writing, and this is an awesome starting point for any new dad.
- The Reunion – this was a recreational read that I stumbled upon, and it was REALLY good. It’s purely fiction, but realistic fiction, and one that does have the ability to tug at your heartstrings a bit. I’d struggle to put together a quick synopsis, but mainly, it’s a story about how the things we do in life can come back to reward us at any time, I suppose.
- Email Marketing Rules – this was one of the “work-related” books that I picked up this year, and honestly, much of this was common sense or 101 level stuff. However, as someone who just launched an email marketing strategy, it was nice to get confirmation that I’m doing the right things.
- The 4 Seasons of Marriage – ranking in my “personal development” category, this was good and timely. My wife and I try to do a marriage enrichment course or weekend or something every other year, and I tackled this with the intention of going through it together. We haven’t (yet). The first half of the book is a glossary of sorts, outlining the various “seasons” and what they look/feel like, while the second half of the book is more tactical, giving tips on how to identify the season you’re in, and how to either stay in or escape from said season.
- Christianish – a spiritually thought-provoking book, I’ll confess I had a hard time getting through this one. The questions it asks are really good and appropriate, but I found it overall rather dry.
- How To Lose Weight At Work – yeah, this one was stupid. But then again, I tend to approach any weight loss content with that attitude. Probably why I keep gaining weight…
- The Martian – I got this on sale for $2 and figured why not. It was *really* good. I saw the film a couple of months after finishing the book, and while the film is pretty true to the book, the book is WAY better. I know that’s cliche, but most of the complaints I saw about the film (lack of focus on the science, etc) were addressed in the book. So definitely read this one if you liked the movie.
- Ready Player One – also on sale for $2, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am pleased to hear that Stephen Spielberg is working on a movie version. I’ll likely re-read this one in 2016, but the first time through was amazing. I really enjoy “future” content that’s only *just* in the future, and Ready Player One is like that. There’s not really anything in there that’s not theoretically possible, though it doesn’t completely exist today. Highly recommend this one for a recreational read.
- When Mockingbirds Sing – One of my recreational reads, this was a bit darker than I would normally read, but I enjoyed it so much I bought two of the author’s other books. It’s the fictional story of a town with a dark history, and had a touch of the spiritual within, as well. Extremely engaging, I thought the characters were well-built and the story overall captivating.
- Beautiful Outlaw – I told you I’m a John Eldredge fan, and this is one of my favorite books of his (right next to Wild at Heart). It’s a refreshing look at Jesus himself – outside of the normal “He’s the saviour” stuff, Eldredge hones in on some of the more interesting and exciting parts of Jesus. My favorite is his creativity/imagination. Jesus is who thought up dogs. And the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. And the feeling of that first sip of coffee in the morning. My mind explodes in a new level of worship when I’m reminded that everything – EVERYTHING – that I love was created by Jesus, out of his creativity. Amazing. I can’t recommend this read enough.
So that’s the list. I’ll be back in a year with my 2016 report. I try to keep a balance of personal development, spiritual development, professional development, and just fun recreational reads, to keep things interesting. Some of these I purchased, others I got through my IFTTT recipe that emails me when a book is free for Kindle.
If you have a book to recommend, leave it in the comments!