2017 Reading Challenge: 18 down, 12 to go

Happy Labor Day, friends! I hope you’ve had a relaxing long weekend full of food and football. And reading! I was able to start and finish a book this weekend, which was fantastic. I need to recap July AND August on this post, though sadly my books finished won’t reflect two full months of reading. Summer got away from me this year!

15. Daring Greatly: How The Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

16. The Women In The Castle by Jessica Shattuck

17. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

18. Happier At Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, And My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin


Daring Greatly. I was able to finish this book on my flight home from Hoopla. Unfortunately, Brene Brown fell and got a concussion two days before she was supposed to speak at my Stella & Dot conference (!!!), so she was unable to attend. The S&D Chief Happiness Officer (that’s his real title) pulled some major strings and was able to secure Shawn Achor to speak in Brene’s place. (I use her first name like we’re friends or something.) I was bummed about Brene, but let me tell you that Shawn was amazing!!!! I’ve read one of his books, The Happiness Advantage, so I was familiar with his research. His speech was funny, informative, enlightening, and just all around wonderful. But back to Daring Greatly… I liked it a lot. It’s about how feeling vulnerable is actually the best way to be courageous, connected, and empowered. It’s technically in the self-help genre, but don’t let that deter you! Her newer book Rising Strong is definitely on my “to-read” list. Oh and I forgot that her brand new book Braving The Wilderness just came out too!

The Women In The Castle. I read this book for my very first book club’s very first book club meeting! I am so excited to be in a book club #nerdalert. This novel is historical fiction set in Bavaria (southern Germany) before, during, and after World War II. I don’t think I’d ever read a WWII novel set in Germany before; I enjoyed the perspective shift. After the 1944 failed assassination attempt on Hitler, three women (widows of slain German resistors) escape to a castle to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the war. It was right up my alley, and it did not disappoint.

The Nightingale. Soooo I didn’t shift too far for my next book pick. This novel is also historical fiction during WWII, but set in France instead. It tells the story of two sisters living very different lives in Paris and the French countryside who must band together to survive. Neither that description nor the one on GoodReads does this book justice. It was SO. GOOD. Y’ALL. If you only read one historical fiction novel this year, PICK THIS ONE. It was better than The Women In The Castle, although that book was still great.

Happier At Home. I love Gretchen Rubin. I listen to her podcast “Happier” without fail every week. I read her first book The Happiness Project last year. Her newest book The Four Tendencies launches September 12 (it was most certainly pre-ordered back in May), and she is coming to Dallas on her book tour!! A friend and I have tickets to the author reception #nerdalert #again, and I am giddy. Her books are not page turners per se, but they are super interesting. I wanted to get almost up to speed (still haven’t read Better Than Before) by the time I see her next week (next week!). This was an easy read. [And in case you don’t know what “the four tendencies are,” they are a personality framework that Gretchen developed (again with the first name basis) that I find super fascinating. Take the quiz to find out what your tendency is HERE.]

Current 2017 Reading Challenge stats:

(The 19th book was technically read in September, so it won’t be included until next month’s recap!)

Currently Reading: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. It became available at my library, so I had to scoop it up because it’s always on hold. The author joined Anne Bogel on Episode 78 of her podcast “What Should I Read Next” (favorite of all time I think), so I had to add it to my ever-evolving “to read” list. It’s another historical fiction novel (#surprise!) but set in 1791 on a plantation in Virginia. It’s a slight change for me, and I hope I love it!

On Deck: Dreamland Burning (also picked up from the library) and then probably The Sound of GravelI scored that book in a Kindle daily deal. I need to change it up from historical fiction. I’m a sucker for a memoir, then throw in radical Mormonism and I’m all about it.

In The Hole: Since We Fell. I picked this book (my Book of the Month Club pick in May) for my next book club meeting, which isn’t until mid-October, so I haven’t read it yet. I will be leading the discussion, eek! Any tips for a newbie book clubber?

I’ve got four months to read 11 books! That’s one book per week and a half… I think I can do it!

What have you been reading lately?