I love reading. I like to hold a book in my hands, turn the pages, and get totally lost in a story. I also enjoy reading books on my phone through the NOOK App. I usually read 2-3 different books at a time–some on my phone, and some “in person,” or physically.
I enjoy most genres of books, but memoirs and true stories are my absolute favorite. I also like fiction, and informational-type books. I often jump from topics such as dog training to romance, to parenting to swimming. I love it all, and that’s why the “challenge” of reading 50 books in a year doesn’t feel much like a challenge to me!
I didn’t read 50 books in 2013, but I came fairly close. Here are my top 10 picks from 2013:
1. I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model. In 2011, 21-year-old Kylie Bisutti quit her job as a Victoria’s Secret model to pursue her faith more adamantly. This is a great story, and I couldn’t put this book down. I also felt bad for her in many parts of the book when she described the modeling world and how she was treated.
2. You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again: The True Adventures of a Hollywood Nanny. This book chronicles a small-town Oregon native’s stint as a nanny for celebrity families. It was a light and funny read, but also exposed how attached some nannies become to the children they watch, and the emotional aftermath the author experienced after switching families.
3. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. This book was very intriguing! A former American reporter moved to France and learned to raise her children the “French way.” She claims that the French raise their children to be gourmet eaters and good sleepers, and that parents in France are much more relaxed than parents in America. If you’re interested in different parenting styles, you should definitely read this book.
4. You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You. Holley Gerth, blogger and author, writes about discovering the big dreams God gives to each person, and discusses how to pursue them. This book was extremely motivational, and inspired me to create Hearty Handfuls!
5. Off Balance: A Memoir. Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic team at 14-years-old. Her memoir describes her life before and after the Olympics and how she discovered that she had a second sister who was given away at birth. This book had me hooked because I used to be a gymnast, and could relate to a lot the situations she described in the gymnastics world.
6. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. After the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed hiked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Washington State by herself. Once I could get over the massive amount of swearing, I really enjoyed this book.
7. Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole. In this book, the author makes the point that many women are quick to encourage others and let them know that there is no one too “broken” for God to use and love. She also points out that many women state affirmations like that to others, but don’t believe it about themselves. Mended is all about how faith through our everyday lives, especially the broken parts, can glorify God.
8. Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind. I was wary of reading a book by Joyce Meyer because she claims to be a minister while the Bible clearly states that women aren’t to be ministers in the church. Anyways. This book is about fighting against negative emotions such as worry, doubt, confusion, condemnation, and depression–feelings that Meyer claims don’t come from God. Meyer places importance on focusing one’s mind on the way God thinks, by quoting scriptures like Philippians 4:8. This is a good read if you struggle with guilt, or other negative emotions.
9. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. Author and marriage counselor Gary Chapman believes that couples divorce because they don’t prepare for marriage, and fail to learn the skills of working together as teammates. Chapman notes all of the things he wishes he’d known before he married his wife. The book contains questions that lead to heart-felt discussions for dating or engaged couples. I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend this book if you’re dating someone or considering getting married.
10. Cesar’s Way: The Natural Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems. This book has totally changed my relationship with my family’s dogs. Cesar Millan breaks down dog psychology in this book and helps owners to have more satisfying relationships with their dogs. He also explains what dogs really need to live a happy life–exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order. I loved this book because I am someone who used to let my family’s dogs “walk all over me,” and learned about the energy I project and how dogs can sense energy. I know it sounds weird, but I’m telling you, it has really made a difference for me. I also learned just how important the daily walk is to a dog. I recommend this book to all dog owners because it can help one understand and strengthen their relationship with their dog.
Did you read any good books in 2013?