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Books I Read and Loved During 2015

{Please note: I shared this article with my newsletter subscribers a few weeks ago. I’m sharing the essay again because multiple readers have asked for book recommendations. Plus, I will continue to add books to my list until the end of 2015. If you’re interested in receiving my little letter, subscribe here.}

Photography by Tammy Strobel

Good books make me laugh, cry, forget my problems, expose me to new ideas, and help me feel more connected to the world. Also, my love of reading inspired me to start RowdyKittens.com to improve my writing and share my stories.

During 2015, I read over 40 books, and there’s still a few months left in the year! I tend to gravitate toward memoirs and books that focus on creative living and writing because I love personal stories, and I’m always on the look out for writing tips and advice.

Plus, I have to catch-up on reading because books weren’t a big part of my childhood, tween, or high school years. I did the required reading in school, but I was more interested in boys, competitive skiing, swimming, and television. It wasn’t until I started college that the book bug bit me. Today, books are a regular part of my diet (kind of like coffee). I can’t get enough.

Today, I’m sharing a list of the books I read and loved during 2015. The list is in no particular order. I’ve also broken the list down into categories. I hope my reading list inspires you to turn off the TV (or your screen of choice) and head to your local library or bookstore.

Communication & Media Studies

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle


Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart by Susannah Conway

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

In the Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection by Eve Ensler

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock


The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors by Sarah Stodola


Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry

What It Is by Lynda Barry

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

Lovable Livable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You by Sherry Petersik and John Petersik

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Physical & Emotional Health

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Woman Code by Alisa Vitti

The Five Languages of Love by Gary D. Chapman


Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins

Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change by Leo Babauta

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

The Lost Husband by Katherine Center

What books did you enjoy reading in 2015? 

BIg Magic

Before you go, I have two pieces of business news and updates to share.

First, I’m contributing to A Simple Year: Twelve Months of Guided Simplicity, again. I will guide course participants through the digital and relationships segments of the course, and I’m looking forward to it. If you purchase the course before November 20, 2015, you’ll get 25% off the class.

Second, I’ve been writing my Everyday Adventures Creative Guide. The guide is a bonus that comes with the purchase of my 2016 wall calendar or planner. Learn more here.

With gratitude,

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kat McCormick November 17, 2015, 9:18 am

    Thanks for a great list! I’ve bookmarked this page for future reference!

  • Jason November 18, 2015, 7:00 am

    Hi Tammy:

    Great list! I have read a few of these and found some others I would like to read. I also want to thank you. I have been reading your blog, books, and guest articles from the beginning. You have had a big impact on my life. I moved from a 2000 square foot house to a 380 sf cabin and sold everything I don’t use on a regular basis. I only focus on activities that bring me happiness and also became debt free.

    Like you, I have been running my own business for the past six years. I’m trying to figure out what my next step is. I love what I do, but working for myself has become a bit isolating. Let us know what you decide to do.

    Best Wishes,

    • Tammy Strobel November 18, 2015, 9:59 am


      Thank you for sharing your story and for reading my words. I’m so touched. I’m still sorting the work stuff out. I don’t have any firm answers, but I’ll be sure to let folks know if I make a career change. Thank you again! Your comment made me HAPPY!


  • Lisa McLoughlin November 19, 2015, 10:21 am

    Such a useful list thank you. i will be bookmarking this post. thank you

  • Martina November 20, 2015, 4:12 am

    What an impressive and carefully chosen list. It shows which areas of your life you are working on – and you are quite serious! My reading habits are less deliberate, I fear, and I tend to choose fiction as a way of escapism… Right now, it feels right for me.
    Do you own all those book or do you have a good library? Mine doesn’t have the quite recent ones, or there is a waiting list. On the other hand, I don’t want to buy every book I read – how do you handle it?
    Very belated birthday congratulations and best to you from Germany, Martina

    • Tammy Strobel November 20, 2015, 7:53 am

      Martina, sadly we don’t have a good library in my community. I purchased about 90% of the books on my list and was happy to do so. I love supporting fellow authors and publishing houses. After I’m done reading books, I give them to friends or to the library. I have roughly 10 books in my personal library. I only keep the books that I’m currently referencing (or books I want to re-read).

      I’d love to read a little more fiction before the year ends. Do you have any book recommendations for me?

      Thanks for leaving a comment!


      • Martina November 20, 2015, 11:13 pm

        Maybe you don’t know how much impact you have on the lives of your readers – you give us so much with your blog, your photos, your inspiration to lead a more thoughtful life. In return, I would love to do you a little favor and recommend some fiction. But tastes are quite different. I just hope there is something in it for you!
        I thought of novels with a diary for you especially ;-):
        Isabel Allende, Maya’s Notebook – she is and has been a novelist I just cannot resist
        Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lissabon – a story about a man who changes his life radically (a notebook also plays an important role)
        D.E. Stevenson, Miss Buncle’s Book – a hilarious 1930ies novel about how a book changes a whole village
        Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers – finally, one recent novel and the only one without a writer in it, I think!
        Hope you find the right book for cozy November nights!

        • Tammy Strobel November 21, 2015, 7:15 am

          Thank you for the kind words and book recommendations! I can’t wait to check them out. I’m looking forward to reading a lot of fiction in December. Thank you again!! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness. Xo.

  • Carlana November 22, 2015, 2:01 am

    Been reading your blog for a while and have enjoyed it over the years. I own so many books on your list!

    • Tammy Strobel November 22, 2015, 8:09 am

      Thank you!!! Reading is so fun. 😉