Real Life

{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’ve added more books to my reading list. 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 to improve my writing and share my stories.

During 2015, I read over 30 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


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

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

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,

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