Why do I read?

My primary reason for reading is to become a better writer. The hard part about that is the more that I read, the more I feel that my own writing is inadequate. There are simply thousands of brilliant wordsmiths out there and I am just little old me. But that means there is room to grow, and reading beautiful words and stories motivates me every day.

I also read to grow personally and to calm myself down. Reading helps with my anxiety and I learn a lot from the non-fiction and even fiction books I pick up. Reading has stepped in to enrich my life in times of great pain and loneliness, and I am so thankful.

This list is a couple of my five-star reads from the year. This doesn’t mean these are new books- I rarely read brand new books because I get most from the library or used book sales or stores. I have to save up my money to buy a brand new book and it’s always a hard choice because there so many to choose from!

Let me know if you find a winner for your own reading list, I’d love to hear what you think of the book.

       1. OPEN by Andre Agassi 


My number one pick is a book that has left me speechless. I made a YouTube book review but it is slow and boring because I am so in awe of the book, I can’t even describe it with words. This is a seriously magnificent work of art.

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2.       I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell

The crazy part about this book is that it is non-fiction. Out of the seventeen chapters, several of them are quite severe. It was thrilling and scary, but also sweet and precious as she brings in her present journey with her daughter’s illness.

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3.       Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

I have talked about how counseling has been transformative in my life, and reading about a therapist’s perspective as she counsels patients was incredibly fascinating. The behind-the-scenes peek was everything I thought it would be and more.

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4.       The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I related to the main character of this book as she was unable to have children. Though it was fiction and somewhat magical, I felt every second of it to be real. Very beautiful winter read, (even if I am amongst palm trees in Florida).

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5.       Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia by Henry Jay Przybylo

Having gone under anesthesia three times and experiencing life as the daughter of a doctor, I was hungry to hear about the person who administers the sleepy drugs. I plowed through the book, devouring the information including the history of anesthesia, and then I checked the facts with one of my Adult Spanish students who holds the same profession. I gained a new respect and admiration for the complexity of her job.

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6.       The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

The hardest part about this book was learning of her death shortly after she finished writing. It was poetic, meaningful, heartbreaking and brave.

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7.       Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I hadn’t read this classic from one of my favorite authors and I am so glad I finally did. It is an absolute miracle that she makes this novel work. No other person could have done what she did, it was that complex. I loved all the different languages represented and the relationships formed, some in closets in the middle of the night and some right out in the open.

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8.       Too Small to Understand Why: A Memoir of Caring for Rabbits, Turtles, Hamsters… and Faith by Kevin Patton

I loved reading my husband’s book because he brings so much hope to difficult circumstances. Yes, I lived most of the stories right alongside him. But his teacher-pastor heart is so evident in the pages and I learned something new every single chapter.

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9.       Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines

I respect the way the author broke down his own walls to connect us to the matter of sobriety. It was interesting to read about his mistakes; his one step forward and two steps back kind of stories. He didn’t wrap everything up in the end but he did give us constant glimmers of hope, and that was enough.

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10.   Chasing the Bright Side: Embrace Optimism, Activate Your Purpose, and Write Your Own Story by Jess Ekstrom

 I admire this young entrepreneur’s spirit and hope to encourage others the way she has. Her voice is easy to read, relatable and very empowering, much like Rachel Hollis’ books. Full review is posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHIDw6RWvas&t=16s

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Happy reading, friends!