Books I’ve Read This Year

Hello friend! Welcome to a fresh, new week!  We’re jumping right into the second week of school after a nice, relaxing weekend.

It’s been super rainy here, which tends to have a relaxing effect on everything.  And my magnolia tree needs the rain.  I have to water her 10 minutes a day otherwise! But I’m happy to report she’s thriving!

Books I’ve Read This Year

In my morning routine, I try to read 10 pages of a book and have gotten through quite a few this year.  In this list, you’ll find a theme of intentional living and endurance athletes.  Two things I’ve gotten more and more interested in and been learning more about.

Books I've Read this Year


A new year often comes with ideas about healthy eating and I started the year with Food Rules.  This is a quick read with just one idea per page so it’s easily digestible.  His philosophy is quite simple – eat real food, mostly plants, not too much.  I took notes and have tried to incorporate these ideas and ways of eating into my everyday life.


Early in the year, I read Minimalista and fell in LOVE with it! So much so that I’ve actually reread it and still flip through it often.  It’s literally an encyclopedia, subtitled “your step-by-step guide to a better home, wardrobe and life.” I think what makes this book so special is that Shira Gill offers tips for creating a minimalist home, but one filled with personal style.  I’m definitely someone that leans toward minimalism, but still wants her home to feel beautiful and elevated with things she loves.  I felt like this book brought it all together in a practical way and there are stunning images in the book to help inspire your own minimalist journey.

  • The goal, of course, if to be able to spend more time living your best life and less time managing your stuff.


I love everything by Brene Brown, but Atlas of the Heart is different from her other books in that it’s almost more of a dictionary of all the different emotions we can feel. I loved how she brought in stories to illustrate these feelings and it’s a good reference book.

  • Love and belonging are irreducible needs for all people.  In the absence of these experiences, there is always suffering.
  • Belonging is a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. When we sacrifice who w are, we not only feel separate from others, but we even feel disconnected to ourselves.


It took me forever to get through The Artist’s Way, which is actually more of a workbook.  If you’re familiar with “morning pages” this is the book that coined that term, meaning the practice of writing three pages of stream of conscious thought, longhand, every single day. She also advocates for the Artist’s Date – a date, by yourself, where you get to indulge in something fun, just for you.  This book is said to unlock creativity in everyone that reads it and I can see how that is true.  I want to read through it again, actually completing all of the exercises.


Living in a house with a pre-teen boy that is on screens too much for my liking, I got into the several books about living a slower, more intentional life.  24/6 was absolutely intriguing about a family that takes a 24-hour sabbath from technology every.single.week.  They literally do not use their phones, tv, computer – nothing for 24 hours every week.  They kick this off on Friday night with a homemade dinner with friends, then spend all day Saturday technology free.  If they need directions, they print them out ahead of time.  The outcome sounds wonderful and even their kids say they look forward to this day each week.  I’ve never tried something like this, I don’t even know if I could do it.  We have started with “no phones in the car or at the dinner table.” Do you and your family do anything similar? I’d love to hear!


Slow– Simple Living for a Frantic World- I really liked Brooke McAlary’s realistic approach to slow living.  She even acknowledges that sometimes you have to “go fast to go slow” which feels like my life.

  • I work hard to get things done in order to give myself time for slow. But when the adrenaline rush or tight deadline or busy period expands to become the norm, I know I’ve shifted from right-paced to hectic.

YouTuber/blogger Jenny Mustard’s Simple Matters is a beautiful read with details about her Scandinavian lifestyle.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to relate to her, but I find her incredibly charming, someone I’d like to be friends with.


In April this year, I got interested in running more after I listened to David Goggins’ memoir  on Audible, Can’t Hurt Me.  The audio version is awesome because the co-author reads the chapters, then he and Goggins have a podcast style conversation where you get deeper insights into the material. If you aren’t familiar with Goggins, he’s a Navy Seal and endurance athlete that pushes himself to be the “baddest man on the planet.”  His real life is incredible, especially considering where he came from and what he’s been through.


After finishing Can’t Hurt Me, I dove into Rich Roll’s book, Finding Ultra.  Rich Roll is a vegan ultra endurance athlete who transformed his life from a miserable alcohol-addicted lawyer to a person that dug deep to discover his passion and purpose in life.  His podcast explores meaningful topics with extraordinary people and I’m soaking up those conversations.


And, if you like Can’t Hurt Me, you HAVE to read Living with a Seal.  It’s about the author’s (Jesse Itzler) invitation for Goggins to come live with him for a month and train him.  The results are meaningful, but also hilarious with several laugh-out-loud moments.  By the way, Itzler is married to Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx.


Now that I’m into my running groove- I ran 13.1 miles back in June and now I’m training for an actual race on October 30.  I’m currently reading Shut Up and Run, by popular Peleton instructor, Robin Arzon.


I read two of Gretchin Rubin’s books- Outer Order Inner CalmThe Happiness Project. I was less moved by Outer Order Inner Calm, but that’s because I think I already do most of what she recommended already.  It is a great book for those of you beginning a decluttering journey. A quick and easy read, one idea per page.

  • If I’m feeling overwhelmed by . . . I spend 20 minutes cleaning my office, because I know clearing my papers clears my mind


The Happiness Project was way more in-depth and I loved the way she set up monthly challenges as a way to try to become happier.  She really dives deep into each action she took, how it affected her and her relationships and how she inspired many along the way.


Soulful Simplicity is the book I just finished  and I highly recommend it.  After being diagnosed with MS, author Courtney Carver decided to overhaul her life, one small step at a time- getting rid of physical and mental clutter so that she could invite more peace and love into her life.  I highlighted the heck out of this book, but the biggest takeaways were:

  • We don’t remove the cutter, reduce the stress, and boycott business to have a simple life.  We do it to have a life. . . A life of purpose, connection, contribution, adventure, laughter, early mornings, quiet evenings, and love.
  • As you create more time, energy, space and attention to your life, use the simplicity to make a life you are excited to wake up to everyday. . .  better engage in relationships . . .  instill confidence to live where you want, work where you want, and most important, to finally be who you are.
  • I want more, but not more stuff.  I want more early mornings, more hiking and connecting with nature, more meaningful conversations and hand holding.  More seeing the world. More creativity. More crazy ideas.  More love. Always more love.

Courtney Carver is also the founder of Project 333, where you live with just 33 items in your closet for 3 months.  Which has inspired me to create a capsule wardrobe- just for one month- and share it with you here! Stay tuned for that coming up!

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What are you reading these days?  I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments so we can all see!

Now let’s go kick Monday’s booty!

p.s. if you want more like this, here’s a list of 15 life changing books 🙂

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. Thank you for your recommendations. I never seem to find the time to read. As a single mother, how do you carve out time for yourself and read?

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE when you share books. And please share any podcasts, you tube videos, etc. I love all things self-help, better ourselves, etc. I personally suggest The Bible 🙂 I read it daily and have forever. I read through the Bible in a year every single year. Keeps my focus and faith and walk with God so strong. Helps me rely on Him each day.


  3. Love this list! I added a few to my TBR list. I loved “The Artist’s Way” when I read and did the exercises a long time ago. Another great book on creativity is “How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci” – the book and the workbook are super fun. I just finished “Living Fully” by Mallory Ervin and really enjoyed it. My husband and I both read “Can’t Hurt Me” after you recommended it, and now we recommend it to everyone we know.

  4. Absolutely LOVED this list! Thank you so much for sharing it. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Adding them to my reading list. Allow us to join you on your next book. It could be like a virtual book club!

  5. I always ADORE your book recommendations and have purchased several in the past and really enjoyed them. Look forward to getting stuck in with some of these. Really appreciate this so, so much.

  6. I am so happy to see you have a cat & a dog!!
    So wonderful. Can’t wait to see how they end
    up being friends. 🙂
    I’m on my way out the door, but look forward
    to reading your entire post when I get home.

  7. Love this list! I’m actually an Orthodox Jew and do observe a Sabbath–I absolutely love it (it’s amazing how far away everyday stresses get when you’re not on your phone, iPad, TV, etc), but I do think it would be difficult to do alone and not within a community. Because we don’t drive on the Sabbath, I live physically very close to my friends in my community, and we are all in and out of each other’s houses all Friday night and Saturday. It’s both the most restful and the busiest day of the week:)

    1. I do recall the family I read about hosts a Friday night dinner with friends, and goes tech free starting then. They do drive, but any directions they need, they have to print before their Sabbath or ask for directions. It does take planning, but I can totally see the benefits.

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