At the beginning of the year I was so jacked up and excited for the power of reaiding. I put the Goodreads app back on my phone and set the goal to read 45 books this year. It’s already December and I’ve only read 24. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
But the ones I’ve read have been INCREDIBLE!
Here are my favorite books of the year:
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
If you let me, I can talk about this book for hours. Man’s deepest desire is to find meaning and purpose. When you have purpose, you can survive almost anything. That’s the theory Frankl, a psychologist, had before spending 5 years locked in concentration camps. Frankl talks about his experience with the most unimaginable suffering and how it showed him just how true his theory is. I know it sounds depressing but this short little book is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
This book is fascinating. Now that all the dust has settled— we’re far enough removed from the hysteria surrounding the Columbine shooting— Cullen puts together all of the facts and evidence to give a clear picture of what really happened. He does such a good job mapping it all out and showing how/why misinformation spread in the media. There’s so much that we think we know about the shooting that isn’t actually true. There’s one passage that particularly beautiful about how Christian parents handled the tragedy.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
It’s not a self help book. It’s science! Duhigg is a journalist who researched some of the most fascinating stories of how habits form and change who we are in our personal lives, in business, and in society. I learned SO MUCH. His podcast, Change Agent, is also worth checking out.
Out on the Wire by Jessica Abel
Do you love narrative journalism podcasts like This American Life, Serial, Reply All, or RadioLab? This graphic novel is the closest thing you’ll get to a textbook on how to make a show like that. I’ve listened to SO MANY Ira Glass interviews but this thing has some of the best advice he’s ever given.
How to Think? by Alan Jacobs
I’ve written about this book before (The Courage to be Wrong & Stop Arguing, The War is Over) and I’m sure I could keep writing about it for months. Feeling discouraged because of all the Facebook fights you keep seeing? Have you given up on paying attention to politics because it doesn’t look like anyone will ever change their mind? Jacobs does such a great job diagnosing the problems with our discourse and disagreements and gives very simple explanations for how we can fix things. Loved it.
I thought about making this post a list of things I’d recommend as Christmas presents but I realized most of them are actually pretty big bummers and wouldn’t be good gifts. No one wants to wake up Christmas morning to a brand new book about Columbine or concentration camps.
But books are great gifts none the less!