Are you looking for some good reads for 2016? I devoured more books in 2015 than I had in recent years thanks to Amazon’s Audible, and thought maybe you, my blog friends, would be interested in adding a few of the titles I enjoyed to your 2016 reading list.
My book addiction started even earlier than my horse addiction! With a long commute on LA freeways, a horse to ride, two dogs who need attention and a horse husband who requires regular upkeep, I have not been able to read as much as I would like the past few years. However, thanks to my Audible subscription, last year I listened to most of my books on the go. Here are 21 good reads that made me laugh, cry, and learn in 2015. By the way, this post contains affiliate links.
1.The Essential Fergus the Horse by Jean Abernethy –You might recall my review on this charming title which is part Fergus comic strips and part history of Jean’s horse craziness, detailing how her artistic talents birthed the bay cartoon gelding.
2. Suffering in Silence by Jochen Schleese–Truth be told I’m still reading this one and digesting it in small bits. The subtitle is “The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses.” Gulp. This book by the former dressage rider, now saddle maker specializing in saddles for women, is extremely detailed with pictures and charts. “Saddle fitting is nothing more than attempting to prevent long-term damage to the horse by avoiding pressure on the reflex points, and to distribute the rider’s weight optimally on the horse’s back,” says Schleese. It is a simple subject, but very complex. I hope to do a more detailed review down the road.
3. Stable Relation by Anna Blake–Anna is a dressage trainer in Colorado who blogs about her herd and life on the prairie. To read my review on her memoir, click here. And if you haven’t visited her blog yet, give it a gander.
4. Lucky in Life by Martine Greenlee–Martine is another fellow horse blogger over at Tails from Provence. She hails from Ireland, but now lives with her husband and horses (and dogs) in France. Martine is a knowledgeable horsewoman possessing great wit. She frequently posts photos from her travels around Europe. The recent mountain shots of Chamonix had my skier husband eager to hop on a plane. Martine has a series of seven $.99 horsey ebooks you should definitely check out on Amazon.
I love my horse husband, but living with another human being who isn’t my clone can be tricky at times. Our communication styles are quite different and that leads to misunderstanding, which can lead to conflict. These two books have been a big help and are good reads for 2016.
5. The Language of Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs–(Recommended by a couple who leads a marriage class at our church.) The premise for this book is that a woman’s primary need is to feel loved and a man’s primary need is to feel respected. There’s a Crazy Cycle when intentionally or (usually in our case) unintentionally, one partner says or does something that is interpreted as unloving or disrespectful. Sparks fly, feelings are hurt, etc. The author promotes steps toward kicking the Crazy Cycle in the teeth by implementing the Energizing Cycle.
6. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman–This book has been around for decades and the concepts are applicable to most relationships, not just marriage. The thesis is that people have inherent ways of giving love and thus receiving/experiencing love. For example, some people are big on words of affirmation or quality time or giving gifts, etc. If a partner (or child or friend) feels most valued by spending significant quality time with you, but you experience love and also give it through verbally communicating “I love you,” or “You’re important to me,” in words and you can survive with limited spurts of time together, the time person will not have his or her love tank filled. Figure out which love language you prefer and the preferences of those you love!
7. The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
You don’t have to be a vegan to drool over the amazing photos and recipes in the Oh She Glows Cookbook. What I love about this book containing 100 vegan recipes, is every single recipe I’ve made has been delicious! None of the ingredients are overly fancy, requiring a trip to a speciality market. The maple-cinnamon apple & pear baked oatmeal, velvety pumpkin pie smoothie, and roasted brussels sprouts with fingerling potatoes and rosemary were divine.
If you need a good laugh, look no further. It’s fun to hear the author read the book; hearing their intonations and particular voices when they mimic others is art. Need some humorous good reads for 2016? These are my favorites.
8. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan–If you’ve never seen Jim Gaffigan perform, do yourself a favor. Stop reading this right now and click here to watch one of his stand up shows. The longsleeve sunshirt riff totally cracks me up. And the Disney bit. His McDonald’s and Hot Pockets schtick are equally hilarious.
9. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson–This memoir is out of control. Lawson, The Bloggess, tells the story of growing up goth in a small town in Texas. There are crazy taxidermy stories and a chapter where she is on a high school field trip and somehow is recruited to take part in artificially inseminating a cow in front of a class of FFA-type guys. A+ for wackiness. (I need to warn that she has a potty mouth which might be a turnoff.)
Non-Fiction (Writing and Leadership)
10. Tribes by Seth Godin–This one’s about how people can be more connected via modern-day technology and there are myriad opportunities for leadership in the online world. This new model for communities to form based on passion and affinity transcends geography. An example that struck me is the online horse world. I’m connected to many fabulous people around the globe whom I’ve never met and we help each other, support our horse addiction, and inspire each other–we’re all bound together based on our horse niche.
11. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins–The title alone was/is self-affirming and a kick in the pants! Jeff Goins gives personal insights into how he began blogging and turned his writing into a career (which happened as he was working a regular day job). One Amazon reviewer described this book really well: half marketing book and half pep talk.
I confess I’m not a big fiction reader. I want to be, but I really love learning new things and hearing real-life stories. (If you have wonderful fiction titles to recommend, especially ones that I can listen to on Audible, I’m all ears.)
12. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary–It takes place in Paris which is good enough for me. The story is from multiple viewpoints of characters. Original storyline and a conclusion I did not see coming. Beautiful sensory details. Did I mention it’s French?
13. Miracle at Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado–A sweet story which takes place at a coffee shop. About redemption and hope. The storyline is partially unbelievable–God having a blog, but it was cute and uplifting. And there were cupcakes in it. I’ve read many other Max Lucado books through the years, but never his fiction. He’s a wonderfully descriptive writer.
I’m a huge fan of the memoir genre; I hope to publish my own one day. I have had enough crazy men stories and sweet horse stories to make for a complete book. I’d call it Gaits and Dates or From Bridle Path to Bridal Path or Horses Adored, Men Endured: A Horse Lover’s Dating Memoir. More on that another time. . .
Here are my good reads for 2016 that are memoirs and autobiographies:
14. I’ve Never Been to Vegas, but My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale–If you’re familiar with the Twitter account The Single Woman, that’s her. Mandy shares her journey from her first boyfriend in high school to her dream job working in the country music industry where she meets some A-list entertainers, to her struggles with anxiety, along with some intense dating experiences. Listening to this book felt like I had a new friend commuting with me, baring her soul. I could picture so many of the wacky incidents. She is a woman of faith and humor and has the best Southern twang.
15. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela–This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time, but the sheer length of it scared me. I LOVED this book!!! It is definitely one of my favorite good reads for 2016. I think it should be required reading in high school. There’s so much to say. I knew the general story of Nelson Mandela’s life, but the details of his work fighting injustice were hair raising. What a smart, dedicated, dignified man he was. He was kind to everyone he encountered, even his enemies. And I had no idea he started a garden mid-way through his 27 years behind bars. He grew crops such as tomatoes and shared them with his fellow prisoners AND the prison personnel!
16. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton–I’ve seen Glennon’s Momastery blog posts circulating around on Facebook, but never took much notice since I thought it was geared more toward moms of young kids. I don’t have my own human children, so I didn’t think her stories would be for me. Boy, was I wrong. Glennon has done a TED talk in which she talks about her struggle with addictions and bulimia and how people were born to be truth tellers. She says all she ever needed to know she learned in a mental hospital.
17. Scary Close by Donald Miller–I’ll admit I’ve been a Donald Miller fan since the early 2000’s, after reading Blue Like Jazz. I’ve heard him speak a number of times as well as have attended his Storyline conference. He is another author who has the ability to make you feel like you’re a friend he’s sharing his ups and downs with. This book details the way he met and married his wife Betsy (which was remarkable because he struggled for years with commitment and masking his true self–he married later in life).
18. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis–This young woman is a hero. She up and left her comfortable suburban life after high school graduation and moved to Uganda to teach and work in an orphanage. Needless to say, her parents were hoping she’d go to college. The education she received was in the form of becoming an adoptive single mother to 13 little girls by the age of 23.
19. Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham by Billy Graham–Billy and I went to the same college (decades apart, mind you). He’s a remarkable individual and has lived out his calling faithfully for 90-some years. As pastor/friend to Presidents starting with Eisenhower to both Bushes, his simple life story is not just about faith, but a historical perspective on post-World War II to post-911 America.
20. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker–Jen is another writer/blogger I had heard of via Facebook. Apparently she and her family had a TV show on HGTV, Your Big Family Renovation (I haven’t seen it). She is extremely funny and not ashamed to share all parts of her life (including warts). This book was interesting because over the course of seven months, Jen fasted from seven various excesses in order to focus on family, friends, and faith, turning her excesses into justice for the poor. P.S. she’s big on adoption with two of her five kids being FO’s (former orphans).
21. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker–I liked her writing style so much I had to go for a second.
There you have it: 21 good reads for 2016. Have you read any of these or do you have additional titles to suggest? What books are currently on your nightstand or electronic devices, waiting for you to turn the next page? Share your own good reads for 2016!
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