My 2016 Reading List

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You WantLiving Forward by Michael Hyatt

Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind?

Too many of us are doing the former–and our lives are slipping away one day at a time. But what if we treated life like the gift that it is? What if we lived each day as though it were part of a bigger picture, a “plan”? That’s what “New York Times “bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy show us how to do: to design a life with the end in mind, determining in advance the outcomes we desire and path to get there. In this step-by-step guide, they share proven principles that help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that they can get from where they are now to where they really want to be–in every area of life.

 

The Heroes of Olympus by Rick RiordanThe Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

This is the spin-off series to the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series.

A new Great Prophecy, a new generation of demigods – the adventures have just begun! In this new five-book series, expect to see your old friends from the Percy Jackson books along with a great new cast of main characters, as the heroes of Camp Half-Blood embark on their most dangerous challenge yet.

Book One: The Lost Hero

Book Two: The Son of Neptune

Book Three: The Mark of Athena

Book Four: The House of Hades

Book Five: The Blood of Olympus

 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearBig Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare VanderpoolMoon Over Manifest

Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.

[…]

Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.

 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of LessEssentialism by Greg McKeown

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is asystematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.
Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn who to do less, but better, in every area of their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.

 

An Unhurried Life by Alan FaldingAn Unhurried Life: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest

The 2014 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit Winner (Spirituality) “I am a recovering speed addict.” Beginning with this confession, pastor and spiritual director Alan Fadling goes on to describe his journey out of the fast lane and into the rhythms of Jesus. Following the framework of Jesus’ earthly life, Fadling shows how the work of “unhurrying” ourselves is central to our spiritual development in such pivotal areas as resisting temptation, caring for others, praying and making disciples. Here is a book that affirms that we are called to work and to do work. Productivity is not a sin; it is the attitudes behind our work that can be our undoing. So how do we find balance between our sense of calling and the call to rest? An Unhurried Life offers a way.

 

Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and FormNarrative Design by Madison Smartt Bell

Focusing on the big picture as well as the crucial details, Bell examines twelve stories by both established writers (including Peter Taylor, Mary Gaitskill, and Carolyn Chute) and his own former students. A story’s use of time, plot, character, and other elements of fiction are analyzed, and readers are challenged to see each story’s flaws and strengths. Careful endnotes bring attention to the ways in which various writers use language. Bell urges writers to develop the habit of thinking about form and finding the form that best suits their subject matter and style. His direct and practical advice allows writers to find their own voice and imagination.

 

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppelSkybreaker (Matt Cruse, #2)

A legendary ghost ship. An incredible treasure. A death-defying adventure.

Forty years ago, the airship Hyperion vanished with untold riches in its hold. Now, accompanied by heiress Kate de Vries and a mysterious gypsy, Matt Cruse is determined to recover the ship and its treasures. But 20,000 feet above the Earth’s surface, pursued by those who have hunted the Hyperion since its disappearance, and surrounded by deadly high-altitude life forms, Matt and his companions soon find themselves fighting not only for the Hyperion—but for their very lives.

 

 

Millennial Orphan: Trust Your Struggle. God Is Stronger.Millennial Orphan by Levi Gideon Shepherd

Nothing ever came easy for Levi Shepherd. By age seventeen, he had suffered a life-threatening illness, an absent father, the loss of his mother, and staggering betrayals from those he trusted that left him homeless and wandering. Levi longed for something or someone to call his own.

Desperate for love, he found acceptance in a street gang. There he rose through the ranks to the number two spot: defending the leader.

Levi was hurtling down a road that could only lead to prison or death.

Enter God.

Even when Levi chose all the wrong roads, he caught glimpses of God and learned he was not alone. Levi tells his riveting story in a gritty, no-holds-barred style that will have you wondering how he ever survived at all, and leave you with the truth that he learned along the way.

Trust your struggle, God is stronger.

Rising Strong by Berne BrownRising Strong

The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. The author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, Brené Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom, and hope.

 

 

 

 

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien

The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Thus continues the magnificent, bestselling tale of adventure begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its soul-stirring climax in The Return of the King.

 

 

 

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed towards Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Smeagol–Gollum, still obsessed by his ‘precious’. After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive–in the hands of the Orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing. J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labeled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail.