emily howard

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My Year in Reading: 15 Books in 2017

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Goodreads 2017 Books

This post was originally published in December 2017.

Here are this year's books I've read! Enjoy!

The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria: I read this for work when we hosted the author for an event at Mason, but it was such a quick and powerful read! If you don't know much about the Chibok Girls, consider reading this or at least doing some research into the horrible kidnappings. 

Ready Player One: I thought this book was super fun (despite some plot holes...) and read it in anticipation for the movie that will be released in March 2018. *UPDATE IN 2018: I still have not seen this movie >.<*

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns): If you're a human, this is a real fear. Mindy Kaling is hilarious and this was a fantastic audiobook! Her pal B.J. Novak reads portions in it.

What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: I almost considered not including this on here but.. it IS a book I read in 2017. It just reads a little more like a collection of articles or blog posts (which is fine!) but I'm fascinated by morning routines so if you are too, pick up this little book!

When Breath Becomes Air: This is another audiobook I listened to thanks to Overdrive from my local library *UPDATE IN 2018: I actually have Audible now but if you like audiobooks Overdrive is easy and FREE! You just might have to wait a bit for titles to be available.* Only listen to this if you want to cry your eyes out on the way to work. This book is heartbreaking, but don't let that stop you from reading it. It is BEAUTIFULLY written.

The Magician King: So, I'm not sure how this snuck onto this list because I actually read it in 2016 but... maybe I finished it in 2017. I feel like that's why it's here. STILL COUNTS.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail: One more audiobook I got from the library, this one was a good companion on a road trip I took for a friend's birthday to the mountains in Charlottesville. I had seen the movie so I knew the general story, but the audiobook was a great listen! I only wish Cheryl Strayed was the one actually narrating it.

The Handmaid's Tale: I read this in anticipation of the TV series (you'll notice I do that a lot, reading to prep for a movie or TV show) annnnnd could only stomach one episode. I'm just never in the right mindset to be super bummed out by this show. The book should be required reading though and I'm kicking myself for never having read it before (it was never assigned to me in high school). 

Dear Committee Members: This epistolary novel has a very....very limited audience. I picked this up in the George Mason Library and I feel like someone who works in a university English department would be best served by it. It's still extremely funny though, and worth a read if you work on a college campus (shit, even if you've just gone to college.) *UPDATE IN 2018: A sequel was recently released!

The Woman in Cabin 10: *deep sigh* SO I liked this book. I really did. The ending though was just...not super crazy? Not plausible either though... It's hard to explain so I won't spoil it. But it was a fun read if that's what you're going for!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: Sometimes I just browse the children's section here in the library and pick something out that I feel like Younger Emily should have read. This is one of those books. Don't be like me. This book is adorable.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration: This book was fantastic. I don't think you have to love or even like Pixar to appreciate this book, as it leans heavily on the author's life and lessons learned about management (as well as his close personal and professional relationship with Steve Jobs). Ed Catmull is the President of Pixar and Disney and I found his writing funny and digestible (for a "business" book anyway). *UPDATE IN 2018: It's awkward to read about John Lasseter in light of the misconduct allegations, but he played an important part in Pixar's success. It's unfortunate that it was at the expense of their employees' comfort and safety.*

Murder in the Yoga Store: I got this as a free Kindle Single, but it's exactly what it sounds like... a book about the super fucked-up Lululemon murder that happened in 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Ugh. This book goes into A LOT of detail that might be upsetting for some, but I couldn't put it down. This is one that reads as a long-form journalism piece, and really finds a way to honor and remember the victim Jayna Murray.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste: Longest title award goes to this book! Here's a fun breezy read about the underbelly of the wine industry, and one that makes me glad I'm not in the restaurant business. There are some good tips about how to order wine in restaurants, but in a "here's how restaurants try to trick you so don't fall for it" way. This one took me the longest to read because I would pick it up and put it down intermittently, which isn't a bad thing for a book like this. It was a good book to pass the time and slowly consume, like a bottle of fine wine.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things: This was another pick-up-put-down book for me, written as a series of essays about the author's debilitating (but hilarious?) anxiety. Read this if you're curious about the insane raccoon on the cover. You won't be disappointed.