I love the week between Christmas and New Years Day, as we usually have a little more time for reflection and taking stock. I have been going through my notebooks and Think File to fill out my PowerSheets and make good goals for next year, and I’m getting excited to see what 2018 holds.
I stopped counting how many books I read every year, because it’s always somewhere between 130-170 and who really cares? What most people are interested in is which ones I liked best. So here are my top ten for 2017, in reverse chronological order, because that’s how I sorted on GoodReads:
High Performance Habits – I haven’t reviewed this one yet, because I just finished it, but I’m already implementing a lot of what I learned. This book uses actual research to uncover the habits that high performers in all walks of life–from CEOs to students to stay-at-home parents–have in common. Some of the results are surprising.
Acts for Everyone – This two-part book comprises a lot of theology about the book of Acts in small, easily digestible chunks. Wright’s style is engaging and his insights into the historical setting are amazing. I have read Acts a bunch of times before, but I learned so much from this book.
Lab Girl – This book came out of nowhere and surprised me with its depth and fascinating content. If you’re a memoir reader, definitely make time for this one.
The Knight’s Fee – Rosemary Sutcliff is a perennial favorite, and this book set in England at the time of the Norman Conquest made a terrific read aloud.
Eifelheim – Kind of weird and definitely genre-bending, this novel combined terrific historical fiction with physics and sci-fi. Sounds like a problem, but trust me, this was a fantastic book.
The Shadow Land – Thank you, Elizabeth Kostova, for continuing to turn out incredible novels set in Eastern Europe. Travel there is currently beyond my budget, but thankfully I can keep reading. All of Kostova’s novels are exquisite mysteries combined with terrific settings and just a hint of folktale.
Mere Motherhood – If you’re a mother, you might need to read this one for inspiration and encouragement. I can’t promise you won’t cry.
Matterhorn – This difficult but engrossing novel tracks a company of young men–mostly kids–during a short window of the Vietnam War. I feel like more people need to read this book to get a feel for the impact of modern war, and to have compassion for veterans.
When Breath Becomes Air – This extremely poignant memoir underscores the value of a deep liberal arts education for everyone–even surgeons–because truth and beauty are important in any life path.
Deep Work – I didn’t immediately call it as a top read, but Deep Work stuck with me, and I found myself referring back to Newport’s ideas and frameworks throughout the year–making valuable changes to how I work and also how I weigh opportunities.
This is also the time of year when a lot of good time management and goal setting and getting organized type stuff comes out. In case you’re also a fan of these resources, here are a few you might find interesting:
- I’m signed up for this habits workshop. I always get a lot out of products from Simplified Organization, and the focus on distilling habit and planning wisdom into applications for moms and women juggling multiple roles is invaluable.
- This is a FREE meal planning boot camp. I find that planning meals–at least in a loose fashion–really helps clear up my mental space.
- I got a Motiv ring for my birthday and it FAR outstrips other fitness trackers. It’s unobtrusive, waterproof, holds a charge for three days, counts accurately, and tracks steps, heart rate, active minutes, and sleep. I find this far superior than just tracking steps. The heart rate targets help me figure out what I’m really getting done, and the sleep tracking shows me interesting trends so I can make better choices. If you’re interested, this link will take $20 off the price (that’s a good deal).
How are you spending the last week of 2017? What are you looking forward to in the new year?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.