Books I Read in 2016

  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert — This book kicked my butt, which was a great way to start my year. I deeply appreciated the letter she wrote to her fear at the beginning. Fear is something all creatives have to reconcile with. I pencil underlined so many lines about why I should write for myself first, how to capture creative ideas, and why I should do anything I’m curious to do.
  2. Rising Strong by Brene Brown — I learned so much from reading Daring Greatly a few years ago during an important phase of my life. Her research on vulnerability has helped me to understand and work through my old and new emotions in a mindful way. The focus of this book is learning how to stand up again after you fall, but I learned more about reframing the narratives we make up in our heads that may not be true. Her phrase “I’m making up that…” has been very helpful to me when dealing with my fears of what other people think of me and how I approach handling emotional situations.
  3. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport — Newport uses stories to debunk the advice of “follow your passion”. Instead he focuses on how people’s job experience leads them to do what makes them happy.
  4. Some Thoughts About Writing by Patrick Rhone — A helpful book about writing from an excellent writer.
  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho — This came as a highly recommended, lovely story, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as it has with others.
  6. This Could Help by Patrick Rhone — This is the latest collection of Rhone’s essays. He unpacks heavy topics with wisdom, great story-telling, and clarity. He writes about various relatable topics like minimalism, creativity, work, and just being a human.
  7. Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso — I missed reading this a few years ago when every creative lady I knew was reading it, but after I enjoyed a few episodes of her podcast, I decided to read the book that so many people praised. It was nice to learn her backstory, but I didn’t feel as encouraged and excited about her messages as other #girlbosses have worshiped her for. Plus, I couldn’t help but think about her current struggles with Nasty Gal while reading the book.
  8. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna — After I read her Medium post, I immediately needed to read the entire book. I couldn’t get enough! Luna writes about the things that we must do as creatives. It is a short read, but deeply encouraging for anyone who feels compelled to create.
  9. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler — A coming-of-age story about a 22 year old girl who moves to New York City and gets a job at a restaurant. Danler’s detailed story-telling makes it about so much more. This book was tough to put down, and I stayed up way too late many nights because of it. I quickly found a friend to loan the book to so we could discuss. (I’d also recommend Danler’s short story The Unravelers.)
  10. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick — Bruce and I attended her book tour event in Austin partnered with the Alamo Drafthouse. The interview was hilarious and clever, and her book was the same. I’d recommend this book to anyone who was in theatre growing up, was a misfit little girl, or is a fan of Anna Kendrick.
  11. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown — This is great place to start for anyone who is interested in Brene Brown’s emotional research and work. In it she defines a lot of the terms she writes about in her later books.
  12. Bird by Bird by Anne Lammot - (still reading) A book for writers.