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Favorite Authors

I rely on book lists as well as personal recommendations, in part because I love hearing why people think I should read certain books. One of my favorites is 200 Books Recommended by TEDsters. Each speaker gave an explanation for what they liked about the books they were recommending, which helps me have context and decide what to read for myself.

And no, “I love it” is not good enough – unless I already know we have similar taste in books. Which brings me to the best part of personal recommendations. Over time, you learn who has similar taste in books to you. Or sometimes, if I hear someone has a predilection for the same authors I love, then I’m more likely to enjoy other books they recommend.

Lastly, there are my personal favorite authors. The ones I forget about, then remember and reread or find a new book by. In an effort to forget them less frequently, and perhaps introduce you to a new author you’ll enjoy, here’s my list.

Current Fiction

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Judy Bloom
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Classics

  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Betty Smith
  • Leo Tolstoy

Sci-fi/Fantasy

  • Isaac Asimov
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • NK Jemison
  • Erika Johansen
  • Garth Nix

Mystery

  • Agatha Christie
  • Stephen King

Then there are authors I wouldn’t consider “favorites” but I’m always happy to read or recommend. We’ll call them the Runner’s Up:

  • Tim O’Brien
  • Michael Crichton
  • Marisha Pessl
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • William Goldman
  • John Irving
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Books 2016

Every year I track the books I read, and rate each on a personally subjective scale:

  • * I couldn’t finish reading it, I hated it so much
  • ** I finished the book, but I wish I had the hours back I spent on it
  • *** It was about as expected, glad I read it but I wouldn’t recommend it
  • **** I really enjoyed reading the book, and would definitely recommend it to others
  • **** I MUST OWN THIS NOW! I want to reread it over and over and over

Looking for past years? Here’s 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. This year, the best books I read were Contagious, by Jonah Berger, A Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and Travels with Charlie, by John Steinbeck. My favorite by far was A Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve read Atwood’s The Blind Assassin (twice) and couldn’t stand it, but now I can’t wait to read more by her.

Without further ado, this year’s book list: Continue Reading

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Recommended reading: Contagious

Very few books get a 5 star rating from me. 5 stars, to me, means this book was so fantastic that I want to own it, so that I can reread it again and again. The few books that do get this rating tend to be classics (e.g. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Little Women, War and Peace), or really well written sci fi/fantasy (e.g. Words of Radiance, Queen of the Tearling). I’m not sure I’ve ever before read a “work” book that I rated 5 stars, but here I am, about to buy Contagious, because I can’t let another minute go by without having this book to reference.

If you’re a content creator, content strategist, content marketer, or in any other way touch content, you need to read Contagious, by Jonah Berger. It won’t teach you marketing, or how to sell to people, or how to make products contagious. It will teach you about people: what connects us, and what we tend to respond when it comes to content.

Contagious is broken up into 6 sections, each focusing on a different commonality across viral content. It’s well written, engaging, and provides concrete examples that I’ll be referencing for years to come.

Trust me. Read Contagious. You won’t regret it.

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Books 2015

Once again, I’m sharing a list of everything I read this year. Books are rated on a totally subjective scale of 1-5 stars. In short, here’s what each rating means:

  • * I couldn’t finish reading it, I hated it so much
  • ** I finished the book, but I wish I had the hours back I spent on it
  • *** It was about as expected, glad I read it but I wouldn’t recommend it
  • **** I really enjoyed reading the book, and would definitely recommend it to others
  • **** I MUST OWN THIS NOW! I want to reread it over and over and over

Obviously this means that very few books score 1 or 5 stars. This year the winners were Words of Radiance (unsurprising, since Sanderson is my favorite fantasy author), Sophie’s Choice, and In the Unlikely Event – a new book by Judy Blume. There were also a few rereads of favorite books from childhood (Walk Two Moons and Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself) which also scored five stars. No one star reviews this year, and overall just a fun year of reading. On to 2016! Continue Reading

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2014 Books

I read a total of 55 books this year, beginning with a take on Pride and Prejudice (though I’ve never gotten into Jane Austen, I very much enjoyed Longbourne), and ending with rereading my all time favorite fantasy book, Words of Radiance. Once again, the majority of these were recommendations from my book club, Time’s all-time 100 novels, and TED speaker recommendations.

This year Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon won the award for worst book (unless you’re into poorly written, historically inaccurate romance novels), and the must-reads are Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, Robot Dreams, by Issac Asimov (my first Asimov book), Poirot’s Early Cases, by Agatha Christie, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson, and (of course) Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson.

Continue Reading