6 of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year to read 26 books in 2018. I wasn’t sure what my bandwidth would be for reading since I hadn’t made much time for it last year and didn’t want to push myself too hard.

I figured a book every other week would be doable.

A stretch, but still doable.

I’m happy to report that I have finished 25 books, with another 10 or so that I’ve started but didn’t finish for one reason or another (Exponential Living*, Believe Bigger*, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality*, The Little Book of Hygge*, Walk Like a Buddha*, and Present Over Perfect* all come to mind in that category).

The following six books are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most and would whole-heartedly recommend if you’re looking for a book in the personal development, memoir, or non-fiction category. I even threw in a heart-warming novel for funsies.

And if you’re looking for even more books to read, here are a few blog posts with additional titles to check out: 

6 of the best books I've read so far this year. | #toread #mustread #personalgrowth #selfhelp #readingissexy

Note: the links below are affiliate links from Amazon. If you decide to purchase any of the books below using one of these links, I may get a commission at no charge to you. Thank you for your support!

1. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

This book is first on my list for one very important reason: it’s amazing.

My obsession with Cheryl Strayed’s writing began back in February when we read Wild* for our book club read that month. I was fascinated by Strayed’s journey in the wilderness and the life experiences that brought her to the Pacific Crest Trail. So when I came across Tiny Beautiful Things*  a few months later, I knew that I had to read it.

The first 3 letters to Sugar and her responses had me sobbing hysterically, while the next 20+ had me laughing, nodding my head in agreement, and sitting in awe at the profundity of her words. And juuuuust when you think she’s run out of brilliant things to say, she shocks you with another response that is equal parts wise and funny, devastating and inspiring. 

 To say that I am in awe of her storytelling abilities would be the understatement of the century.

2. Happiness For Beginners by Katherine Center

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I thought Happiness For Beginners* was a memoir for the first 3 chapters. I had no idea it was fiction until I became interested in reading more about the author and seeing a picture of her ex-husband. Oops!

Regardless of the genre, the novel is beautifully written and hooked me from the start. I stayed up way too late finishing it (like 2AM, late) and had to reread the last chapter 3 times before I could put the book down and go to bed. All in all, it’s a beautiful story about relationships, love, truth seeking, and the power of finding your way. 

3. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle

I have loved everything I’ve ever read by Glennon Doyle of Momastery fame, though I am not a diehard fan of hers (or the blog) by any stretch of the imagination. So I knew very little about her personal life going into Love Warrior*. But I’d seen it on every list of self-help and personal development books and decided it was time to add it to my queue. 

You guys.

There’s a very good reason that this book is on all of those lists. It’s really freakin’ good. Like, really freakin’ good

I haven’t laughed, cringed, or cried that much while reading a book in a long time. (Okay, since reading Tiny Beautiful Things*  back in April BUT STILL.) I honestly loved learning more about Glennon’s story and was truly inspired by how she uses her life and her story to inspire others and, quite frankly, change the world. 

4. The More of Less by Joshua Becker

You may have noticed that I’ve been on a minimalism kick for the past few months. And by kick, I mean it’s totally begun to change how I look at my life and the things that are taking up residence in it. And while The More of Less* by Joshua Becker didn’t start the journey, it certainly kicked it into high gear. 

I am a sucker for a great memoir and this book is equal parts about what inspired Joshua and his wife to go down the path of minimalism, how the changes impacted their lives (for better or worse), and what he’s learned from the process. I highly recommend this one for anyone who’s been interested — even tangentially — in minimalism and wants to see what the journey is like from someone who has walked the walk. 

5. Waking Up In Winter by Cheryl Richardson

I feel like this year could be dubbed The Search because I’ve been searching for answers to the BIG questions like, Who am I?, What am I meant to be doing with my life?, and What was I put on this earth to do?.

So when I stumbled across Waking Up In Winter* by Cheryl Richardson and read what it was about — a reflection about what makes life truly meaningful — I immediately checked it out and began to devour it. 

While it didn’t answer the BIG questions, it did give me insight into someone else’s journey and the slow nudges and whispers that showed up when she was willing to clear away the noise and really listen. 

6. Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller

The second part of this book’s title, Care Instructions For An Ordinary Life, is what got me to check out Hand Wash Cold* from the library. I had just finished reading a post on the idea of living a mediocre life and really resonated with the concept.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was fresh off of a 100 Days of Meditation challenge and was getting more and more into mindfulness and really craving more simplicity in my life by the minute. 

Miller is able to weave the stories of her life and the teachings of Zen Buddhism into a most beautiful and thought-provoking tale. In her hands, the most ordinary of tasks take on new life as tools for self-examination, awareness, and mindfulness.

What about you? What books have you read and loved this year? Any that I need to add to my reading queue next?

*This post contains affiliate links

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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