2015 Reading Challenge
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

$10.48$2.99Audiobook: 3.99 (Audible)

I read Parker Palmer in college, but never this one. Now this is his book I can't get away from: everyone I know keeps recommending this book to me. I'm taking the hint.

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Coming September 22. I haven't read any of Gilbert's books, but I adored her TED talk on the subject and have loved her short work on creativity. I'll be reading this (and maybe The Signature of All Things in the meantime).

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A God in Ruins

A God in Ruins

I loved this one. Named one of the Best Books of 2015 by TIME, NPR, Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Seattle Times, The Kansas City Star, Kirkus, Bookpage, Hudson Booksellers, AARP. Add Audible narration for $12.99.

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All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

$13.99

Doerr's characters in this World War II novel are fascinating and altogether unexpected. The book’s setting couldn’t be lovelier: much of the action takes place in Saint-Malo, France, a unique walled port city on the English Channel. Haunting story, beautiful prose, and entirely deserving of its place on 2014's best-of-the-year lists.

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Bossypants

Bossypants

This easy reading memoir is part comedy, part auto-biography. Fey covers a lot of ground here: from her Pennsylvania childhood to her awkward college years, her crappy job at the YMCA to the big leagues of SNL. Filled with funny and fascinating anecdotes, like what a photo shoot is really like, and how she finally nailed Sarah Palin’s precise lip color shade. Fast and fun.

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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle begins her groundbreaking science fiction/fantasy work with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murray family, who must travel through time to save the universe. I wanted to be Meg, of course. Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the Time Quintet, but I read them all, again and again.

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Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest

The prolific Cleary wrote simple (and funny) stories that kids love to read. Her characters ring true because Cleary based them on her real-life friends and actual neighbors on Klickitat Street in Portland, a street just a few blocks away from her childhood home. Ramona is her best-loved character: I read every book about her, many times. Ramona the Pest is a wonderful place to start: 5-year-old Ramona heads off to kindergarten, where she learns that kindergarten—and life—are full of misunderstandings.

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The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn’t have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels.

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168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

$13.99$4.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Vanderkam's no-nonsense, no-excuses approach to time management just might convince you that you actually have time to accomplish anything you really want to do, when you focus on your core competencies and stop frittering away your time. To get the most out of this book you must do the time diary exercise.

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Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows

$20.973.95 (AUDIBLE DEAL)

A story of a boy and his dogs, and about so much more: love and yearning, struggle and poverty, and hunting—which means it's necessarily about death. My fifth grade teacher made a class of thirty students cry, excepting none, when she read the final chapters aloud. Of note: Rawls spent twenty years writing this novel, then burned it out of embarrassment. Lucky for us, his wife encouraged him to write it again, and he dashed off the whole thing (sans punctuation) in three weeks. Originally published as an adult novel, it still didn't sell until teachers and students got ahold of it.

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Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me

$12.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.49 (Audible)

This is an incredible book, and a timely one. From Entertainment Weekly: "A work that’s both titanic and timely . . . the latest essential reading in America’s social canon." I listened to the fantastic audio edition myself.

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Career of Evil
Humans of New York: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories

$14.99$4.49

This follow-up to the bestselling Humans of New York is more than a collection of stunning photographs. Each photo is accompanied by a glimpse into the subject's personal history—their hopes, dreams, disappointments, aspirations. A beautiful, uplifting, heartbreaking collection. I love following HONY on facebook: I recognized some of my favorites here, but many more were new to me.

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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

$9.07

Nobel prizewinner Kahneman dives deeply into concepts I first encountered in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. Fascinating theory plus practical implications on how to mitigate our inevitable mental errors make this a worthwhile read. This book will change the way you think about thinking. (98 weeks)

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The Alchemist

The Alchemist

This is the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of treasure and sets off on a journey to find it, meeting all kinds of interesting characters along the way. This little book has been on the bestseller lists for years and has over a million ratings on Goodreads.

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Faithful Place

Faithful Place

When he was 19, Frank Mackey planned to run off with his girlfriend Rosie Daly: they would cut ties to home, get married, and start a new life in England. When Rosie didn't show, Frank assumed she changed her mind and left without him. But 22 years later, Rosie's suitcase is found hidden in their planned meeting spot. Frank never got over her, and he'll do whatever it takes to uncover what happened. Frank's qualities make him a first-class detective: he's painfully honest and willing to deal with unpleasant truths. He knows his weak spots, expects the sucker punch. He believes the most important thing every man should know is what he would die for. Depressing, but French tells a great story. This is the third book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, which can be read in any order.

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The Light Between Oceans: A Novel
Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself
Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

It was supposed to be the perfect crime. But an avalanche stops the Orient Express in its tracks just before a passenger is found murdered in his berth, foiling the perpetrator's getaway, and trapping 13 potential suspects—each with an airtight alibi—in the train car with Inspector Hercule Poirot. If you've seen the movie, take note: Branagh changes Christie's ending. Hot tip: Dan Stevens's audio narration is fantastic.

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A Little Princess

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett wasn't on my childhood bookshelves. I'm making amends: I read The Secret Garden earlier this year, and this title is next. The gorgeous Puffin in Bloom edition is waiting patiently on my bookshelves. (It's so pretty it could absolutely be a book I chose for the cover.)

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Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love

I didn't read the book, I never saw the movie, and it really didn't bother me any. But I love Gilbert's TED talks and have watched them multiple times, and I can't wait to read her next book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear coming out this fall. I feel like I ought to read the book that made her career—especially since everyone has read it but me.

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Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman

As a standalone book, this was far from amazing, but serious students of writing or literature will be enthralled by the ties between Watchman and Lee's beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird. The comparisons are rich, and many. I had complicated feelings about reading this one but I'm so glad I did. (Here's how I approached this controversial work.)

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Leigh Kramer says: "I read this earlier this year and if I could make the entire world read it, I would. It's eye opening and important and powerful. Stevenson has done incredible work through the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal practice he started, dedicated to serving the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden. The book is part memoir, part treatise on the state of the legal system. We follow the story of Walter, a man on Alabama's Death Row who proclaims his innocence, and meet Stevenson's other clients as he built his practice in the 1980s and the subsequent areas of injustice they've battled to this day, including death penalty sentences for children and the treatment of the mentally ill. There's also a surprising appearance by To Kill A Mockingbird—the irony and ignorance will knock you flat."

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