As a kid I was an adamant reader–in fact, competitive. I took my reading duties very seriously. Each year I “won” amongst my classmates for most AR points and most books read throughout the year. Before I went to sleep I would always read new stories in bed.
Unfortunately I fell out of this habit (thank you technology for my decreased attention span) but one item that has rekindled my love of reading has been my handy dandy library card. I caught myself being the girl who would “test read” books at the Barnes & Nobles but actually finished them in a single sitting….without purchasing the book. So in an attempt to be more ethical, I got a library card when I moved to New York. It’s provided me endless access to books without the need to hide in a corner pretending that I am not in fact reading an entire book free of purchase. Therefore I’m constantly wandering through the many Manhattan bookshelves grabbing as many books as I can carry home. A few of my favorite finds are below:
1. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – Issa Rae
I have been a fan of Issa since 2010 when I discovered her “Awkward Black Girl” web series. If you’re a fan Issa’s productions (she recently launched Insecure, a new HBO show) then you’ll definitely be a fan of her book and there’s a reason it’s at the top of my list.
2. It’s Not About Perfect – Shannon Miller
As a former gymnast myself I am especially intrigued by the life stories of accomplished Olympic gymnasts. Shannon Miller, a part of the Magnificent Seven who brought home the first USA team gold at the ’96 Olympics, shares how she used lessons learned from competing in gymnastics to fight cancer later in life.
3. Off Balance – Dominique Moceanu
Another intriguing gymnast story, Dominique Moceanu opens up about her broken family life and the abuse she experienced training for & competing in the 1996 Olympics. Later in adulthood Moceanu receives a letter from a fan claiming she is her long lost full-blood sister — and looks just like her! That’s not even the full extent of plot this twist but you’ll have to read to find out more.
4. Notes to Boys – Pamela Ribon
I really enjoyed this book due to the writing style the author adopted. Teenage Pamela Ribon was a hopeless romantic who would not only write profoundly dramatic notes to boys, but also write a copy for her records. Readers will wince reading young Pamela’s old notes & poetry that are coupled with present day commentary for laughs.
5. Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Since The Office days I have loved everything Mindy has put her hands on and this book is no different. In her second book, Mindy shares the awkward and uncomfortable moments that come along with being “kinda famous.”
6. Everybody’s Got Something – Robin Roberts
Good Morning America host, Robin Roberts, recounts her journey fighting cancer in the wake of being a well-known TV figure. Throughout the book Robin reminds viewers that regardless of money, race, religion or background someone always is going/has gone/will go through trials & tribulations.
7. Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
Readers finally get a look into TV producer/powerhouse, Shonda Rhimes’ personal life as she shares her journey to inner-confidence. Painfully shy, Shonda reveals how she hid behind her characters and storylines, that is until she made a commitment to say “yes” to all new opportunities–including those of utmost discomfort.
8. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey
Everything Oprah touches turns to gold in my eyes so of course I enjoyed reading words of wisdom from Mother O. Because hello, it’s OPRAH. No more explanation necessary. Thank you Mother O for blessing us commoners with a book filled with your wisdom.
9. Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
As I read Aziz Ansari’s book all I kept repeating in my head was “SO TRUE.” Aziz truly does his research analyzing and uncovering the world of modern dating, showcasing how and why this generation’s dating world completely unlike any others’ due to technology. He brings light to the unique benefits and struggles we face and how we can all improve.
10. Cinderella Ate My Daughter – Peggy Orenstein
Raising a 3-year-old daughter, Peggy Orenstein questions the world of pink and princess fluff that her toddler seems innately drawn toward. Is it all harmless or will the messaging harm young girls’ self-esteem? With humor, Orenstein asks these questions and raises concerns about how princess culture leads to the sexualization of girlhood.
11. Quiet – Susan Cain
The full title of this book is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.” Growing up I was always under the impression that extroverts were favored to introverts, which resulted in a lot of awkward and uncomfortable situations. This book shares all the crucial traits and skills introverts bring to the table and how society suffers if we force everyone into extroversion.
12. Living Forward – Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy
If you’re looking for a step by step guide to plan for your future, this book will provide the exercises to get your priorities in line and live the life you’re purposed for. Authors provide personal exercises that will readers stop drifting and instead live with purpose.
If you have any book recommendations please let me know!