I’ve dedicated the past year to reading only books that I believed would inspire and motivate me to be the best version of myself. A few of these books pushed me to take a chance on my dreams and enroll in a Winemaking Certificate Program. Some of the other books have motivated me to run harder and faster and embrace my body as an aging athlete. I even set a goal to qualify for Boston this year! I have learned I have the potential for so much more from this past year’s reading list. If you are stuck at home and in need of motivation check out my list below!
1. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
“An incredible, but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever.”
2. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Rachel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I found her to be truthful and positive in a time where I needed it most.
3. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
This is an addition to Rachel’s first book. Don’t let your life pass you by if you think you were made for more.
4. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
I actually read this one at the same time as Girl, Wash Your Face. I love that both Authors’ underlying message was the same, however, David Goggins packs a little more punch and a whole lot of F*** BOMBS.
5. Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler
I was so intrigued by David Goggins that I then read Living with a SEAL. The author, Jesse Itzler is an entrepreneur and fascinating human that hired “SEAL” to live with him and train him for a month.
6. Living with the Monks by Jesse Itzler
Apparently Jesse does these crazy antics all of the time and his next adventure took him to a monastery where he learned to unplug, pray, and live like a monk.
7. The Way of the Runner: A Journey into the Fabled World of Japanese Running by Adharanand Finn
While living in Japan, it became clear I was in one of the most running obsessed countries so this book was very interesting. This book delves into the history and culture of running in Japan.
8. The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn
Like a lot of my previous book choices, I enjoyed an author so much that I bought another title. As an aspiring ultrarunner myself, I found this book very relatable.
9. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Have you seen her Netflix special? Or TedTalk? Wow, she speaks to my southern heart and I learned so much from her about how vulnerability affects the way I live my life, love, lead and parent.
10. The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang
Did you know our dog’s name is Dirt McGirt a.k.a. Old Dirty Bastard? Clearly a book about the behind-the-scenes action in the Wu-Tang Clan from a badass in the music industry would entice me to read it.
11. The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection by Brene Brown
We all know that “perfect” parenting does not exist, yet we are so hard on ourselves all of the time for not being perfect parents. Why is that? Brene helps talk us through it in this book.
12. You Are Worth It by Kyle Carpenter
I think I cried at the end of every chapter during this book. Kyle’s story is extraordinary and restores my faith in humanity.
“I want my story to help others see what’s extraordinary in themselves.” –Kyle Carpenter
13. The Magnolia Story by Joanna and Chip Gaines
I’ve only seen a few clips of Fixer Upper, but was drawn to this story solely on the fact that Joanna Gaines is a dead-ringer for my co-contributor Claire. Joanna’s love for all things Texas is much like Claire’s. This was a fun story and it makes me want to visit Texas sometime.
14. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
I feel like everybody and their mother has read this book so I wanted to discover my love language too. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five basic languages of love and then guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love.
15. My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Bart Yasso
At the beginning of 2020, I made a goal for myself to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In an effort to beef up my training, I re-read this memoir by Bart Yasso. If you have ever asked me for marathon training advice I have probably told you about Yasso 800s. This is the guy!
16. 26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from My Marathon Career by Meb Keflezighi
When we lived in San Diego, I met Meb while on a run with Stroller Warriors Miramar. He was clearly out training, but took the time to stop and take a photo with the group. Reading his account of each of his professional marathons and the lessons he learned was interesting, however, not as relatable as The Rise of the Ultra Runners. Meb is a phenomenal athlete and I just don’t compare.
17. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
A lot like my early days of running (and current days), Scott would fuel his runs with fast food or a home cooked meal of meat and potatoes. He has since transformed himself into a vegan and is a world renowned ultrarunner. You may recognize him from my all-time favorite running book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
18. The Long Run: One Man’s Attempt to Regain his Athletic Career-and His Life-by Running the New York City Marathon by Matthew Long
The Long Run is the emotional and incredibly honest story of Matt’s determination to fight through fear, despair, loneliness, and intense physical and psychological pain to regain the life he once had. It chronicles Matt’s road to recovery as he teaches himself to walk again and, a mere three years later, to run in the 2008 New York City Marathon.
The next two are just for fun, I’ve read them both 3 times and I die laughing every time.
19. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
20. Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler
1. The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady
2. Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment by Dave Hollis
3. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World by William McRaven
4. Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth by Adharanand Finn
5. Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World by Michael Pollan
6. My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman
7. What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami