2015 was a great year in reading. I set out to truly read for fun and enjoyment. I did not set a goal to read a certain amount of books or a certain type of book. I gave myself permission to read more than one book at a time and to quit books that were not holding my interest.

In no particular order, these are the books I enjoyed most:

1, The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I started this book in January and took my time working through “creating goals with soul.” LaPorte walks you through intention setting (v. goal setting) and uses the premise of “how do you want to feel” v. “what do you want to accomplish?”  You can read all about the core desired feelings I identified for myself through this process here.

Desire Map

I continued to check in with my core desired feelings throughout the year and stayed with the idea of intention v. goal setting through the rest of the year. As I wrote out my daily to-do lists, I also identified how I wanted to feel that day and would periodically check in if I was making choices to foster that feeling.

I will be using The Desire Map’s format to set my intentions for 2016. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a new way to set more sustainable goals that are more meaningful.

2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just love Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved her podcast that led up to her release of this book and I have listened to this book on audio and read it multiple times through.

Big Magic gives the reader permission to live creatively and brilliantly discusses obstacles to creative expression. Her discussion of fear and perfectionism deeply resounded within me and I use some of her tips when I want to hold back from expressing myself.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of her lectures and have my book signed. She is truly articulate, funny and gracious.

21846350984_31901beced_o

3. Never Broken by Jewel. My love for Jewel was revived this year. My teenage self felt giddy when I found out she had a new album coming out. I have listened to it repeatedly and get all sorts of emotional when I hear “My Father’s Daughter.” The video is all sorts of feels too, especially if you are a fan of the Kilchers and feel like you know them from Alaska: The Last Frontier (a show I am completely obsessed with).

Jewel’s memoir delves into her interesting upbringing on a homestead in Alaska. Jewel has had quite the life and comes across as very down-to-earth and positive about even the hardships that have occurred through her life.

I really enjoyed getting to know more about her and the Kilchers and I appreciate her talent even more.

4. Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.  This is the one fiction book that made the list and it was easily the best novel I read all year.

signature I tore through this book and found the main character absolutely fascinating. Alma is a researcher and botanist who craves knowledge and discovery. Her life follows an interesting trajectory and I love the strong, female character Gilbert created without falling into typical cliches.

I loved how the prose, imagery and setting invoked the 19th century and I especially loved the sections about travel and discovery.

5. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. This  book of quotes packs in wisdom, laughs, heaviness and ah-has. I have bookmarked the heck out of it and know I will return to it time and time again. The quotes are truly thought provoking. Some hit me like a punch to the gut, while others soothed like ointment on a wound. The book is short, but poignant.

Cheryl Strayed is simply amazing. I feel so honored that I was able to attend her lecture and meet her at the book signing.

22401280397_96057c319e_o 22401340348_c1e596cf8c_o

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was definitely the year of amazing female authors for me. I found myself drawn to a strong feminine voice, that was not afraid to lay out sordid emotions or be vulnerable. I resounded deeply with the honesty these ladies laid out in their work and learned a lot from their life experiences and commitment to truth.

What were your favorite books in 2015?