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The Year I Became a Reader

3 Jan

reading challenge

2017 was many things, not all of them good. One of the good things to come out of 2017 was that it was the year I became a reader. The year I learned that reading could take me away from my life and into fascinating new worlds.

Back in February, when I decided to challenge myself to read more, I set my goal at 17 books. #17in2017. At the time it seemed like a lofty goal since I usually only read five books a year if I’m lucky. It didn’t take long before I realized that 17 books was selling myself short. Halfway through the year I had already finished 16 books, I needed a new goal. I went with #37in2017 since this is my 37th year. As it turns out I was able to exceed that goal as well finishing 2017 with 40 books. 13,051 pages!

Below I will share my reading list from the second half of 2017. You can find my first 16 books HERE.

  • Emory’s Gift by W. Bruce Cameron. I’ve enjoyed a few books by Cameron, I think of him as the Nicholas Sparks of the animal world. This was a quick read with a heartwarming story.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I didn’t realize just how violent World War II was until I read this book. This is the true story of an American olympian and his struggle to survive the war.
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I really liked this one, it kept me guessing until the very end. I started to watch the HBO series and it sucked in comparison. If you liked the show, you’ll love the book.
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle. If you’ve looked through the first half of my booklist, you know that I have a thing for Navy SEALs. I had to read this story. The book was in it’s final stages of preparation when Chris was killed. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around reading his words when I knew he was no longer with us.
  • Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. This came to me as a recommendation from a friend. The books was written in the 60’s but the story was still gripping.
  • The Keeper Of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. I loved this book!
  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham. If you’re a Lauren Graham and/or Gilmore Girls fan, you NEED to read this book. She is such a doll.
  • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven. This was a super fast read and it teaches an important lesson.
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. This wasn’t my favorite book by a long shot. By the time I reached the end I was so happy it was over.
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. Full of suspense! I was guessing until the very end.
  • A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron. Think the incredible journey. Another heartwarming dog story from Cameron. This was a page turner that had it’s share of excitement.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I loved this book! It seemed like if I wasn’t reading about Navy SEALs I was reading about WWII. I liked how this book flipped between the past and the present without giving away who survived. Lots of strong women in this book.
  • From Cradle To Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl. This was a great behind the scenes look into the lives of famous musicians from all genres. The best part is that it showcases the love mothers have for their children.
  • American Gun by Chris Kyle. A look at American History through the stories of ten different firearms. I don’t know a lot about guns but it was interesting to see how they shaped our country from the very beginning.
  • Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. A fantastic work of fiction by our favorite Gilmore Girl.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir. Just another case of the book being so much better than the movie, which says a lot since we got to see Matt Damon’s bare ass. Even though I knew how it ended (since I had seen the movie), the book kept my attention.
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was so well written. I was reaching for the tissues at the end.
  • The Scent Of Rain And Lightning by Nancy Pickard. I could not put this book down.
  • I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart. I was kind of disappointed in this one. I usually think Kevin Hart is a pretty funny guy so I expected to be laughing my ass off from start to finish. That was not the case.
  • Everything Is Awful by Matt Bellassai. I enjoy Matt’s Whine About It videos which it what lead me to read his book. It did not disappoint.
  • She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. This was an interesting book that took a look at mental health. It was an easy read that went fast and left me wanting more at the end.
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. I find that Nicholas Sparks books tend to follow a similar pattern. Even still this was a really nice, well written love story that bridged generations. Who doesn’t like sexy cowboys?
  • Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade. This was a fascinating read. It’s was amazing to read about Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. The things they did with no technology were nothing short of amazing. We owe a lot of our freedom to those six people.
  • Resilience by Eric Greitens. This might have been the most important book I read all year. Who doesn’t want to live a better life?

40 books may not seem like all that many to some but I’m proud of the accomplishment. I feel like after all these years I’ve finally become a reader. I enjoy reading now, I used to think of it as a chore. I look forward to starting a new book and I’ve already compiled a nice reading list for 2018.

Stay tuned as I challenge myself to read 45 books this year. Oh, and let me know if you have any good books I should add to my list.


Hello 2018!

1 Jan


I’m generally not one who sets New Year’s resolutions, I’ve always felt that I was just setting myself up for failure. 2017 sucked for so many reasons and over the course of the last few days I’ve decided that I need to take some action.

I don’t know that I’d call what is to follow resolutions as much as aspirations for self improvement. I need to get my mental house in order. I need to get healthy and stay healthy. I need to be a better me. So hello 2018 and hello to a better me.

First, I’m going to stop cheating on my activity rings on my Apple Watch. The only person I’ve been cheating myself by faking workouts to close my rings each day. In 2018 if I don’t close them then I don’t close them. It may seem silly but sometimes the silly things are important too.

To piggyback off my activity rings, I’m going to do thirty minutes of activity a day. Whether it be a walk around Longwood Gardens, a run, some time on the elliptical or a karate class, I’m going to be active daily. I figure doing something everyday will not only help my physical health but it will help my mental health as well.

I’ve found a pretty little notebook and I plan to use it to start a gratitude journal. I started something similar a while back with my #ThreeHappyThings but in typical Mychal fashion I had no follow through. Even on the worst of days there is always something to be grateful for. In 2018 I will use my pretty little notebook to reflect and record what I’m grateful for. I just have to remember to take it with me when I travel.

Speaking of books, I’m going to continue my reading challenge in 2018. In 2017 I read 40 books from February through December. I’ve decided that I’m going to read 45 books in 2018. On a related note, I’ll be posting the second half of my 2017 book list soon. Click HERE for the first half.

Here we go into 2018 with a plan to make it my best year yet. Hell, I’d settle for a small improvement over last year.

How will you make 2018 YOUR best year yet?

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