What I’m Reading

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Suess

I wouldn’t be who I am today without the books I’ve read. Not even close.

These books carried me through dark times and opened doors of healing and enlightenment I never thought possible.

That’s why I’m sharing them with you, in hopes they will also help you embrace your weird and become your fullest self.

Below is a complete list of the 39 books I read in 2017 as well as my review. Click on the titles and you’ll be sent to it’s page on Amazon with an affiliate link.

I’ll soon add a table for 2018, where I’ll update the books I’m reading in real time.

Enjoy ;]

 

Our Weird Lives - Jordin's Book List - 2017 Books

Reviews and ratings for every book I read in 2017. The bold rows are my top 5 recommendations for the year. Clicking on the titles sends you to the book on Amazon with an affiliate link.
TitleAuthorGenreSub-GenreStarsMy Thoughts
Mating in CaptivityEsther PerelNon-FictionSex & Relationships5Is it possible to have a consistently good sex life in a long-term monogamous relationship? If so, how? Esther dives into these topics and more in this book, which is founded on years of experience as a therapist and extensive research. I loved this book so much, I went on to spend hours listening to her Audible series called, "Where should we begin?" where she records live couples therapy sessions. If you're in a long-term committed relationship - read this!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a FuckMark MansonNon-FictionSelf-Help4.5Mark Manson is my blogging idol. He calls his genre, "Self-Help with an attitude." Mark incorporates tons of stories into this non-fiction book, so it isn't hard to follow or get hooked on. A lot of the subject matter was stuff I felt like I already knew, but there was a lot of new stuff, too. One of the most practical self-help books I've read.
The Little Book of HyggeMeik WikingNon-FictionCultural3.5Hygge, pronounced, "Hue-guh" is a Danish word that is hard to translate into english, but incorporates feelings of coziness, friendship, and happiness. This little book (indeed, it is short) describes what hygge is and how you can incorporate a little more hygge in your life, too. It can get a little technical though, espcially the bit about lighting. A great winter/fall read.
Rejection ProofJia JiangNon-FictionSelf-Help4.5Story after story after story of this guy asking people to let him do crazy things and getting rejected...although sometimes they didn't reject him! This man went on a 100-day rejection binge, where each day he did something likely to get himself rejected. Why'd he do this? Why, to break his fear of rejection, of course. This book kept me going all the way to the end, and helped me evaluate the role rejection plays in my own life.
Childhood DisruptedDonna Jackson NakazawaNon-FictionPsychology5This book introduced me to the Childhood ACE Score, which has some startling results. Basically if you get a score of 2 or more, (much less 4 or more like me), there are some significant mental and physical health risks you need to be aware of. "The body keeps the score" is the name of the game in this book. It is case study after case study about children growing up in disruptive households and physical illnesses they succumb to in life. One of my favorite parts about this book was how she really broke down the neurobiology of trauma, and how traumatized children are actually losing neurons as they age, which sets them at a disadvantage. I also loved her discussion on chronic stress is almost more damaging neurologically speaking than a single traumatic event. If you had a "weird" childhood, I'd HIGHLY recommend a read.
The Girl on the TrainErin Cressida WilsonFictionMystery4I can usually figure plot twists out before they happen, but I must say, this book got me. Mystery books usually aren't my favorite, but I liked this one. It turned my stomach in knots at the end, though, hard to finish. But I think that is just because of my background. If you like crime mysteries - you'll like it! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I heard the book was way better.
The Power of VulnerabilityBrené BrownNon-FictionSelf-Help5And here starts my Brené Brown kick...This is actually an audio speech, but it highlights most of her book "The Gifts of Imperfection." This speech highlights the ten things that a group of people she calls "the wholehearted" (basically people who are happy) do to to have such fulfilling lives. An awesome listen while doing chores around the house or on your commute to work.
Rising StrongBrené BrownNon-FictionSelf-Help5Just an FYI...all of Brené's work gets a 5 IMO. This book speaks directly to the importance of vulnerability, and it's profound power it has in our lives. It hits on key topics like perfectionism and shame, like all of her books do. This one is about what it takes to get back up after we get knocked down and make our life even better than before we hit the floor.
Why Won't You Apologize?Harriet LernerNon-FictionPsychology5FASCINATING book about apologies and why they are so stinkin' hard. She hits on all the little stuff but also the big stuff, like in her interview with a molester and why he couldn't even believe he was wrong, much less say sorry. For anyone with tension-filled relationships, whether it be family or friends, this book would be an enlightening read for you.
Snow Like AshesSara RaaschFictionFantasy3I started listening to this book because the cover was cool looking. It had a cool world and stuff, with each season having their own kingdom, and it was kinda good, but not enough to keep me going with the series. The main character was a little too whiny for me.
Men, Women, and WorthinessBrené BrownNon-FictionSelf-Help5This audiobook covers the same information as her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. Since this audio recording is too expensive, The Gifts of Imperfection covers pretty much the same material. It gets into the difference between how shame manifests for women and men as well as what causes shame in men and women. It helped me really get into the mindset of the men of my life, and realize that so much of men's shame is not just a result of their dads or coaches-but from us WOMEN.
Cross RoadsWilliam Paul YoungFictionInner Journey5If you're an avid reader of Our Weird Lives, you've probably heard me mention Paul Young a few times. He's such an amazing little man and a fabulous writer! This book is about an asshole realtor in Portland, OR, who got ill and fell into a coma, only to wake up in the head of Cabby, a boy with down syndrome. The rest of this book is about his journey toward discovering himself while discovering a profoundly relational God.
EveWilliam Paul YoungFictionInner Journey5Maybe the most empowering fiction book I've ever read for women. Maybe my favorite of Paul Young's books, although I can't say that with ultimate certainty -they're all good!. The main character, Lily, washes up on a beach on an uncharted island somewhere in the cosmos. The inhabitants of the island find her in horrible condition and nurture her back to health. Meanwhile, Lily gets visits from Eve (as in, the first woman ever), and is invited to witness "beginnings" a.k.a. the creation of the entire universe. This book stays true to the Biblical text, but is SO DIFFERENT from anything I'd ever heard before. Simple, beautiful and touching and makes so much more sense than the way it was taught to me as a child.
Lies We Believe about GodWilliam Paul YoungNon-FictionSpiritual5Paul Young speaks out in a Nonfiction book about all the things he has incorporated into his novels. He's been called a heretic for the way he has shown the love of God in his novels, but this book speaks directly to the lies that we believe about God that stop us from seeing how loving he really is. Topics include human rights, sexuality, hell, sin, and a shit ton of others. If you have any experience in religion, especially if you're in the process of deconstructing your religion and are in the in-between, you NEED to read this book.
The Road Back to YouIan Morgan CronNon-FictionPsychology4If you know me, you know I LOVE a psychological/spiritual tool called the "enneagram." It is like a map toward spiritual wholeness and a fulfilling life, but in a totally practical way. In this book, Ian dives in to each of the 9 enneagram types, describes them with stories, and gives each type tips for living a whole-er life. If you're just getting into the enneagram, this book is a fabulous primer.
Eat, Pray, LoveElizabeth GilbertNon-FictionInner Journey4You've probably heard about this book, or at least seen the movie. It follows Elizabeth through her real-life journey through Italy (eat), India (pray), and Indonesia (love) and the profound inner journey she has in each country. Some people found it slow, I found it fascinating! There is some spiritual woo-woo stuff, though. Not too much, but just giving you a warning.
Falling UpwardRichard RohrNon-FictionSpiritual4Boy, I like all the heretics, don't I? Richard is a franciscan monk, but he's way more badass than you'd think. In this book, he talks about how it often takes failure or something bad to happen to "wake us up" to our true selves. He speaks of failure as a gateway into our true selves, our higher selves. Hence the "Falling Upward" title. If you're in a crisis right now, or are interested in falling into your true self, check it out!
True Self, False SelfRichard RohrNon-FictionSpiritual4Richard Rohr expands upon what he means by the true self and false self in this book, and how to transition from your false self to your true self. He believes that everybody was born with an essence of who they really are, deep deep down. And as we grow up, our ego creates all these structures like personality and fixed opinions to keep us safe until (on average) we're 40 or 50. Then something happens (usually something painful) to wake us up to our true selves. As we transition back to our essence, or true self, we finally settle in and live more fulfilling lives.
Your Energetic BoundariesCyndi DaleNon-FictionSpiritual4Okay - SUPER woo-woo alert! This is the book I got the meditation for healing your first great sadness from. If you're into visualization, meditation, journeying, and are otherwise open spiritually, you would probably find this audiobook/speech an interesting listen. It's packed full of guided meditations and information on our four energy boundaries - physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
The Book of JoyDalai Lama and Desmond TuTuNon-FictionSpiritual5Who knew the Dalai Lama (buddhist) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (christian) are long-time buddies?? This book documents what they talked about when they reunited a few years back to discuss the topic of Joy. The wisdom of this book transcends all religion and was so eye opening for me.
E-SquaredPam GroutNon-FictionSpiritual3This book gives 9 different experiments that are supposed to prove that the Law of Attraction is real. I'm a fan of the Law of Attraction, but to me, this book was just okay. It was interesting, I'm glad I read it, but honestly some of the experiments didn't work for me lol.
The PathLaurie Beth JonesNon-FictionSelf-Help4.5I read this book when I was in a pretty turbulent part of my life. I came to the understanding that the career I worked hard to enter isn't the career I wanted to stay in and had a hard time figuring out what I should do about it. This book really helped me with that. It's designed to help you get to know yourself better as well as figure out where you want to go. And it has tons of exercises to do along the way. I even printed my response to several of these exercises out and framed them on my walls!
Love WinsRob BellNon-FictionSpiritual5Ah, Love Wins, the book that made John Piper tweet, "Farewell, Rob Bell" before he even read it. SMDH. The idea for this book was sparked when someone in Rob's church implied that they knew for sure that Gandhi was in hell. The whole premise of the book talks about what "hell" would look like for a loving and relational God and how dangerous it is to assume we know "where people go" after they die. A refreshing read.
The Shack RevisitedC. Baxter KrugerNon-FictionSpiritual5I didn't read Paul Young's "The Shack" this year because I already read it a few times and the movie came out so I just watched that. But this book is written by my absolute favorite theologian C. Baxter Kruger (the logo of his business, Perichoresis, is actually tattooed on my thigh), and talks about the truth of the profound love and grace of God that Paul Young depicted in The Shack. If you haven't read The Shack, I would obviously recommend to read that first, but if you have read The Shack and are looking to know more about the concrete theology behind it, this would be a great book for you!
Can You Hear Me? Tuning into a God Who SpeaksBrad JersakNon-FictionSpiritual3Unfortunately this is one of Brad's first books, and it was still too "christianese" for my taste. It did have some interesting concepts, though. His theology has changed quite a bit since he wrote this (I'm assuming) since I heard him speak last, so I really need to check out his more recent stuff.
Book of ForgivingDesmond and Mpho TutuNon-FictionSelf-Help5SO HEAVY - but SO ENLIGHTENING. This book is like a punch in the stomach, in the best way possible. In other ways, though, it is the most gentle and tender book I've ever read. It just has a way of getting to your core, you know? It talks about the fourfold path to forgiveness, and follows Mpho through her own forgiveness journey of the man who murdered her friend and housekeeper. There is also discussion about the legendary Truth and Reconciliation Commission which I found super interesting.
Opening the Door of Your Heart and Other Buddhist Tales of HappinessAjahn BrahmNon-FictionSpiritual5Maybe the most highly recommendable book I've read all year long. Seriously. You need to read it. It's a book made up of a bunch of short stories that cover topics like happiness, fear, romantic love, and so much more. I promise you these stories will stick with you for the rest of your life and change it for the better.
Braving the WildernessBrené BrownNon-FictionSelf-Help4.5This is Brené's latest book and it was definitely a worthwhile read. It was a little different than her past books, as it didn't touch on shame and vulnerability quite as much (but I mean it's Brené so it still did). This book is all about belonging, and most of all, learning how to belong to ourselves. Like her other books, she talks about her own personal stories. But unlike her other books, she speaks out about political issues like gun control and Black Lives Matter. Her input on Black Lives Matter in particularl helped shape the opinoin I hold today.
The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-KnowledgeBeatrice ChestnutNon-FictionPsychology5A must-read if you're an enneagram nerd like me. Or even if you just want to know yourself better. Beatrice says we're acorns, but as we really get to know ourselves, we realize what we truly are: oak trees. The enneagram is the best tool I know to help you bloom into your true self. If you're having a hard time identifying your enneagram type, this book will help you because it goes into the three subtypes of each type, which can look very different from one another even within the same type.
The Sacred EnneagramChristopher L. HeuertzNon-FictionSelf-Help4Quick tip: don't listen to this book on audio. I did, and later realized there are some graphics that would probably have been nice to have in front of me as I was listening to the book. All that aside, this is a more advanced enneagram book, as it touches on the spiritual depths of the enneagram more than I've read in other books. If you're super into the enneagram like me, this one should definitely be on your reading list!
Where Should We Begin?Esther PerelNon-FictionSex & Relationships5This isn't actually a book, it is a FREE series on audible, almost like a podcast. It's of Esther's real life therapy sessions, mostly centered around sex, that really get you in the middle of real-life relationship problems. It definitely helped me feel more "normal." If you're an audible member and don't get squeamish with sex and vulnerability, you should definitely download these free sessions!
The Upward SpiralAlex KorbNon-FictionPsychology3The title of this book sounds way cooler than it actually was. It is about the neuroscience behind depression, and practical things we can do to gradually leave a depressive state of mind. It did have interesting and practical information, but much of it I already knew, so I grew quite bored with it.
The Big LeapGay HendricksNon-FictionSelf-Help5Massive game-changer for me. I think about what I've learned from this book so freaking often. It explains our "upper limit problem" that occurs when we are feeling too many good emotions that we subconsciously sabotage ourselves in order to bring us back down to an emotional state we're more familiar with. It also talks about finding our Zone of Genius, which is a life-changing concept for me. Same with "Einstein Time" where Gay explains how to always have more than enough time to get everything done. So, SO interesting!
Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback GirlNatalie LueNon-FictionSelf-Help3.5I gave it a 3.5 for me, but it might be different for you. It's about why girls fall for the "bad boy" and how to stop the cycle of unhealthy relationships you enter. While I was in this stage of life there for a while, I managed to get myself off the unhealthy relationship merry-go-round. That's why I didn't find this book super intriguing anymore. But the author speaks really vulnerably, which I appreciated. She just seemed to go on and on, which ultimately stopped me from finishing it.
Conscious LovingGay HendricksNon-FictionRelationship5THE BEST relationship book I've ever read. The best. By a mile. If you're looking for a book to improve your relationship, or if you're hoping to enter into a fulfilling relationship, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It totally helped me improve the entire culture of my marriage!
WishtreeKatherine ApplegateFictionShort Story4A short story with a talking tree that touches on topics of interethnic friendship, muslim hate crimes, and going against all odds. I thought it was very cute.
Trapped in the MirrorElan Golomb PHDNon-FictionPsychology3.5A book about the difficulties experienced by adult children of narcissists. Got to say - this book hit me right in the feels. It was less of a self-help book and was more about sharing case after case of the real life of adult children of narcissists. It was just so sad. I got most of the way through it, but it brought on too much trauma for me to finish fully. Sometimes the stories seemed long winded and toward the end I began losing interest.
Black PrivilegeCharlamagne Tha GodNon-FictionMemoir4Charlamagne Tha God is a super blunt radio talk show host that has had a really eventful life. He always tells it like it is, which is usually entertaining as long as it isn't directed at you. This book opened my eyes to a culture I have been really unfamiliar with, and I'd recommend it if you're in for an entertaining read that can be offensive at times.

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