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What I Read: January 2019

Each year, I set goals for many books I read as well as adding new themes. This year, the goal is 100 books and the theme is “Acts of Love”. Previous themes, which you’ll still see in my selections, include “Time Travel” and “Me and My Brain”. I also work to read more by female authors and authors of color, and to stay on top of award winners and the new cannon.

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung — A diabetes doctor explores the possibility that obesity could be a hormonal disorder, using research to support his theory that a diet and lifestyle regime that stabilizes insulin is the key to obesity reduction. I noticed a lot of similarities to the diet recommended in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body.Thank you to Ashley Mayer for the recommendation.

Becoming by Michelle Obama — the much loved former First Lady shares her life story, reflecting on navigating the many layers of privilege and class she saw as a young black girl trying to figure herself out. I especially appreciated her thoughts on marriage counseling and the struggle to balance her ambitions with those of her husband.

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli — This author has been referred to as “the new Stephen Hawking” for his poetic writing style and work on a potential “theory of everything” In this book, he explains time from the perspective of a theoretical physicist who is integrating general relativity with quantum mechanics, and has dedicated his life to exploration of a theory of loop quantum gravity.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (re-read) — Guilty pleasure alert! I loved this book so much that I had to read it again, because I love the delicious sweaty sexy coming of age in a world of amazing food stories. After I finished reading this, I booked a trip to New York City to eat (and I’m waiting for my delayed flight as I write this)!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett — An inside look at the beginning of the civil rights movement through the lense of a community of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi and the families they serve. I’ve reflected on what Aibileen constantly reminds her young charge, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” — crucial words for any child to hear daily. I can’t wait to see the movie!

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke — A near-future science fiction story that asked: what will humans do when they discover they’re not the center of the universe? Hauntingly beautiful writing. Thank you to Andy Sparks for the recommendation.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks — I started asking around for female POC intellectuals, and bell hooks came highly recommended. She notes that although women are stereotyped as being much more obsessed with romantic love, most of the intellectual writing on it is from men’s perspectives.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz — Explore Toltec wisdom and what it really means to be free in a society that can rob us of our wildness, if we let it. Thank you to Maran Nelson for the recommendation.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff — A gutting tangling of two life stories. Dramatizing the loss of glossy youth, the struggle to create truly unique art, and the complexity of a life lived all the way through to the end. I needed a hug after finishing this one.

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes by Paula Schuzman — You’ve probably read by now that couples who effectively split household chores, or pay someone else to do them, have more sex. While I’ve certainly seen this play out as true in my own life, this book digs into the economic principles behind why this is so and unlocks what is at play behind many other interesting relationship dynamics.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman — Always love when a soon-to-be-newlywed recommends me a newlywed murder mystery. This isn’t a genre I read often, so it was a fun diversion while on vacation in Hawaii. Thank you to Ashley Mayer for the recommendation.


Last year, I set a goal to finish read 100 books and blew it out of the water. After realizing that there are more worthwhile books than I’ll ever be able to finish in my lifetime, I decided to allow myself to stop reading anything that I’m not enjoying guilt free, and my completion rate is about 50%. This means to reach 100 books per year I need to have roughly 200 in progress at any time. Fortunately, I’m currently at 190 total!