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December Reading List

Paper & Glam Book Club December 2015 - Miracle on 34th Street
In November
, we started the monthly reading list series, and it's time for the second installment!

Here's what I read under the Christmas tree last month while sipping Santa's Secret tea. I hope this gives you some fresh titles for your to-read list! 

1. The Power of Habit: ★★★

The Power of Habit is a book that teaches us much about how the world runs in 286 pages. New York Times investigative reporter, Charles Duhigg, talks us through how Target knows what we'll love before we do, how Starbucks gets us to stop by for $5 coffees, how Rosa Parks started The Civil Rights Movement through the power of community (and how we can too), how Alcoholics Anonymous changes lives, and how to build habits of success into our own lives. 

This book taught me how our successful leaders and organizations leverage habit to change culture. While educational, the concepts taught felt abstract despite the "Reader's Guide to Using These Ideas." To understand the daily application of Duhigg's research, I recommend Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before.

2. 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: ★★

Are you sensing a theme? This month I focused on inspiration for building habits for living better in 2016. 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is such an icon I couldn't complete my study of habit without it. This book is a great source of lesser known quotes which I enjoyed adding to my collection. Unfortunately, the rest felt pedestrian and verbose, with analogies on anecdotes on trite expressions for concepts that were self-explanatory. For example, habit #1 "Be Proactive" in my own words: Don't play the victim, own your life. It's your game to win. You're with me, right? Now imagine reading this explained in explicit detail over the course of 50 plus pages. Needless to say, I'm glad I can cross this off my to-read list but I wouldn't recommend it. The knowledge Covey shares is timeless but the concepts are more your ticket to the game these days, not the plays to win it.

3. The Alchemist: ★★★

The Alchemist is encouragement for chasing down a dream. Simple and deeply profound. I loved the inclusion of two beloved Bible stories, Joseph from the OT and the Roman Centurion from the NT. I struggled with the "language of the world" theme woven throughout but overall, a read almost worthy of it's pop-culture phenom status. 

4. Miracle of 34th Street: ★★★★

The 1940s Christmas classic moves from the big screen to between covers in this beautifully written story. Miracle on 34th Street reminds us "Christmas is not just a day, it's a state of mind" of wonder and joy. The perfect book to read with a steaming mug under your Christmas tree. For more on Miracle on 34th Street, we discussed it as a community towards the end of our November Book Club meeting. 

5. The Bulletproof Diet★★★★★

Five-star reviews are reserved for books that are a life-changing, paradigm-shattering force to be reckoned with that I'm compelled to force on everyone I know. The Bulletproof Diet delivers on all counts. I started this book while in bed with terrible back pain because if pain is the truest roadmap to where God is working in our lives, somethings gotta give with my diet and exercise routine. Throughout the course of the next couple weeks I started incorporating minor Bulletproof principles and wow, I'm a new woman. This book not only confirms principles I've known from my own experience that are frowned upon by pop-culture (and the food manufacturing conglomerates polluting our food supply) but also has the "missing links" to fuel my body so I can live fully, engaged, alive, and "bulletproof."

6. Lit: Mary Karr is partially credited for the current pop-culture memoir craze and after reading Lit it's easy to see why. Lit is everything a memoir should be: raw, emotionally-charged, and universally relatable. It's clear Mary learns to live as she writes which resonates with my own story deeply. A must-read for any lover of memoir or aspiring memoirist. 

Is one of your goals to read more in 2016? Try two free audiobooks from Audible here! Since joining Audible last May, I've consistently read six books a month!

It's fun re-living a month of reading with you. What gift of words did you enjoy under the tree last month?

Much literary love going out from here to there,
Lisamarie


52 Books To Read In 2016

Paper & Glam - 52 Books To Read in 2016

Happy New Year's Eve, Eve Paper & Glam Family!

Curl up with a steaming mug or bookmark this one for later, because we're going to be here awhile lost in my library. Today I give you my best recommendations for what to read in 2016!

Have you set a reading goal for 2016?

Since Goodreads launched in 2011, I've taken the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year and made a reading resolution. In 2015, I pledged 25 books and read 40! 

My 2016 reading resolution is to reach my long-time goal of a book per week or 52 books in 2016. To that end, I've poured over my to-read list and assembled a roadmap for my year of reading.

Allow me to introduce my 2016 Reading List, which is by no means set in stone, but a fun way to get fired-up for reading in 2016! I'm excited to crack open each of these titles. I shared a few notes as to why next to each one!

The books with dates beside the titles are coming to theaters in 2016. The bolded books are the 2016 Paper & Glam Book Club reads. I hope you find a few new titles to add to your 2016 reading list! 

DAILY  READS

  1. SavorMy devotional selection for 2016, written by my favorite author whose book Cold Tangerines is my all-time favorite from this century. As Shauna so eloquently put it, I'm ready to "live abundantly where I am, as I am." God gave us one life, one identity, and one opportunity to use it for His glory. I'm committed to living an abundant life "worthy of the calling I've received" (Ephesians 4:1). Savor is also the official God & Glam devotional of 2016 and we'll be unpacking it together over on the brand new community forum!

  2. Simple Abundance: This book along with my mom's love for seasonal living are my greatest inspiration for all things Paper & Glam. I'm reading it a second time in 2016 along with some of the God & Glam fam! Who's with us?!

    JANUARY

  3. Japanese Art of Tidying UpJanuary's book club read will have us living more with less by Organized Home Day on January 14th! Who's ready to de-clutter based on which items spark joy? It's all about finding the wonder and joy in the everyday and in between so let's start out the year by de-cluttering together!

  4. Lit: This year I plan to spend two books worth of time with Mary Karr who learned "to write by learning to live." The first is, Lit, one of her infamous memoirs and in the second she'll take us to school and show us how she crafted it. 

  5. A Million Miles in A Thousand Years: I've read Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz at least three times. His follow-up on learning to live the story he imagined cannot go unread any longer. As the excerpt reads, Miller goes from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to fearful encounters with love, from wasting his money to founding a nonprofit with a passionate cause." I'd like to do live my dreams more fully, wouldn't you?

  6. The Happiness Project: In November I read Better Than Before, the latest from Gretchen Rubin, and it inspired me to re-read The Happiness Project, a book I read a few years back that inspired me to do what it takes to live well; which is sometimes as simple as making our beds and other times as hard as fighting right.

  7. Happy Is The New Healthy: Dave Romanelli's tagline is "celebrate life now!" So you can see why he has my attention with his book of 31 concise, takeaways to "slow down, stress less, and smile more."

  8. All The Light We Cannot See: All The Light We Cannot See just missed the Paper & Glam Book Club list two years in a row and after all the rave reviews I must cross this historical fiction page-turner off my list. 

    FEBRUARY

  9. Bad Feminist: When I released the 2015 Paper & Glam Reading List a member of our reading community noted there wasn't much cultural diversity within the authors selected. Admittedly, cultural diversity isn't something I think of when selecting my next read so I invited the reader to send over a few culturally diverse selections and I'd make sure one of her picks was on this year's list. 

    Roxanne Gay won a spot on the 2016 list with this quote, "Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue."

  10. The Choice: The latest from Nicholas Sparks! I've read each book to movie adaptation since A Walk To Remember rocked my middle school world. It hits theaters Feb 5th, watch the trailer here!

  11. How To Be Single: In theaters Feb 12th, watch the trailer here!

  12. Eat. Pray. Love: Elizabeth Gilbert's breakout hit sat on my shelf for the past decade. It's time to cross it off before diving into her latest, Big Magic!

  13. The Art of Memoir: As an aspiring memoirist, I can't wait to learn memoir craft from the master, Mary Karr.

    MARCH

  14. The Girl On The Train: Girl On The Train was the Gone Girl of 2015! It will fill the can't-put-it-down thriller slot on the 2016 Paper & Glam Reading List. The excerpt advertises a "compulsively readable and emotionally immersive Hitchcockian thriller" and it's coming to theaters October 7th!

  15. The Gifts of Imperfection: In 2012, I saw the TED talk on vulnerability that launched Brene Brown's career into orbit. From then on I was hooked even attending her Daring Way workshop. I plan to revisit her work in 2016 with her two bestsellers.

  16. Daring Greatly

    APRIL

  17. To All The Boys I've Loved Before: With the dawn of spring I'm ready for bright, breezy chic lit and when this book popped up on multiple book chatter's "2016 Reading Wishlists," I knew it was meant to fill our chic-lit quota! As serendipity would have it, I'd just snagged the it at random during a routine Costco run when I noticed my duvet graced it's the cover!

  18. P.S. I Still Love You: The sequel to To All The Boys I've Loved Before!

  19. Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert is back with, "A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

  20. The Glass Kitchen: From the book's jacket, "With The Glass Kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage it takes to follow your heart and be yourself. A true recipe for life."

    MAY

  21. Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany's will be our first quarterly classic for 2016! In 2015 we focused on Brit Lit, so this year we're taking on American Lit starting with the iconic and glammest of them all!

  22. Audrey Hepburn 5 AMPublishers Weekly said this book, an examination of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's and it's profound impact on pop-culture, “Reads like carefully crafted fiction. The author carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn’s impact on fashion (Givenchy’s little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Capote would have been entranced.”

  23. Finding Audrey: The prolific, reigning queen of chic lit is back! While her Audrey doesn't reference our pop-culture queen, this breezy read seems like the prefect palette cleanser in the middle of a month of culturally-significant classics.

  24. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  25. Through The Looking Glass: In 2016, we go back to Wonderland before the classic Wonderland sequel Through The Looking Glass hits theaters May 27th!

    JUNE

  26. After You: The highly anticipated sequel to Me Before You in theaters June 3rd!

  27. Blonde: June's Paper & Glam Book Club selection is a book I couldn't go another year without reading! In Blonde, "the legend of Marilyn Monroe comes provocatively alive in this powerful tale of Hollywood myth and heartbreaking reality. A star created to shine brightest in the Hollywood firmament before her fall to earth. Blonde is a dazzling fictional portrait of the intricate inner life of the idolized and desired movie star as only the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates could paint it."

  28. The Husband's Secret: I've read Liane Moriarty in June for three years and she always hits the summer read sweet spot.

    JULY

  29. Gone With The Wind: Our second classic of the year is the epic, all-time bestseller and the benchmark for The Great American Novel...none other than Gone With The Wind

  30. Scarlett: The excerpt from the publisher says it best, "The most popular and beloved American historical novel ever written, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, continues. Now bestselling writer Alexandra Ripley brings us back to Tara and, of course, Scarlett. As the classic story, first told over half a century ago, moves forward, the greatest love affair in all fiction is reignited; amidst heartbreak and joy, the endless, consuming passion between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler reaches its startling culmination. Rich with surprises at every turn and new emotional, breathtaking adventures, Scarlett satisfies our longing to re-enter the world of Gone With the Wind." 

    AUGUST

  31. Night Circus: A pair of circus-performing dueling magicians who fall dangerously in love?! Oh I'd say this book is the perfect fit for our 2016 end-of-summer beach read, wouldn't you?! 

  32. The ShackThe Shack is one of those books that comes along a couple times in a lifetime and changes its reader. Page by page you'll come to a new, deeper, urgent understanding of our good and loving God. I've read WM. Paul Young's debut at least a dozen times and I've been through two copies. The Shack's theatrical debut is August 12th, and I can't wait to see it come to life like never before!

  33. Crossroads: Crossroads is WM Paul Young's second book and it's been recommended to me over and over by subscriber after subscriber. I can't wait to read through all three books this summer.

  34. EveThe third work of WM Paul Young hit bookshelves September 2015!

  35. Happier at HomeGretchen Rubin is my type-awesome soul sister and I'm excited to hear what she's learned about becoming "happier at home." If Gretchen is right and, "September is the new January," I look forward to leveraging the let's get cozy and get down to business energy of fall to become Happier at Home

    SEPTEMBER

  36. The Great Gatsby: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall" with my all-time favorite book and our third quarterly classic of 2016, The Great Gatsby

  37. So We Read On: "Maureen Corrigan has produced a minor miracle: a book about The Great Gatsby that stands up to Gatsby itself." Michael Cunningham The perfect companion to our month with Gatsby!

  38. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald: This fictionalization of Zelda Fitzgerald's life is yet another companion to our month with Gatsby. "When I saw that Amazon Prime was unveiling its original pilot for Z, a biographical series based on Therese Anne Fowler's novel about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, I raised a wary eyebrow. . . But I was wrong, oh me of little faith. . . [I]t's an enveloping period piece, perfectly cast...we can see this romance go up like a rocket with one loud champagne pop and strew debris across mansion lawns and luxury hotel lobbies in its transcontinental path." ― Vanity Fair and my thoughts exactly.
     
    OCTOBER

  39. A Discovery of Witches: This year's Halloween read staring "a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and a mysterious manuscript" promises to get us in a the spirit of "Glamoween" with "equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense." If the first book in the All Souls Trilogy leaves us wanting more, I plan to move right ahead to the second and third installment.

  40. Shadow of NightBook two of the All Souls Trilogy!

  41. The Book of Life: Book three of the All Souls Trilogy!

  42. Angels & Demons: Dan Brown draws on his extensive knowledge of European history to create a thriller series that started a cultural tidal wave. Before there was the Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent four-pack thrillers, there was Dan Brown spinning stories so detailed and believable you'll be dreaming of centuries old European mysteries that just may be real. I can't wait to re-read the first three books in preparation for Inferno to hit theaters!

  43. The DaVinci Code: #2 of the epic saga!

  44. The Lost Symbol: #3 in the The DaVinci Code series!

  45. Dante's Inferno: The fourth and final installment in the DaVinci Code series is losely based on Dante's Inferno. I plan to read the classic Inferno in advance of Dan Brown's thriller so none of the nuances go over my head. Plus, it's a great opportunity to re-read a classic I may of rushed through in haste on my way to an A in AP English.

  46. Inferno: The fourth and final DaVinci Code series installment hits theaters October 16th!

    NOVEMBER

  47. To Kill A Mockingbird: Before our band of glam readers cracks open the "sequel" (or was it a first draft?!), I plan to brush up on the original. 

  48. Go Set A Watchman: In November our book club will read the highly anticipated (Amazon's most pre-ordered since the final installment of the Harry Potter series) and polarizing release to Harper Lee's American classic To Kill A Mockingbird! Some critics loved it, some thought it an unconscionable defilement of an American classic, we'll decide for ourselves next year! Interesting fact, the title comes from Isaiah 21:6 "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth."

  49. Simply Tuesday: Emily's book Grace For The Good: Letting Go Of The Try Hard Life left me feeling set free after years of living under the tyranny of the "try-hard life," feeling as through grace was reserved for those who "really need it." In the Christian world where we're often regaled by prodigal stories it can feel that grace is bestowed to the degree of our rebellion, which makes it a tough concept for the Christian "good girl." I'm not addicted to drugs, but I need help getting through the day, yah know? Emily, a type-awesome pastor's wife, set me free in 2011 and I can't wait to read her follow-up on "small moment living in fast-moving world." It's all about finding the wonder and joy in each moment, they will never come again.

  50. Tiny Beautiful Things: Sheryl Strayed's Wild was the Paper & Glam Book Club's third read when she debuted in 2014. Since reading Strayed's beautiful memoir I've wanted to read Tiny Beautiful Things, which she published alongside Wild in 2012. This collection of her work as an advice columnist left me mesmerized when I picked it up in her hometown at Powell's of Portland in 2013. I can't wait to read it cover to cover, it's been praised by a gaggle of my friends and trusted reviewers.

    DECEMBER

  51. Letters from Father Christmas: December's Paper & Glam Book Club read is a festive, seasonal selection from the master of fantasy J.R.R. Tolkien. If you were left mesmerized by the world of the friar in the now classic The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings trilogy, can you imagine how he'll bring the North Pole to life?! 

  52. Let It Snow: The Christmas triple tale of three interwoven romances told by three celebrity authors hits theaters December 9th!

December is a lighter month of reading since it can be as busy as it is merry. Plus, there may be titles I'm finishing up from earlier in the year!

If you decide to read along with any of the titles I've chosen I'd love to know your thoughts! I plan to post my reviews at the end of the month as I've done in November and, coming soon, December.

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November Reading List

Paper & Glam - November Reading List

Today we start a new monthly series here on the blog!

Perhaps it's the cooler weather, the fall decor up in my home, or the scent of pumpkin chai that wafts through it's rooms in this season, but the fall is always a time of renewed enthusiasm for reading.

This month I was so inspired by Kelly Purkey's reading list post, I decided to start a series of my own. If you're not familiar with Kelly, she's a dynamic paper crafter and serial traveler so go show her some love and let her know I sent you!

I'm often asked what else I'm reading in addition to our monthly book club selections (this month's Glam Read is Miracle on 34th Street), so here's my November in books!

1. Bread & Wine: ★★★★★

Those of you that watch our monthly book chats know Shauna Niequist is my favorite author. I sing her praises like a canary. She's shaped my worldview and inspired my identity as a writer more than any other author. In her third work, she once again delivers a deeply profound, yet completely accessible memoir on building a life that says "welcome, there's a seat at my table for you."

To watch us unpack this book as a community of readers, join us live on December 17th!

Also, next year I'll be reading through her latest Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are as my annual devotional/daybook.

2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: ★★★★

For me, there has never been and may never be again, a Hollywood heartthrob like Rob Lowe playing Sam Seaborn in The West Wing. As Rob put it, when he recounts reading the pilot for The West Wing, "God help me, I'm in love." 

With equal parts pop-culture history book of Hollywood and personal memoir, Rob Lowe delivers a book that may just rival the writing of his wordsmith on-screen alter-ego, Sam Seaborn. 

3. Love Life: ★★★★

Stories I Only Tell My Friends was so darn good I had Love Life on it's way to  my door half-way through, and the sequel is even better than the first! In his first book, Lowe gives us his autobiography and in his second, he tells us his best stories.

As the cover put it, "He's back with the stories he only tells his best friends." I highly recommend you listen to Rob read both his books, his brilliant impersonations and storytelling left me laughing hysterically.

4. Water for Elephants: ★★★★

Catching up on the book-to-movie adaptations I missed along the way and I finally got to Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants is beautifully written with a well-crafted plot that keeps the pages turning. Despite it's darkness, it's one of the best fiction books I've read. It doesn't warrant a five-star rating due to the somewhat abrupt ending. I would've preferred less scene development and a story-arch that landed in the middle of the book and followed the lives of the characters after it unfolded.

The movie adaptation is even better than the book because the screenplay works out a few of the book's pacing issues and brings the story to life beautifully on screen.

5. Start With Why: ★★★

Groundbreaking. The best business book I've read and an excellent companion to the Steve Jobs biopic I read last month. Only its verboseness and redundancy held it back from five star status. It's 231 pages that should've been 150.

6. Better Than Before: ★★★★★ 

Gretchen Rubin does it again!

Paper & Glam - Meeting Gretchen RubinBetter Than Before is the most inspirational book I've read since reading Simple Abundance and Cold Tangerines inspired me to take Paper & Glam in a seasonal direction in 2012. Since I moved to Los Angeles from Denver in August (my time zone changed but my day job still runs on EST), I've struggled to get back to the habits that allow me to execute Paper & Glam and a full-time IT job with time for the other things that make life full and purposeful.

Instead of continuing to work through my overwhelm with resigned indignation, Better Than Before motivated me to build habits that create a balanced life so I can stop "missing out" and start living well. It will be a journey to remake my habits but this book gave me the information and tools I need to succeed in doing so. If you read one book before the new year, this is the one to pick.

In 2013, I had the privilege of meeting Gretchen and she is as incredible in person as in print! 

If you're overwhelmed by the prospect of reading, just commit to reading one book a month and go from there. That's how I started in 2010 and by the end of this year I will read about 40 books annually. This month I set a personal record with six books checked off my to-read list.

Not sure what to read? The 2016 Paper & Glam Book Club Reading List takes the guess work out of finding your next great read.

I'm often asked,  how do you make time for reading?

One of the ways I cross a book a week off my to-read list is by listening to two books a month. I listen while getting ready for the day, doing dishes, and folding laundry. Now I look forward to mundane household chores! Listening to audio makes doing dishes and applying make-up feel  purposeful in a fresh way. I also snag the physical copies of the books I listen to so I can highlight and pick up in print where I left off in audio before bed. I find the audio versions especially compelling when read by the author like Stories I Only Tell My Friends.

To try two free audiobooks from Audible, go here

I hope this gave you some fresh titles for your to-read list! What did you read this month and love? I'm always on the lookout for my next read, I'd love to know in the comments!

With much literary love for my fellow literati,
Lisamarie

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