Book DNA 2013 and 2014 Reading Goals

It is long overdue. This blog has been quiet because I have been in the thick of writing my thesis. While I have been frantically writing to meet my education deadlines, I have found pockets of time to continue my escapism in the pages of a good book. Here is a list of my favorite 2013 books:

Most Gifted Books:

  • Wool – One of the highlights of 2013 was meeting and taking a picture with author, Hugh Howey at SxSW. This book was recommended by my dear fired, Matt Ridings, and I have since recommended it to everyone I know! This story will quench any need for dystopian fiction.
  • The Scorpio Races – This is a beautifully written story that captures the imagination of children and adults. Based on an Irish folk tale, the author weaves such a convincing narrative, that I really think these sea horse creatures are real.
  • The Happiness Project - I fully admit that I tend to be more negative than positive. I prefer to joke about this and say I am realistic. My husband read this book first and recommended it to me. This book is the inspiration you need to stop setting big resolutions each January and feeling miserable when you have no energy to fulfill these goals past the first week of February. Rubin writes about her journey to happiness, one month at a time. I have created my 2014 Happiness Project. Let it be a source of inspiration for you too.


  • The Testament of Jessie Lamb – This is not the best piece of writing from this list, but the story is the most compelling dystopian fiction I have read in the past year that really has a chance of happening. Stories and questions from your reading that linger long after you have read the final page are those books one should share. This is one of those books.
  • Brida – Given to me as a Christmas present from my husband, this book my first read of 2013 and not a disappointment. Fans of The Alchemist will enjoy.
  • Good Omens – I have two shocking confessions in this post. The first is, I have never read Neil Gaiman before this year. Obviously, I was missing out. I went on a Gaiman reading spree and this book stood out from the pack. This is a twisted and fabulously crafted story about the powers of good and evil angels balancing friendship with the battle of higher powers.
  • The Last Dragonslayer – Alright. Perhaps I have three confessions. I had not read this book when it was first published. I read the rave reviews, but I tend to shy away from popular books and read them at my own time. This is a fantastical story that will get your creative juices flowing and make any story possible.


  • Yes to the Mess – Not your typical business book. I heard the author speak at 2013 SxSW and was instantly intrigued about the idea of jazz as a metaphor for the messy and creative thinking and management of business. A solid read that prompted me to download several jazz albums. (Now my background music while I am preparing engagement reports.)
  • Lean In – I have said a lot online about this book. As has my husband. Beyond anything, this book started a discussion. Not everyone agrees, but then again, if all of us did, the world would be without challenges and a boring place.

Children’s Fiction:

  • Emily’s Tiger – My three year-old daughter has quite the mood swings. Like the character in the book, she changes from happy to mad instantly. (I have no idea where she inherited these mood swings.) After reading this book with her a couple of times, we only have to say “happy tiger” to remind her of her attitude, take a breath, and begin acting like a human instead of a wild animal.
  • The Day the Crayons Quit - My oldest daughter was assigned this book at the beginning of the school year. This is quite the ode to teamwork. Perhaps adults should give it a read.
  • The Insomniacs – Locally written and the illustrations are amazing! This book shines a light on night life.

2014 Reading Goals:

  • The Collected Works of Virginia Woolf – My final confession is that I have never read more than an excerpt by Woolf. It is time I remedied this and read the books of such an influential author.
  • All (Original) Social Contracts – I have read all of these contracts before as a Lincoln-Douglas debater in high school, but because I work in community management, it is time I refreshed my understanding and studied the interpretation during a digital age.
  • Hacker’s Ethic – This book is a recommendation of my husband. I needed written proof that I listened to him.
  • Veiled Sentiments – Curious about this book since it was mentioned several times during my anthropology course last summer.
  • Complete Shift, Dust, and Sand – Because it is Hugh Howey. Why not?


This year, I will dedicate more time to my own writing and formation of my own non-fiction and fiction works. I am very proud and excited to announce that I will be giving back to the writing community by teaching a class at Grub Street on 8 February – Building Your Digital Footprint:

Are you overwhelmed with all the choices you have for communicating with your reading community online? Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Goodreads—the choices are endless. In this seminar you will learn how to make sense of all of these options and develop your own online footprint. Whether you are a digital native or newbie, this course will help you create or enhance your digital profile by teaching you how to:

  • Build or enhance your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, Facebook Fan Page, and Blog
  • Develop an editorial calendar
  • Establish best practices for how to participate in and establish your writing and reader communities

Now is the time for you to explore, ask questions, and put the social media boogieman to rest so you can achieve real success in the online social space. Students should bring their laptops or iPads to class.

Please sign up for this class and / or share with budding authors!

Share your reading goals in the comments. Happy reading. For more reading inspiration, check out the Books on the Nightstand 2013 Reading Review.

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