This year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read one book a month. To tell you the truth…I don’t have a GREAT track record when it comes to keeping resolutions, but for whatever reason, I actually succeeded with this one.
As an artistic Denver wedding photographer, I’m always looking for inspiration – whether it’s fiction, biographies, or books on happiness, I love it all.
So, I thought for the end of the year, I would share some of my very favorites. Many of these aren’t the newest, but they really affected me in one way or another.
1. Where’d you go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple.
Man oh man did I love this book! I’m actually sad that I read it, because now I know I can never read it for the first time ever again. If you haven’t read it and will, I’m super jealous of you right now.
I liked this book so much. It was somehow super fun and easy to read, while also complex and unexpected. That’s basically impossible to balance in my mind, but Maria Semple did it. Her newer book, Today will be different, was also EXCELLENT! But Bernadette is even better in my humble opinion.
It’s a story of family and friendship, unrealized potential, mental illness, soccer mom rivalries, and kookiness. Basically, there’s something for everyone.
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re at all a creative person and don’t mind getting on board with some bonkers concepts, this book is for you. Elizabeth Gilbert totally rocked my world in the best way possible with this incredible book – it’s part ‘how to’, part philosophical theory, and zero BS. Spoke so deeply to my inner artist as an artistic Denver wedding photographer!
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to NOT level up after reading this book.
3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Do you ever get stressed out, realize you have first world problems, and tell yourself that people in the world have it much worse than you, only to draw a blank on what specifically that looks like?
I’m definitely guilty of this sometimes, and Born really helped me put things in perspective.
Born half black and half white, Trevor Noah’s existence was literally a crime under apartheid. The stories he tells are jaw dropping. Here is just one short one:
Trevor’s father is white, so he was not allowed to identify him as his father in public. If they wanted to go out together, to the park for example, his black neighbor would have to accompany him so people would think SHE was his parent – not his actual father. They couldn’t even all walk together – Trevor’s dad had to walk several feet ahead of Trevor and their neighbor so people wouldn’t think they were together.
The book is never self-pitying and somehow very funny despite the shocking stories he shares. I’ll be honest, I stopped watching the Daily Show after Jon Stewart left – but this book totally changed my perspective on Trevor Noah – such an inspiring, amazing guy.
4. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
This is a weird, dense, wonderful book. Murakami is a Japanese writer, which constantly had me wondering how well the translation reflects the original. Was it just as calmly confusing as the version I read?
It’s so strange – as I was reading I would think, “I’m pretty sure this book makes no sense.” But then after putting it down, I realized there was somehow a plot that did make sense? “Dream-like” is probably the best word to describe this novel.
All I can really say now to describe the plot is that it’s a about a guy, who has some issues with his wife, and there is magic involved? Yes, that’s a question mark because I’m sure there’s a better way to describe it, but I don’t know what that is.
5. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Our country is kind of a divided mess right now. The lines in the sand might as well be drawn in concrete. The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality is tearing our country apart.
Brene Brown’s book is a beacon of hope – a blueprint back to respectful disagreement instead of wholesale dismissal.
It’s difficult, and requires us to see the PERSON we are speaking with rather than the beliefs they hold – a tall order these days.
6. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
This is a book you’re really only going to like if you’re into the movie, which I am. It’s one of my favorites. The other thing is you’ll only like it if you’re into behind the scenes stuff. My husband hates that stuff, which means – I’m guessing – other people hate it too! If you’re all about keeping that artistic magic alive, don’t read this book 😊
But if you love silly, heartfelt stories about genre-defying movies like The Princess Bride, read on!
Did you read any wonderful books this year? What’s your favorite?
Melissa Hirsch Photography specializes in Artistic Denver wedding photography in Colorado and worldwide!