the list

as promised from last week,

here are the books i read in 2017 - in order of completion:


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

- began: 01/13
- completed: 01/14
- i didnt exactly breeze through this book in a day. i had started another book and in my quest for the next one, i stumbled upon this in audiobook format. i heard many people talk about this and how it has helped them declutter. truthfully, i learned a lot of things but there are a lot more in this book that i could have done without. having said that, i recently had an enormous urge to tidy up and declutter and i found myself thinking of some of the methods Marie Kondo had suggested. im very proud of the amount of junk i got rid of (threw out two recycling bags, donated/gave away about four bags of clothes, donated six large paper bags worth of books and things) however, doing it all in one go was one of the suggestions i could not adhere to.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

- began: 01/01
- completed: 01/23
- this was one of those books that are just everywhere. when i visited a bookstore early last year, i saw it right up front - the commanding orange sucked me right in. didnt buy it then though. a few days later, i was randomly clicking through instagram and saw this on someones feed - the familiar orange yet again. it was enough for me to pick it up when i saw it again in the bookstore. i found myself nodding 'yes' to many things that was said in this book. definitely not news, many books have attempted to write about a similar topic. however, it is a very welcome reminder. i passed my copy on to someone else hoping that it would be a helpful reminder for them as well.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

- began: 02/04
- completed: 02/24
- when some people heard that i started this list, more than one person recommended this book - "one of those books that you just have to read." i also learned that there is also an updated version, an adaptation of the same principles for the digital age - How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age. Very curious how different the two books might be. Apparently not curious enough to read it in 2017 though.



Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

- began: 02/28
- completed: 08/23
- first thought: wow that took a while for me to finish! this is a book that was selected for the leadership book club at work. we got really swamped at the beginning of the year that we kept pushing it back. i didnt have it in me to read it ahead of the team as well. however, the book club really helped me digest a lot of the topics in this book. i learned a lot about myself as i read and as we discussed this book. it also helped those in the book club have a common language to speak when we need to lean on someone for advice on a crucial conversation to be had.

Pachinko

- began: 04/08
- completed: 10/08
- remember when i said i judge books by their covers? yeah, this was one of those books. thick, hardcover, pastel colours - in a word, beautiful. i read the jacket and did not let it go. it was quite the challenge just by the sheer size and weight of the book. not gonna lie, it fell on me a few times as i nodded off to sleep. reading in bed is a hazard sometimes. in addition to that, i started this book in my season of dying drive - i read about a third of it, put it down as i let other things get in the way, and hardly picked it up until my end of year blitz. i dont know if i was unconsciously delaying the inevitable. you see, i really love this book. the characters really stuck with me. their stories resonated so loud. maybe i just didnt want it to end. when it did, i could not stop talking about it. this is another book that i have lent to someone else. hoping that it would touch another persons life just like it did mine.

Fifteen Dogs

- began: 02/24
- completed: 10/09
- yikes! i took even longer with this one. i swear its not because this is a terrible book. it was just one of those that i started, read a bit of, put down, and didnt pick up again because i start other books. this book is similar to other books on this list in that it had been mentioned or it came up in conversation multiple times. i remember i was interviewing someone who used to work at a bookstore and we asked for them to recommend a few books to us: this was one of them. the synopsis piqued my interest (maybe because it is set in a very familiar location. ahem toronto). another time it popped up was when i was in a meeting and one of the attendees commented on another attendees dog and how it reminded her of one of the characters in this book. that was two mentions in two weeks. i picked up the book shortly after. a very curious topic/genre. definitely something outside of the usual stuff i would pick up.

Ready Player One

- began: 10/10
- completed: 10/18
- from the book that took the longest to complete, to the book that took the shortest amount of time to complete. i was really hyped about this book. i heard about it in a podcast and the description really got me. i was about to go get the book but my brother told me that he actually owns the book - score! when i brought it to work to show my coworker, she was super pumped for me. (aside: we got super excited when the extended trailer was shown when our work took us to an early screening of star wars. cant wait for this movie!) this book is both the past and the future - hopefully not our future. this was definitely one of those books that i had to tell myself to stop reading so i could get some sleep. 10/10 would recommend.

The Circle

- began: 10/23
- completed: 11/16
- i remember being so jazzed about finishing the previous book in such a short period of time that i was so determined to do the same with this book. alas, i had a vacation during this time and though i brought it with me (electronically), the call of the water was louder than the book. sorry, Dave Eggers. this is another recommendation - in fact by the woman who inspired me to keep pushing with this goal (the same woman i mentioned above). she had read this book prior to us working together and some of her first day experiences reminded her of the beginnings of this book. i like this book but i dont like it at the same time. it caused me a lot of anxiety because it was just too close to real life. still, i could not put it down. i needed to know more, no matter how eerie it was. one thing: do not watch the movie. my coworker warned me, i did not heed her warning, and i regretted it. deeply.

Rich People Problems

- began: 11/16
- completed: 11/26
- i was on a roll and i wanted to start a book as soon as i finished one. since i have read the other two books, this landed on my recommend list. those two combined made it an easy decision. i wanted to know what happens next to the ridiculously rich families in Kevin Kwan's books. this is definitely an easy read. should he decide to write another instalment, i will most likely read it too. he is really good at pushing my "this is so ridiculous but i cant stop reading" buttons. not only that, i read the books years apart but the characters are so colourful its like picking up exactly where you left off - every time. i hear the first book will be a movie soon and that they made pretty solid casting decisions (in that they actually picked Asians to play Asians. #wow #finally).

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

- began: 11/26
- completed: 11/26
- yes thats right, i finished this book in one day. i was really craving the "Pachinko" storyline and i was looking for something same same but different. an illustrated memoir of a Vietnamese immigrant family fit the bill exactly. this was old and new at the same time. the story was familiar. i found myself saying 'same tho' for a number of the things she described. but the impact of the illustration was unexpected (but welcomed). im the curious type who Googles until the end of the internet when something interests me. i still know very little about Vietnam but this book has whetted my desire to know more.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

- began: 11/26
- completed: 12/04
- i was on fire and i was not about to stop. i visited my cousin this day and with two books completed that day, i wanted to keep going. i wanted to read another book which she said she owned but we couldnt find it. she recommended this instead. she started reading this because one of her students suffered from the same disease and she wanted to understand it better. while i was reading this book, sometimes i had to remind myself that this is non-fiction - Susannah was recounting what had happened to her. it scared me and and it fascinated me at the same time. a very unexpected read for me. i didnt search for this book but it was almost like it found its way to me. i dont know if i will be watching the movie. i dont want another "The Circle" scenario in my hands.

Purple Cow

- began: 12/05
- completed: 11/29
- last but not least, the final book - just barely squeaking through. i bought this book at the beginning of the year. lent it to my brother who is self-employed, hoping that it would spark something within him in his new venture. got it back and decided that i will wrap up the year with one of the first books i bought in 2017. this was written in 2003 and it is fascinating to see how business has shifted since then. the edition that i have has a bonus section where readers submitted their experiences with companies who they feel have or are Purple Cows. there was a little bit of a surprise for me there as there is a little blurb about the company that i work for now, FreshBooks. our customer wrote about something that had happened 10 years ago - and yes, he is still a customer today. this book was recommended to me by my dad. he usually sends me articles that mention FreshBooks so i asked him if this was the reason why he recommended this to me. nope. just a massive coincidence. what a crazy way to go full circle with this adventure.

when i was preparing to write this, writing down the timelines, it really hit me how quickly i blazed through some of these books. it also surprised me how i was able to really stick to my decision to complete this goal.

october was definitely the clean up month. all the books i had started i made sure i finished. november 26th was the blitz day. something mustve come over me that day and i really just wanted to blaze through more.

its mid-January now and i have my 2018 goals and books lined up. with my 2017 accomplishment under my belt, i can see myself really getting better at reading regularly again. im quite excited. i look forward to all the things that i will learn about myself, the world and the people around me - through the books they recommend and the conversations we will have about them and book clubs at work.

here's to another 12 books in 2018!
maybe more.

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