“I declare there is no enjoyment like reading!” – Jane Austen
Jane Austen knows what’s up. As we start to end another year, I thought it would be great to reflect on some of the awesome books I have read this year. All of these relate somehow to Student Affairs, and would make a great addition to a 2016 SA reading list!
- Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing your Messy, Beautiful Life, by Glennon Doyle Melton
This hilarious and well-written non-fiction book provides great insight into why it’s important to embrace vulnerability and your past mistakes. Once we understand that no one is perfect, we come together as human beings. This was by far one of the best books I’ve ever read.
- Thrive, by Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is the queen of self-care. She blends a lot of excellent self-care statistics with inspiring stories and tidbits of advice. One of the greatest things I gained from this book is her insight into the importance of getting an adequate amount of sleep every night. Every SA Pro definitely needs to read this.
- Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg’s non-fiction call to female equality in the workplace has gained plenty of attention this year. She provides a number of inspiring stories from highly successful businesswomen, and proves to us all that women can be highly successful while balancing our personal lives.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Although I typically read non-fiction, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has always been a favorite fiction novel of mine. I reread it for the first time since high school this year and fell in love with it again. This novel delves into suicidality, mental health, gender and sexuality discrimination, the “drinking culture,” and a number of other topics that we often witness as Student Affairs professionals. Also, you will probably cry at the end.
- The FRED Factor, by Mark Sanborn
Sanborn’s non-fiction book tells the story of Fred, a local postal worker who goes over-and-above to bring exceptional customer service to the people of his neighborhood. This book, which was a required read for our HD staff this year, has definitely opened my eyes to the significance of going over-and-above to make someone’s day. I also have used excerpts in my staff meetings and my RAs absolutely love it! I challenged them all to be a “Fred” in someone’s life by doing random acts of kindness. They all had a positive learning experience and I plan to continue my “Fred Challenge” in the coming semester.
- The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
In The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin spends a year going through a number of the tips and tricks that authors, researchers, philosophers, and other individuals have claimed promote happiness. Each chapter is dedicated to a different topic, such as “building friendships” or “being a good parent.” What I love about this book is that Rubin was completely happy with her life, she just chose to try to make things better. I love the tips she provides, and can’t wait to try them in the New Year.
- Letter to my Daughter, by Maya Angelou
This captivating novel provides stories, quotes, and words of wisdom that Maya Angelou would have given her daughter. This is an absolutely beautiful book, and I would say that it is one of the best books I have ever read. My favorite quote from the book is, “We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.” Amen to that.