By PJ Beaven
Many of you know how much I love lists. So, to honor the end of 2017, here’s a list of all the fun books I read from the year.
Top Ten Favorite Books
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- Rather than just repeat what I think about this book, let me just share the blog where I sang the praises of Elizabeth Gilbert. This book was life altering for me and it is on the top of my wish list for must haves.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline- My friend Miranda’s favorite book, so I felt obligated to read it. Or listen to it. It was read by Will Wheaton, who isn’t the best of readers, but he got the job done, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane while reading a book about the future. Don’t understand what I’m talking about? Read the book. You’ll see.
- Go Wild by John Ratey- I loved this book because it had scientific logic behind the suggestions of getting back to our roots. And the author isn’t saying to ditch your car or return to the wilderness. Just little aspects we could improve like running outdoors more. We are among the longest endurance runners of all animals. But you would never guess it to look at our behavior. Ratey also doesn’t tout the fad Paleo diet. He does advocate getting back to a natural diet, which I completely support. This book was the first of a few to begin delving into some of my ideas on fitness. It is also one I’m going to be referencing the hell out of in my Conservation Fitness program.
- On Writing by Stephen King- You would think a writer would have read this book as soon as it came out, like 20 years ago. You would be wrong. I don’t like Stephen King, and I wasn’t a full time get-your-hands-on-every-writing-book person until a couple years ago, so this book went under my radar for a long time. I got around to it, finally, and WHOA! Now I understand why people looked at me funny when I said I hadn’t read it.
- Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb- This book is the closest comparison to The Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness I have found to date. Steve Kamb founded Nerd Fitness, and uses your favorite fandoms to help you get fit. You love Star Wars? Join the Rebellion and help fight the Dark Side by going on quests to achieve fitness. Well, Rebellion works for so many fandoms, actually. Nerd Fitness is about having fun with your fitness, creating healthy habits from progressive small steps and working your way up to bigger goals, like leveling up and fighting bigger bosses, and even rewarding your achievements. I know I’m married, but I have a major professional crush on Steve Kamb, and he is one of the top people I want to meet. Up there with JK Rowling and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
- How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Cowell (read by David Tennant)- Okay, so this whole series wouldn’t have made the list if it weren’t for David Tennant. Just so you know. It isn’t written horribly. But it is definitely no Harry Potter. But with David Tennant doing all the voices and sound effects, I couldn’t stop listening to the series and it made my drives to Oak Harbor seem super short.
- Game On Diet by Krista Vernon and Az Ferguson- The second book which is very comparable to Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness. There are a couple elements which I am not fond of, such as penalty points (I don’t advocate punishing yourself for any reason, ever), and having a winner and a loser. But overall, Game On Diet makes fitness a big fun game. And who wouldn’t want to get on board with that?
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris- In October, I was getting bogged down with editing and rewrites on Zookeeper’s Guide. My friends noticed this and suggested I take NaNoWriMo to work on something purely for fun. I was contemplating what fun project I should work on when I came across David Sedaris’ collection of essays, and suddenly I knew. “The Florida Guide to Stupid Questions” quickly transformed into What Do You Do With The Dolphins When It Rains? and Other Stupid Questions. And I have David Sedaris to thank for it.
- The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein- If I could buy a million copies of this book and send to every member of congress, senator, and every single stupid idiot who still denies climate change, I would. This book was ridiculously easy to understand, and made the complexity of explaining how climate change is studied, what it is, how it is managed, and how we can make a better impact, all so simple. I mean, it’s not simple, but the book made it so easy to understand. I think they need to require every politician and school teacher to read it.
- Cooking Green by Kate Heyhoe- And finally, I found the first book to remotely compare to my conservation cookbook I’m working on. Cooking Green was a delight to read. I tried several recipes, and they were all hits with family and friends. What I particularly enjoyed were the suggestions to cut your carbon footprint more in the kitchen. With a little planning, you can use less energy while cooking up some family feasts which are sure to big huge hits. This book is also on the top of my wish lists to have my own copy, as I keep borrowing it from the library.
I read so many more books this year because of two specific reasons. I listened to several books on audio. I wouldn’t have read nearly as many books without audio versions. And I got all the books I read from the amazing Sno-Isle libraries. I have a huge list of To-Read for 2018, and hope I made yours a little longer.
Happy Reading in 2018!