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My TBR List – 2017 and Beyond

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Jennifer Mattern February 1, 2017 at 8:18 pm.

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    Jennifer Mattern

    I try to spend at least a couple of hours every day reading. I devour all sorts of things, from quirky mysteries to math and physics textbooks (really). Each year I try to plan a reading list. And I figured I’d share this year’s with you. Actually, this is more than my 2017 list. It’s closer to my master TBR list (while I’ll get through quite a lot of this — reading up to 10 books each month is pretty typical for me — there’s plenty here I won’t get to this year).

    These aren’t all the books I’ll read either. I tend to read a lot of e-books on-the-fly as I come across them, and I randomly pick things up here and there. These are more the books I want to make sure I make time for. And some of them will be reviewed here as part of an upcoming series that I’ve talked about on the forum previously.

    FYI, neither of these lists is in any particular order. If it’s marked in bold it means I’m working on it now (usually one fiction and one nonfiction title at any given time, though I sometimes work through multiple nonfiction titles at once). If there’s a line through it, I finished that book.


    Wired for Story by Lisa Cron (read it last year, but need to do a quick re-read because it’s kicking off the review series here)
    The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
    Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
    Game Changer by David McAdams
    Highly Recommended by Paul M. Rand
    A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink (I read this on a recommendation from Charles Franklin last year, but am doing a quick re-read before writing up a review.)
    Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs
    The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo
    Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir (more workbook, but plan to review it)
    Lead with a Story by Peter Smith
    The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life by Avinash K. Dixit
    Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
    Stories That Sell by Casey Hibbard
    Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
    A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin
    Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson
    The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
    For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations by Ronn Torossian
    Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits — to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
    Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
    A Cabinet of Philosophical Curiosities: A Collection of Puzzles, Oddities, Riddles, and Dilemmas by Roy Sorensen
    The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis
    Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do by Kaiser Fung
    Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive by Kevin Horsley
    Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks by John Curran (Have had both of these for a while and have halfheartedly gone through them, but I’d like to dig into them more now.)
    Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making by John Curran
    APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki
    Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
    Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
    Intentional Thinking: Control Your Thoughts and Produce the Results You Desire by Dale East
    The Little Black Book of PR by Kosta D. Petrov and Jonathan A.J. Wilson, PhD
    The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins
    The Federalist Papers (I haven’t read these in years, and it feels appropriate to revisit them at the moment.)
    Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 by William L. Shirer
    Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
    Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer
    Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
    The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni
    Break Through: 12 Powerful Steps to Destroy Self-Limiting Beliefs, Overcome Mental Barriers, and Achieve Success by Hung Pham
    Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
    Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
    The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
    Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People do Believe by Greg Epstein
    You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
    The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
    Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
    Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani, and Bill Guttentag
    The Motivation Switch: 77 Ways to Get Motivated, Avoid Procrastination, and Achieve Success by AJ Winters
    The Writer’s Tune-Up Manual: 35 Exercises That Will Scrape the Rust Off Your Writing by Craig A. Hart
    Content That Converts by Laura Hanly
    Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future by Rohit Bhargava
    Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
    Fix Your Damn Book! How to Painlessly Self-Edit Your Novels and Stories by James Osiris Baldwin
    The Art of Impact by Pam Hendrickson
    Myths of PR: All Publicity is Good Publicity and Other Popular Misconceptions by Rich Leigh

    I have all sorts of short e-books waiting on me in my Kindle app too, but those are usually quick reads so not worth listing here. They cover all sorts of things from motivation and productivity to business and writing to language learning books and research material for my own work. I know this can look like a lot, but unless it’s unusually long or dry, I generally knock out at least one nonfiction book each week, plus a shorter nonfiction e-book or two.


    With fiction, I can be a bit more sporadic. I can knock out a cozy mystery in a night or two, while other books might take me weeks to work through. It’s much less important for me to get through all of these, but this is the list of fiction I’d like to get to as soon as I find the time:

    Lamb by Christopher Moore
    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsian
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (a long-time favorite I haven’t read in years)
    1984 by George Orwell (another that seems like a good re-read for this year)
    Le Comte de Monte-Cristo – by Alexandre Dumas (French original)
    The Count of Monte Cristo – by Alexandre Dumas (English translation)
    Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (have to read this as least once each year)
    Zombies and Calculus by Colin Adams (because… I mean… what a cool friggin’ idea — says the horror-loving math nerd in me)
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (a re-read)
    The Princess Bride (love the movie but have somehow never read it) by William Goldman
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (started it last year but hadn’t finished) by Seth Grahame-Smith
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
    Ulysses by James Joyce
    – Revival by Stephen King
    In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
    Black Thorn, White Rose: A Modern Book of Adult Fairytales (edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
    The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
    Neurotica by Eliza Gordon
    Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon
    Hollie Porter Builds a Raft by Eliza Gordon
    The Fireman by Joe Hill
    – Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
    Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (graphic novel) by Marjane Satrapi
    The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
    Little Paris Bookshop (another I started last year but didn’t finish for some reason) by Nina George
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
    The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
    Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
    The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders
    Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (an old favorite growing up & one I haven’t read in much too long)
    The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (always loved the film, but another where I’ve somehow never read the play)
    Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley
    Prisoner 489 by Joe Lansdale
    Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes
    The Good House by Ann Leary
    Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (a 12 year old told me I’d love this, so of course I have to read it)
    The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello
    – It by Stephen King (I haven’t read this since I was 10 or so, but with the remake of the movie happening, I’d like to re-read it)
    Tails of Wonder and Imagination (short stories about cats — my sis recommended it during our podcast) edited by Ellen Datlow
    Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins (and old favorite I haven’t read in years)
    The Storified Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (wanted another Austen re-read this year)
    Murder on the Hill by Kennedy Chase
    Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
    Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead by Christiana Miller
    Ghostwriters in the Sky by Anne R. Allen
    Best Horror of the Year (Vol. 7) edited by Ellen Datlow
    Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
    The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
    Murder at Hazelmoor by Agatha Christie
    Crooked House by Agatha Christie
    Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls by Victoria Laurie
    Ghoul, Interrupted by Victoria Laurie
    What a Ghoul Wants by Victoria Laurie
    The Ghoul Next Door by Victoria Laurie
    No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie
    A Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder by Victoria Laurie
    Killer Cuts by Elaine Viets
    Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets
    Pumped for Murder by Elaine Viets
    Final Sail by Elaine Viets
    Board Stiff by Elaine Viets
    Killer Blonde by Elaine Viets
    Catnapped! by Elaine Viets
    Checked Out by Elaine Viets
    The Art of Murder by Elaine Viets
    Death on a Platter by Elaine Viets
    Murder is a Piece of Cake by Elaine Viets
    Fixing to Die by Elaine Viets
    A Dog Gone Murder by Elaine Viets
    Bubbles Betrothed by Sarah Strohmeyer
    Bubbles All the Way by Sarah Strohmeyer
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    Love and Liability by Katie Oliver
    Mansfield Lark by Katie Oliver
    If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell
    Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell
    Murder on the House by Juliet Blackwell
    Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell
    A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell
    Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell
    The Dead Cat Bounce by Sarah Graves
    Triple Witch by Sarah Graves
    Wicked Fix by Sarah Graves
    Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton
    Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (a long-overdue old favorite)
    The first English translation of the first edition of the Grimms’ tales from Jack Zipes (about half-way through them last year)
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    I’ll try to remember to mark things as read here when I get through them. And I’ll also try to remember to add anything I read that isn’t here now (so those shorter e-books and such will hopefully all be accounted for).

    Now the real issue: where to start…

    What books are you hoping to read this year? It doesn’t have to be a whole list. If there’s a particular title you’re interested in or would recommend, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com



    That’s quite a list!

    I’ve shared with you my list, so forgive me for repeating.

    All the Light We Cannot See
    A Brief History of Seven Killings
    Let the Great World Spin
    The Narrow Road to the Deep North
    The Association of Small Bombs
    A Little Life
    This Must Be the Place
    To the Bright Edge of the World
    Of Human Bondage
    The North Water
    The Vegetarian

    Wheeling Hotel (poetry)
    The Princess Saves Herself in This One (poetry)
    The Poetry Home Repair Manual
    In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop (continue reading)
    On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Stephen King)
    Getting Past No (rereading it — it’s excellent)
    Talking from 9-to-5
    The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
    Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
    Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

    You named my absolute favorite book — Midnight’s Children. It’s the only book I’ve found that beats Light in August by William Faulkner. And it beats it soundly.

    I have Persepolis, The Snow Child (loved it!), and a number of the classics on your list. Great minds. 🙂


    Jennifer Mattern

    You’re the reason Midnight’s Children is on my list. 🙂

    I haven’t read Light in August either, so I’ll look into that and see if that’s something that might appeal to me.

    You have some nonfiction ones here that sound interesting work-wise that I might need to check out too. If you don’t have a copy of On Writing yet, let me know. You’re more than welcome to borrow mine the next time I see you.

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com


    Jennifer Mattern

    January Update

    Off to a good start for the year — 10 books and e-books in January. I used to read 8-10 most months (always some rather short ones in the mix), but then I got caught up with some big projects like this site’s overhaul and re-launch, put a lot of time into helping other folks with projects, and was dealing with some rough emotional stuff (still am). So the last few months in 2016 didn’t see nearly enough reading.

    I’m happy to be back on track. Honestly, right now, books are my primary disconnect, and that’s more necessary than ever.

    So just for the record, here’s what was read in January:

    – Best Horror of the Year – Vol. 7 (short stories)
    – Murder at Hazelmoor
    – Crooked House
    – Content That Converts
    – The Writer’s Tune-Up Manual
    – The Motivation Switch
    – The Federalist Papers
    – Creative Visualization for Writers
    – Trust Me, I’m Lying
    – Wired for Story

    I’m also mostly through Look Who’s Back. I’ve had to take more breaks than usual — reading a novel about Hitler (no matter how good it might be) is just a bit much some days given the current real-life political climate.

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

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