2016: My Year of Being an Illiterate Slug

I Love Books! One of My Bookshelves.
I Love Books! One of My Bookshelves.
I Love Books! One of My Bookshelves.

As I sat down today to list the books I read during 2016, I realized, I’ve been a slug when it’s come to reading. I mean, I think 2016 is my year of illiteracy and in part, I blame social media. 

I love books. I love holding them and being surrounded by them.  Now, I have read some incredible ones this year and can say it’s been about quality vs. quantity. Guess I was caught up in the pretty wild current events and feeding my fix through social media. The presidential elections. The Olympics. The Walking Dead.

Plus, a lot happened in my personal life. In addition to work, I ventured to Vietnam in May (after winning a ticket to fly anywhere in the world with Turkish Airways!), attended BlogHouse to work on my blog, had shoulder surgery in July (thank you, Annette!), adopted a dog who ended up having a rare medical condition, and began planning for a more serious surgery in January 2017.

I continued volunteering for the Ringling College Library Association Lecture Series, delved into the world of essential oils, collaborated with artist Deana Fritz to launch a travel empowerment jewelry line (which will be relaunched in 2017) and have gotten involved with the local community radio station, WKDW 97.5 FM (North Port, Fla.) with a weekly travel show and assisting with social media and public relations.

Also ended up buying a new mirrorless camera (Sony Alpha), washing machine and hot water heater. It’s been a financially and emotionally draining year, and reading books didn’t top my to-do list.

But, here are the good reads I completed in 2016: 

Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World by Lynne Martin. Looking to travel the world once you retire? Lynn Martin and her husband sold everything and hit the road to explore this great big world and did it by staying in vacation rentals. Fun read as it’s like looking into someone’s personal diary but filled with useful tips and advice.

Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington by Sharyl Attkisson. Think the mainstream media tells it like it is? Think again. Attkisson, one of the last true investigative reporters and who was instrumental in breaking news of Operation Fast & Furious, shares first-hand accounts of how media is manipulated by government and corporations. Excellent read!

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach. I’m a huge fan of Mary Roach and have read most of her books. She’s witty, inquisitive and has a bit of a dark sense of humor. Grunt is a fascinating read in how science has been and is used to keep military service members safe and comfortable. I read this during my trip to Maine and my brother’s father-in-law, who is an inventor and worked with IBM, read some of it and he was intrigued, too.

And, have to say, I was beyond thrilled with Ms. Roach replied to a Tweet I sent out about reading it!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve been feeling stuck this year and Big Magic was a catalyst to spark me to think differently. Yes, in my mid-40s, it’s possible to change thinking and personal philosophy. I adore this book and gave a copy to my intern when she left, hoping she will find some inspiration in there, too.

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate. Sometimes, I just gotta read to clear my mind and this romance novel was a sweet, fun read during my trip to Vietnam that left me wanting a second helping. Yeah, it’s a sappy, almost predictable romance story involving food, but I just adore it.

Five books. Five books! That’s all I read this year and it’s making me feel like an illiterate slug. And to be honest, I had started Home Sweet, Anywhere a long bit ago. 

Now, I have started but haven’t finished the following books and will add them to my 2017 reading list.

When Character Was King: A Story or Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan

Riding Rockets: The Outrages Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane

Once those are finished, these are next on the reading list:

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Memoir by Tom Jones

The Joy Luck Club: A Novel by Amy Tan.

Did you read any good books this year? If so, what were they and should I add them to my 2017 reading list?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit and my rescue dog’s medical care.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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