ll archives: 5 Books to Read in 2016

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Time to take a class poll. Who makes thoughtful, well planned New Year’s Resolutions every single year? Who has spent the entire last week of December journaling about 2015’s lessons and 2016’s goals… but doesn’t technically make “resolutions”? Who says fuck it to everything and just does what they want? Is everyone accounted for? The good news is that one thing we all have in common as entrepreneurs is a love of learning. I’d wager you all read a new book or two in 2015 (maybe even one from last year’s list here at Ladypreneur League). Here are a few books to keep on your radar this year:

For January inspiration: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Before we talk about Big Magic, we have to get everyone’s polarizing feels around Eat Pray Love out of the way. Confession: I’ve never read EPL, and probably won’t.

This one, however, is at the top of my to-read list. I’ve been listening to the Big Magic podcasts and I’ve read the first chapter -- and my head is already spinning.

Gilbert has been a writer who showed up to do the damn work and meet creativity where it was at (sometimes: in the shitter) for decades. She’s got valuable insights about permission, fear, guilt, and lots of other things that creatives and entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis. Also, the Big Magic podcast series based on the book is gold.

For when it’s March and you haven’t started that writing project yet: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Ignore the fact that “memoir” is in the title. This book is a must-read for anyone with a blog (oh, hello creatives and entrepreneurs!).

Karr, a master memoirist (and teacher), set out to write a book about memoir but ended up writing one of the best damn writing books ever. Her advice is honest, compassionate, and technically sound. She talks about the realities of writing about real people with real lives and real problems. Relevant.

For that August crossroads moment when business sucks: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

I listened to this on audiobook while driving from Tennessee to Massachusetts. Best possible book for a road trip, because Shonda is brutally real and when she talks about saying “yes” when you’d rather say “no,” sometimes you will feel like getting out of the car, but that’s not possible when you’re driving through the middle-of-fuck nowhere, so you’ve just gotta keep driving and dealing with the truth of what she’s saying.

An excellent book to challenge all of us.

For when it’s September and you’re feeling like going back to school: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Lorde’s prose will rip you inside out and re-educate you. Especially relevant for ladypreneurs with a mission.

“Your silence will not protect you. What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself — a Black woman warrior poet doing my work — come to ask you, are you doing yours?”

For when the election rolls around this November: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Nothing gives a reality check like dystopian fiction. You can indulgently read fiction that not-so-secretly relates to the real world.