Decluttering, Mindfulness, Minimalism

17 Inspiring, Motivational, Intentional, Mindful and Fun Books I Read in 2017

Happy new year!

I am not a resolution-setting type of person, mainly because I have never had luck sticking with them. I do like setting goals, but I enjoy doing so year-round as things come up, not limiting them specifically to the start of a year.

That being said, I do love the idea of the fresh start of a new year. Within the last few years, instead of resolutions, I decided I would do a couple of things:

  1. Attend a New Years Day intention setting yin yoga workshop (which is 2-hours of bliss)
  2. Create a vision board (post to come)
  3. Read the number of books that match the last two digits of the current year. For example, in 2018, my goal is to read 18 books. That means in 2017, I read 17 books (well, almost. Keep reading).

These three things have been for me personally, obtainable things that I not only enjoy doing but make it kind of a motivating challenge as well for me throughout the year.

All that being said, I wanted to share the (almost) 17 books I read in 2017. I had a lot of fun putting together this list and remembering the inspiring, motivational, fun, etc. books I read this past year. These are in no particular order (although I do share my top three favorites as they come up on the list).

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A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard

A paramedic shares his experience and stories while on the job. This book is an easy read that sheds light on the difficult job of being a paramedic. The book kept me hooked all the way to the end! Perfect for anyone looking for an all-around good read and a look into an unknown realm. 

A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio

An incredibly inspiring book about a ‘non-traditional’ runner who busts down stereotypes and becomes an ultra-distance runner! Even if you’re not a runner, you will be able to find inspiration to keep going in life with Valerio’s book. This book was easily in my top 3 favorites for the year. Perfect for anyone looking for inspiration or who is going through anything difficult. 

Notes from a Blue Bike (The art of living intentionally in a chaotic world) by Tsh Oxenreider

Oxenreider’s book talks about ways to be mindful and intentional in our everyday lives, no matter where we live (and she would know, she and her family are quite the travelers). The book is part Tsh telling her family’s story and part advice, which in my opinion, was a great mix. I really enjoyed her storytelling, personal experiences, and being able to look at how I can implement her advice in my own life. Perfect for anyone looking for mindful and intentional living inspiration. 

Furiously Happy (a funny book about horrible things) by Jenny Lawson

I’ll be honest, this book is hard to describe, but funny and relatable are two words that come to mind. The book is full of stories about Lawson’s struggle with depression and mental illness, but her stories are so funny because they are relatable to anyone who has or deals with a mental illness. Perfect for anyone who struggles with mental illness, or if you know anyone who does. Also perfect if you just need a good laugh, or want to learn more about mental illnesses!

How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul by Ruth Soukop

I started my second blog this year (this blog!) and wanted to read some helpful tips from someone who knows what they’re talking about in the blogging world. Ruth Soukop is one of those people, being the founder of the highly popular blog Living Well, Spending Less. This book contains lots of great blogging tips and advice.  Perfect for anyone looking to start a blog or already on a blogging journey. 

Juggle – A Quick Start to Building a Side Business with a Full-Time Job and a Family by Mike Burns

As far as business books, this wasn’t my favorite. I thought a lot of the tips were somewhat self-explanatory and common sense. That being said, I am also someone who loves self-help books and have read a lot. If you are brand new to starting a business and are looking for some easy to implement tips, this would be a great book for you. The chapters are laid out nicely, and the content is easy to read and implement. Perfect for anyone just starting out and building a side business. 

 Woman of the Boundary Waters by Justine Kerfoot

I found this book in a local free little library and brought it home because I thought it sounded interesting. I ended up really enjoying it. Kerfoot’s family was the founders of a large and well-known resort up by the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. Being from Minnesota, I enjoyed her account of surviving in the north woods during the early part of the 1900s. Perfect if you are looking for a woman empowered book, and/or enjoy reading true stories about survival and life in the early 1900s. 

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I LOVED this book, and it is definitely in my top 3 favorites for the year. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a wonderful storyteller and shares her personal experiences and stories about living in harmony with nature and her Native American culture in today’s world. As a nature lover and gardener, I learned so much from this book. Perfect for anyone who enjoys personal accounts about living in harmony with nature, enjoys learning about plants, who is a gardener, enjoys Native American culture and more. 

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban  by Malala Yousafzai

I am going to guess by now that most people are somewhat familiar with Malala’s story. I was one of those people. However, I had no idea the depth to which Malala’s strength, courage, and inspiration reached. There is a good reason she won the Nobel Peace Prize. This book goes into detail about what happened to Malala before and after she was shot by the Taliban and the extent to which her goal of expanding education for kids has reached. Perfect for anyone looking for an inspirational book. 

Clutter-free with Kids by Joshua Becker

Joshua Becker is the founder and blogger of Becoming Minimalist. This was the second book I read by him, and I truly enjoy his writing style. Easy to read and follow with great tips, this book is perfect for anyone (especially with kids) wanting to declutter and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. 

Unstuffed by Ruth Soukop

I didn’t realize I had read two books in 2017 by Ruth Soukop until I put this list together. In ‘Unstuffed’, Soukop talks about her and her family’s journey towards decluttering her life, and not just in the physical sense of clutter. She talks about decluttering every aspect of her life in order to clear her schedule, mind, and more. The book is an easy read with great tips and personal stories. This book is perfect for anyone looking for decluttering inspiration of any sense (physical, mental, spiritual). 

The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes

One of the only fiction books I read this year (one of two), this book was my favorite for the year. The story follows a 14-year old boy who is autistic and who loves trees. One of his favorite trees is set to be cut down after a developer buys the land, and he goes to great measures in order to save it. The story is a great read and I had trouble putting it down. Perfect for anyone looking for an all-around good book to read. 

Holy Trinity: An Eagle Tree Story by Ned Hayes

Imagine my excitement when I learned there was a sequel to my favorite book fo 2017, The Eagle Tree. The much shorter e-book, Holy Trinity, unfortunately, did not live up to my love of The Eagle Tree. I felt like the book was rushed and the storyline was really underdeveloped. However, if you enjoyed the Eagle Tree, you may enjoy being able to follow the main character in another book. Perfect for anyone who has read The Eagle Tree. 

100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Nivan

This book contains, as the title states, 100 ‘secrets’ of happy people. Each ‘secret’ is a chapter, and each chapter is only 1-2 pages long. This book was perfect for reading when I only had a few minutes. Each chapter or secret contains a personal story and then a scientific fact to back up the story and secret. And to my surprise, I did actually learn ‘secrets’ that I am implementing in my life today. Overall a fun read. Perfect for anyone who enjoys easy to read research, and/or who is interested in learning some easy to implement secrets to being happy. 

Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers

I know I am not a mindful eater. Usually one of the first people to get done with my food, I know I eat fast and don’t really stop and enjoy what I’m eating. Enter the book Eating Mindfully. I learned A LOT in this book about ways to eat with intentional and mindfully and the benefits (there are SO many) of doing so. The book contains really helpful and easy to implement action steps as well. Although the book is specifically about mindful eating, MANY of the mindfulness tips the author provides are applicable to all areas of life. Perfect for anyone looking for a helpful book on implementing mindful eating and/or mindfulness in general. 

Out of the Woods, Healing Lyme Disease for Body, Mind, and Spirit by Katina I. Makris

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013 and unfortunately didn’t respond to treatment. Long story short, I ended up basically being disregarded by the medical team and found myself having to solely advocate for myself and my health while being extremely sick. I had to quit my job because I couldn’t work, and the struggle physically, mentally, financially and more was extremely difficult. I still feel like my Lyme journey is not complete, and in saying that I mean I wonder if I still struggle with some ongoing symptoms and/or if my body chemistry was changed from the disease never being fully treated with medication. Wanting to start looking for some more answers, I found this book. The majority of the book goes through the author’s struggle with Lyme disease (she was not diagnosed for many years). Near the end, she goes into detail through the ways she treated her own Lyme disease and ways you can implement those treatments into your own life. Perfect for anyone who has had or has Lyme disease. 

The Sky Below by Scott Parazynski (in progress)

almost made it to my goal of reading 17 books in 2017. I, unfortunately, have not finished the 17th book as of the start of 2018. That being said, this is the book I am currently reading, and it is really good. The book follows Scott Parazynski who is an astronaut for NASA and lived on the International Space Station. I am not even to the part where he becomes an astronaut, but already the story of his life leading up to that point is really fascinating. So far, this book would be perfect for anyone who likes to read about adventure and inspiration to follow your dreams. 

Want more book recommendations? Check out 19 books to help you reduce (through mindful and intentional living, minimalism, and zero waste living). 

What was your favorite book for 2017? What recommendations would you give me for books to read in 2018?

What’s on your reading list for 2018?

I want to hear all about it in the comments!

Looking to add a little more mindfulness to your life? Check out my FREE 7-Day Mindfulness E-Course and learn how! This course is packed with mindfulness tips, tricks, and resources for you to use and learn!

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Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups

I love these type of posts. They give me so many new book ideas. Thanks for sharing!

5 years ago

Looks like you read some great books last year! I own Furiously Happy and I hope to read that one soon. I haven’t read any of these though, so I appreciate the rec’s.


5 years ago

Thanks for the ideas! One of my goals for 2018 is to read more books.

Nicole | Glamorously You

“I Am Malala” is definitely on my reading list this year! Currently, I am reading “No More Dirty Looks” (all about the bad ingredients in our beauty products”) and “milk and honey” is on deck!

5 years ago

Wow! You read so much last year. I love the goal of reading as many books as the last two digits in the year! That’s such an intentional goal. There are several here that i’ve never heard of but want to check out now, especially A Beautiful Work in Progress.

Alexandra Weisser: The Happy Life Formula

Great list! Love all of the inspirational books, Furiously Happy sounds like one I’ll have to try!

5 years ago

GREAT list! I have some new ones to add to my list for sure! Some of the intentional living ones sound really good!

5 years ago

Hi there.. You certainly have a wide variety of books. Some particularly that I like the look of.
You have been busy!

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing! Some of those sound awesome! I just got done reading Brain of Fire by Susannah Cahalan. It was an amazing autobiography of a girl who had a rare brain disease and manifested itself as schizophrenic and bipolar but her symptoms happened so severely and so rapidly no one was sure of what to do. I was riveted the whole time. It usually takes me a few weeks to finish a book but I finished this one in 3.

5 years ago

You read so many amazing books in 2017! I literally just picked up Furiously Happy so looking forward to a chuckle. I also have HOw to Blog for Profit on my list too. Thanks for this post – I saved so I can refer back to it later when I’m looking for more good book picks 🙂

Jennifer Corter
5 years ago

There are a bunch here that I’ve heard of but haven’t read yet! I’m resolving to read more in 2018!

5 years ago

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo was a good read for me now I only buy reusable items and things that ‘spark joy’ no more silly purchases.

Hi! I have nominated you for The Sunshine Blogger Award – x

5 years ago

Thanks for the great recommendations! I am always looking for new books to read! Furiously Happy is a toughie to describe! I got it from the library hoping for some laughs and instead wound up crying. My oldest daughter has had serious struggles with mental illness and while it was great getting a deeper perspective of what that’s like…I was NOT expecting it!

Julie Shapiro
5 years ago

What a great post! I love being able to get a synopsis of books to read. I am always on the hunt for the next good read. Thank you for sharing your book journey with us! I think Juggle is my next read followed by mindful eating. As a yoga teacher, it is always good to have a book like that to recommend to my students! 🙂

Ashley | Look for Little Helpers

I am part of a very active book club, and I am always looking for book recommendations. These look like not only good reads, but also good discussion books! I can’t wait to add these to my list and to bring them to my book group. I’m a lover of any kind of book, and I’m also on a quest to find more inspirational books about gratitude, kindness, and mindfulness this year. You definitely gave me a wonderful start! And, my favorite book this year was definitely “The Thirteenth Tale.” It’s been around for a while, but I finally got… Read more »

5 years ago

I love these!! I’ve been looking for some good personal development books to read, but wanted something a bit different than the mainstream and these are perfect. I also appreacitate how wide s range of topics you included!

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing! I’m such a ficton nerd, I’m looking for more books to read that will positively influence my life. I’m keen to pick up some of these! I definitely want to read “the subtle art of not giving a f*ck”. In 2017 I loved Anna Kendrick’s book and one called ‘girl boss’ by Australian businesswoman Sophia Amoruso. Oh and I couldn’t put down anything by Lisa Messenger – an Aussie magazine editor.


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