A Crowd-Sourced ‘To Read’ List

Hello, my friends.

Ready to nerd out for a hot minute?


So this particular post from January quickly became the most popular post ever published on this blog and continues to bring lots of new visitors to All Things E daily. It also happened to be one of my favorite posts to write. Books get me going in the BEST way possible. I love reading them. Buying them. Discussing them. Looking at them.

I JUST LOVE BOOKS, okay? Okay.

Lots of avid internet-ers and blog readers seem to also love books. One of the best fringe benefits of writing about books on this blog is that people comment back with their recommendations, often with passionate endorsements.

Needless to say, my “to read” list has gotten LONG over the past few months. Filled with stories to read and things to learn. Just looking at it makes me wish I didn’t have to work 40 hours a week and could become a professional book reader, reviewer and… writer. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Someday.

Ahem, anyways. Thought I’d share my current list with you guys today and then open up the comments section for y’all to add your favorites or current reads so that we amass one GIANT to-read list and nobody has to scratch their heads about which book to read, ever. Well, at least for the next few months/years.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin

I’ve recently become relatively obsessed with Game of Thrones and am just over halfway through the first book in this series. Let’s put it this way: I’ve been looking for a series to light me up in the way that Harry Potter did for years and this one just might be IT. (So uh, this is actually 5 books).

2. The Desire Map: Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle LaPorte

I use the planner that accompanies the Desire Map and have begun reading the actual book after enjoying Danielle’s blog for quite some time. It’s just the kind of spiritual/soulful approach I tend to gravitate toward in life, so I’m excited to really dive deeper into this one.

3. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

I have already started listening to this on Audible. Caitlin Moran has a British (or maybe it’s Australian?) accent and is funny as hell. The feminist in me is excited to continue.

4. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

James Altucher’s blog is one that I get sent to my email and read IMMEDIATELY. He can be a grumpy cynic sometimes but I can’t get enough of his writing style.  

5. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

6. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

7. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

8. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carole Rifka Brunt

These four books were all recommended to me by readers in comment section of January’s post. After reading the summaries, they were all added to my list.

9. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak

Not going to lie you guys, I have this book in my possession and the first twenty pages were really odd, so I haven’t continued past there. But I have been told that it’s worth getting through those pages because it’s a great book afterward. So I will continue on… eventually.

10. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If I had a dime for every time someone told me I needed to read Gone Girl, I’d have at least a dollar by now! Luckily, I recently joined a book club and our first book is Gone Girl, so no excuses – this one will be read by the first week in May.

12. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

13. Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis

14. The In-Between by Jeff Goins

The three preceding books are all written by people whose work I REALLY appreciate online. All three write insightful, smart posts on creativity, entrepreneurship and happiness. I tend to follow along with them all on Twitter pretty closely (though I’m not sure they actually know that I do. Stalker alert?! Whatev.) – they tend to be all over the web on various pubs I like to read as well.

15. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

16. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

Both of the above were also recommendations from readers. I’ve been loving memoirs more and more lately so I’d love to dive into both of them.

17. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

I know what you’re probably thinking: “Uh, Erika, this is a parenting book. WHY do YOU (single, childless person) want to read it?” Honestly, I asked myself the same question, but downloaded it on Audible and have really enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by parenting ideas and techniques, and honestly, this book is the closest I’ve read to how I think I want to raise my hypothetical future children, should they ever come to exist. There have been many interesting ideas in this book thus far – HIGHLY recommend to other women/men that might someday possibly consider producing offspring.

Yeah. I just said offspring.

18. David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

19. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

I feel as though I’d be remiss to not mention Seth Godin on a book list. I love his work. Malcolm Gladwell also tends to have a knack for making me think as well. These two books have been chillin’ in my Audible queue for quite some time, ready for a long drive listen.

20. Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup

The more I write this post, the more I realize that I have a LOT of books that I’ve started and plan to get back to. This is one of them. Though I have a hard time relating to the author (much like I did in Lean In – upper class people with famous parents trying to empathize with the average non-Ivy League educated person just doesn’t always work), I think the overarching ideas behind this book are definitely worthwhile to think about, especially at this point in my life. Now is the time to solidify positive money management and attitudes.

21. The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried

This was another odd ball addition to this list spurred by randomly discovering this talk Dr. Gottfried gave at Wanderlust. I think that as a whole, we underestimate the impact of hormones on our moods and lives, so I’m eager to read this and learn more about it. This is one I hope to pass to my mom when I finish as well – it’s tailored more to women that are older than me, but hey, no shame in getting a jump on information!

22. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill

Excuse me while I nerd-out on consumer behavior – the #1 reason I went into marketing as a profession.

22. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

OK. This isn’t actually on my To Read list. It’s on my To Read AGAIN AND AGAIN list. I listened to this on Audible and honestly felt like Brene was speaking straight to my SOUL. If you’ve ever dealt with the pressures of perfection, read this. It’s freeing, insightful and inspiring. Just like ALL of Brene’s work.


Better get off this internet and get started, right?

Please feel free to share your additions to this list, plus thoughts and ideas about any of the books I mentioned in the comment section below – I’d love for this to grow into an even bigger crowd-sourced reading list. 

Happy reading!


  • Roxanna says:

    Caitlin Moran is English (from the Midlands, I think) – and that is an incredible book 🙂

    • Ah thank you for clarifying Roxanna! 🙂 I’m listening to it as I type this.

  • Ooooh, so excited for this, Erika! I can’t wait to see which ones are available at my library (because I am seriously getting to the bottom of the barrel on my read list :). Thanks for compiling and sharing!

    • You’re very welcome Amy! Let me know which ones you pick & we can discuss/nerd out. 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    The Sea of Tranquility is SO GOOD. I just read it last week and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!

    • AH good to know. I love it when a book sticks with me. Will add a gold star to that one on my list!

  • Mo says:

    GAAAAAH. I just finished “Glass Castle” a few weeks back…and it was SO GOOD. Count a tally for me on that one. Same for “The Book Thief.” Yes, it starts out weird, but it’s worth getting through that for the story.

    My personal favorite would be one of Jonathan Franzen’s books. Hard to know if I’d suggest “The Corrections” or “Freedom.” Either way, I remember reading both a few years back and discovering that I started to think in Mr. Frazen’s writing voice…and that, to me, is a sign that I LOVE an author.

    • Ohh I love when that happens – an addicting writing voice makes reading feel like you’re having a conversation with a friend that you never want to end. Definitely will look into Jonathan Franzen!

  • Lindsey says:

    So many awesome books here! Will Grayson, Will Grayson is great, as is An Abundance of Katherines. My to-read list is about to get so much longer…

    • Ah good to know – will move those ones up in the queue as well!

  • Brianna Soloski says:

    I loved The Glass Castle. The Book Thief is my number one recommendation for everyone. If people ask me what to read, that’s what I tell them. I’m reading Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins right now and I’m in love with this book. I have Caitlin Moran’s book on my Kindle.

  • Anna says:

    You have to get round to reading The Book Thief! It is my favourite book ever, and I have read quite a few!

  • Ktcyril says:

    How To Be A Woman is one of my favorite books! She is hilarious! (and I believe she’s from Wales). Also, let us know what you think about Gone Girl… I’m completely torn by the ending. To add to the list: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. It will take you a day to read. It’s perfection.

    • Ooooh I’m intrigued by that title alone. Will look into it! Thanks for the addition!

  • Steph Gregerson says:

    I’m excited to hear what you think of Gone Girl. I just finished a different one of her books and loved it more. Also, I can’t get enough of recommendations for books. I’m constantly on the hunt for my next book even though my “to-read” list has well over 100 books on it. Thank goodness for goodreads to track it all for me.

    • Ha yes! I wish I was better at using Goodreads. I have these lists scribbled all over/abuse my Amazon Prime membership to pile books up around my apartment instead. Probably not my best way to keep a “To Read” list.

  • Darci Miller says:

    You NEED to read The Book Thief. Like, drop what you’re doing right now and go read it. I had the same reaction as you did to the first chapter, and it sat under my bed for years without me going back to it. But eventually I did, and HOLY CRAP. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite book ever. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and let’s not even get into how much I cried. We’re talking crocodile tears. UGH, everything about this book is wonderful. <3
    Austin Kleon is another good pick! I haven't read Show Your Work, but I've read Steal Like An Artist. It made me want to go MAKE ALL THE THINGS! Great for a boost of creativity. 🙂

    • AH is the Book Thief THAT GOOD?! Ok. I’m taking everyone’s word for it and moving it up…
      as soon as I finish all the Song of Ice and Fire books. SO hooked on this series right now!

  • carly says:

    Oh, I love all things book related as well! Lately I’ve been annoying myself because I’ve been spending more time researching new books to read, than actually taking the time to read the ones I’ve started or have on my to-read list! There’s something so exciting about finding a new book to read though! I attempted David & Goliath a few months ago and just did not like it. I almost always finish books that I start, but I never made it to the end of that one! I’m thinking I’ll try another Gladwell book to see if I like it a little bit better. The Gifts of Imperfection is on my list to read in the next few months as well!

  • Amanda says:

    If you like GOT, which, I mean duh, I think you will love the trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss. Currently 2 books in the series are out: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. Excellent. Very similar to George RR expect (at least in book 1) without all the sex and cursing.

    • Amanda says:

      Also, keep going with Book Thief. It’s really good. But I agree that it’s also strange.

      • EncoreVoyage says:

        I agree! Keep going on the Book Thief! Yes, it starts out strange, but Mark Zusak has an amazing command of descriptive writing. His vocabulary choices are positively yummy. It made me wish I was still teaching, because I would have LOVED to take a bunch of students through this book! Thanks for the book list! I’ve read many, and now it seems I have more to investigate! Lynn

    • Oooh… definitely will make note of this one. I’m loving The Game of Thrones (about 100 pages to go) and can’t wait to catch up to the show in the books. I love George RR Martin’s writing style and the huge number of characters in this book.

  • esther julee says:

    I read glass castle.. and I read it so fast I can’t even remember it. oops! Also, several of these are on my to-read list also! 🙂 but man… now even more books to add to my goodreads. that to-read list is pretty daunting now. haha can’t even begin to see how i’m going to tackle it.

    • I KNOW. This is my daily struggle. Wish I could just read all day. Darn work/life getting in the way!

  • bluesheepdaily.wordpress.com says:

    Great, now my to-read list just got even bigger :p

  • Beth says:

    My recommendations…I devoured Z: A Novel about Zelda Fitzgerald and Jesus Feminist. Stick in with The Book Thief as so many other have said. It really is wonderful, just hard to begin. I guess I need to read Gone Girl too. I will def be checking into How to be a Woman. Love your list.

  • […] Also, if you’re interested in my “To Read” List for 2014, you can now check that out HERE. […]

  • Ashley says:

    Thanks for sharing this. As a PhD student in rhetoric, I spend most of my time reading field-specific literature. I cannot wait to branch out again. Great list! I am currently reading bell hooks’ All About Love.

    • I’m sure it’s hard to make time for reading outside your field as a PhD student – I think my love for books paused even when I was in undergrad… I can only imagine the difficulty of a doctoral program. Especially in rhetoric. Would love to hear which book you choose/what you think of it! 🙂

  • Okay so at least 5 more books have just been added to my ‘to read’ list! Caitlin Moran’s how to be a woman is next for me. I almost feel like I’ve missed something having not read it and am like ‘WHY have I not already?’ lol.

    Consumer behaviour is also one of the biggest reasons why I studied marketing! I also waiver at the prospect of going back to study psychology, hmm time will tell. Maybe when I’m done with my wanderlust.

    I watched The Book Thief and it was veryyy good though I let the book will be even better.

    Great list Erika! And audio books? I think I may need to consider these to fit more books in ha.

  • Definitely bookmarking this list for future reference! I read What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell and loved it! With writing on such a variety of topics, it’s definitely improved my small talk game. I’ve wanted to add his others to my reading list for quite some time!

    • Oh interesting! I’m always looking for ways to up my small talk game. Will definitely check it out!

  • Amber Thomas says:

    YOU HAVE TO STOP. I have shelves of books to read and yet, I need ALL OF THESE now. Damn it.

    Also, have you read anything by Anne Lamott? The woman is so fascinating and as you make your way through the book it’s like opening the window in a stuffy room… The way that air kisses your cheeks and burns (in the best way) your lungs is just what her words and ideas do for the brain. I’ve read two -Faith (Eventually) and Bird by Bird. Both are deep and treasured loves.

    • Adding Anne Lammott to my list! I’ve definitely heard of her and had her books recommended to me before. Maybe I’ll get to one of those books before the year ends. So many books. So little time. Womp, womp.

  • Chandler says:

    I am about to go on a book buying spree and I’m not sorry about it.

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  • jackie jade says:

    great list – thanks for sharing! i’m always looking for new books to add to my list 🙂

  • Shalini Naidu says:

    I read An abundance of katherines and wasn’t a fan of the book. I would strongly suggest reading paper towns by John Green, I read the book in one sitting and absolutely enjoyed it.

  • Erin O'Brien says:

    I’ve been wanting to read something by John Green. Here’s what’s on my 2014 list: http://modernnotebook.com/2014/01/29/14-books-to-read-in-2014/. I read and enjoyed Stealing Buddha’s Dinner.

  • A. says:

    The Book Thief is #1 on my favorites list. It really is quite brilliant. And from what I can tell, it’s perfect for you even though you only got to page 20 the first time through. It’s about books and words and friendship and love. And, it’s about how words connect us and change us in unexpected ways. I’ve read it four times because I use it in my middle school honors class. It’s a brilliant piece of literature. Try again. It’s so worth it.

    • Wow, sounds wonderful. I will definitely get back into it. The number of comments on this post about it alone makes me want to start reading it again!

  • hCo says:

    Ok, The Glass Castle is written by a woman who grew up in the same county in poor little WV as I did (where I currently live). So! when this book came out and I was in high school, I ran right out and bought it. I was so excited.

    Then I started reading. I have to this day, some odd years later, never finished this book and I likely never will. I am so angry at her for tearing down my home because she had a rough upbringing. It’s not rainbows and sunshine here, many people are dealing with addiction and a lot are impoverished. This county does not have a shining reputation as is and I feel this book just added fuel to the fire. I understand people have different perspectives but I was offended and I wish I had never spent a penny on that book.

    • Ah man, I hate it when that happens! I’ll have to keep that in mind if I read the book! 🙂

  • Kristin says:

    Great list! The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever. I’m going to keep some of these others for suggestions for our book club!

  • Barb says:

    I feel as if I’m the only person who didn’t like Gone Girl. The characters were extremely unlikable and came across to me as shallow with no development. As for making a movie, if you’ve read the book, you know the ending. If you know the ending the movie is sort of pointless…unless a movie book tie-in is your thing. I know I’m in the minority here so I read Gillian Flynn’s newest book. Didn’t like it either so I know it’s me…not the books. Now a book I read that I loved is The Poison Tree. Nice meaty thriller!

  • LeeAnn says:

    The Book Thief is one book that I cried when I was done because I wanted it to continue and continue….worth the read!

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