101 (Audio) Books in 1001 Days

Start Date: 6/28/2017     End Date: 3/24/2020     Books Read So Far: 29

I’ve always wanted to do one of those “101 things in 1001 days” type of challenges that I have seen frequently on other blogs, but was never inspired enough to actually come up with ne idea worthy of trying. That is, until I recently confessed that my biggest shame as a writer is that I don’t read — and finally embraced a newfound love of audiobooks and podcasts.

So, in order to conquer the self-imposed myth that I don’t read and don’t have time to read, I am challenging myself to read 101 books in the next 1001 days or 33 months… which amounts to roughly 2 2/3 years so I expect to be done around my 34th birthday or so.

The books on this list will come from a variety of sources. Some I will read thanks to a movie tie-in bookclub that I co-founded, some I will read because I recently saw an article recommend it and put them on my Amazon Wish List, and most I will read because I bought the book on Kindle but am giving up on the idea of reading it that way (for now). So here goes!

1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cheryl Strayed
Narrated by Bernadette Dunne
This memoir by one of my favorite writers (and co-host of the Dear Sugars podcast, which I love) chronicles Cheryl’s journey to find herself again after the death of her mother and divorce from her husband in her early 20s. Wild primarily is the story of her 1100-mile solo hike that took a broken young woman and built her up again. I loved reading this book (very quickly, in fact) for my book club, and then discussing it. Watching the movie, though, didn’t quite give me the same pleasure. (Started: 6/28/2017, Finished: 6/30/2017 — via Audible)

2. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman
Anne Helen Petersen
Narrated by author
I saw this book on a couple “must read” lists for books that came out in June 2017 and the title appealed to me instantly. This book is broken down into 10 chapters of different female celebrities and how they are each pushing the boundaries of what it means to be an “acceptable” woman—and how society often deems them each “too much” or something. The chapter on Hillary Clinton in particular was fantastic, and made me very sad for everything we have lost since the 2016 election. Still, it was a fantastic read that made me appreciate all of the brave women that have dared to be “unruly.” (Started: 7/2/2017, Finished: 7/9/2017 — via Audible)

3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Who doesn’t know and love The Wizard of Oz movie? The book was very similar, and I was thrilled to read the original story and see some of the differences in the text. I read the unabridged version, which was less than four hours long. We covered this one in my July book club and, for once, actually talked deeply about some of the things that surprised us from the book-to-movie adaptation. (Started: 7/10/2017, Finished: 7/14/2017 — via Overdrive) 

4. Bad Feminist: Essays
Roxane Gay
narrated by Bahni Turpin
This book has been on my Must Read List for forever, and I was thrilled to find it in my library’s audiobook app after owning the Kindle version for over a year and failing to read it. This collection of essays, which spans politics, criticism, and feminism, was a fascinating read about how we view women, race, and what it means to be a feminist today. It’s definitely a must-read for any woman, man, child… Anyone. Roxane Gay has a beautiful voice and eye for detail and tells the stories that we need to hear today. Plus, ya know, who can’t relate to being a “bad feminist” for watching trashy movies but still wanting to fight for equal rights? I know I sure can.
(Started: 7/16/2017, Finished: 7/23/2017 — via Overdrive)

5. The Art of Memoir
Mary Karr
Narrated by author
Mary Karr is a well-known memoir author, and her latest book is part memoir about her life as a writer and as a reader of memoirs and part instruction manual. She read the book herself, and I found her voice calm and knowledgeable. My only real complaint here is that I actually think this book would have been better had I read my physical copy of it and could take notes on the instructional part. Thankfully, I own this book in hardcover AND in Kindle, so there is time for me to reread it someday. (Started: 7/24/2017, Finished: 7/29/2017 — via Overdrive)

6. Modern Romance: An Investigation
Aziz Ansari

Narrated by author
I have been meaning to read this book for ages, and I am thrilled that I finally was able to. Aziz, a comedian, narrating his own book was a joy. Besides the little asides and jokes throughout, it was actually a very good investigation into modern dating. In particular, I was fascinated by the chapter on international dating (in which he talked about dating in Paris, Tokyo and Buenos Aires). I highly recommend this one for anyone dating in today’s world… or who is simply interested in what it’s like. (Started: 7/31/2017, Finished: 8/2/2017 — via Overdrive)

7. Me Before You
Jojo Moyes

Narrated by Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, Alex Tregear, Andrew Wincott, Owen Lindsay
I watched this movie last year, and fell in love. I had always meant to read the book, and even bought the book and its sequel on Kindle. But since I’m now doing audiobooks, I thought “reading” it via my library would be best. As predicted, the book was great. Similar to the movie, but with a lot more family drama, it’s a sweet and heartbreaking novel — my favorite kind. (Started: 8/6/2017, Finished: 8/9/2017 — via Overdrive)

8. After You
Jojo Moyes
Narrated by Anna Acton
Sequels can honestly be a hit or a miss, and this one falls squarely in the middle. To be honest, I was frequently annoyed with the things that our main character was doing and the way she was reacting. But in the end, it was a happy ending and she made the right choice, so all is good. I also appreciated the the sequel pretty much kept to one narrator, versus having mostly one but sometimes others throughout the first book. I wonder if this one will be made into a movie too? (Started: 8/9/2017, Finished: 8/11/2017 — via Overdrive)

9. Why Not Me?
Mindy Kaling

Narrated by author, Greg Daniels, B.J. Novak
I didn’t listen to a book due to a busy weekend, but I started out strong with Mindy’s second memoir. Just as with my previous book, however, I didn’t love the sequel as much as I had loved the original. Although having Mindy herself read the book was great, and she is always funny and has a surprising amount of insight, this one just didn’t have the depth or hold my interest as much as Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? had… Which I did, indeed, read back in my days of reading actual paper books. (Started: 8/14/2017, Finished: 8/14/2017 — via Overdrive)

10. The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood

Narrated by Claire Danes
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while now, basically since I heard of the Hulu series and what a huge splash it was making. Luckily, it was chosen as our book club book for August, so I had a great excuse. The narration by Claire Danes was phenomenal and reading the book was almost as thrilling as seeing the series (which I had done back in June). I’m very much looking forward to the series continuing the tale, to be honest, because the book did indeed have a jarring ending. None the less, it’s a must read for today’s world. (Started: 8/15/2017, Finished: 8/24/2017 — via Audible)

11. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Sheryl Sandberg
Narrated by Elisa Donovan
Yes, I read Lean In several years late (better late than never!) and all in one day. Between running errands and cooking lunches for the week, I had plenty of time and absolutely devoured the audiobook. Although I wish that Sheryl Sandberg herself had read this one, I thought the book was so much more than what others have described it as. I took quite a few tidbits with me for the future and am even encouraging my partner to read it soon. Can’t wait for her second book, Plan B. (Started: 8/26/2017, Finished: 8/26/2017 — via Overdrive)

12. #Girlboss 
Sophia Amoruso

Narrated by Sara Jes Austell
Right on the heels of Lean In, and because I had another day of errands to get done, I dove straight into #Girlboss. I mostly enjoyed this quasi-girlpower book by the founder and CEO of vintage clothing company Nasty Gal, but I didn’t find her advice nearly as thrilling as the previous book. She had good things to say about work and ambition, but at times I found it vapid and a bit too self-congratulatory. Her focus on not attending school and not taking out a loan to start her business were also quite unrealistic and, I am afraid, possibly sending a bad message to young girls. Overall, though, I am glad I finally read this one too. (Started: 8/27/2017, Finished: 8/28/2017 — via Overdrive)

13. The Carrie Diaries 
Candace Bushnell

Narrated by Sarah Drew
Although I was excited to read the story of Carrie Bradshaw’s final year of high school, I was a little disappointed by this book. I found her more vapid than in the show and was shocked by some of the missing details from the show and visa versa (like, in Sex and the City, there’s NO mention of Carrie’s two younger sisters or her dad and in this prequel book there’s no mention of her HS boyfriend Jeremy). Overall, though, it was a fun and easy read, which I guess is precisely what I needed after some heavier reading this summer. (Started: 8/29/2017, Finished: 9/1/2017 — via Overdrive)

14. Esperanza Rising
Pam Munoz Ryan
Narrated by Trini Alvarado
In an effort to read more Latinx stories and more young adult novels (which I love, but had fallen out of the habit of reading when I fell in love with memoir too), I began this book with excitement. The story was a bit slow and difficult for me to relate to, but it was a great look at what life was like for Mexican immigrants working in California farmlands in the 1930s. The historical novel taught me a lot (including reminding me about Mexican Repatriation), and I am excited to read more of these types of stories. (Started: 9/2/2017, Finished: 9/4/2017 — via Overdrive)

15. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert

Narrated by author
I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ever since I read her out-of-this-world bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, but this book about creativity and conquering your fears has been on my To Read List since it came out. I was hoping that the book would be inspiring and finally kick my butt into gear with some of my more creative projects, and it definitely was and has. Though the one thing I am finding from reading books like this (and Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir) is that I might absorb more if I actually did read these in a regular print format. But still, it was good reading! (Started: 9/5/2017, Finished: 9/7/2017 — via Overdrive)

16. The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin
Narrated by author
I honestly cannot remember when I first heard of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, but I’ve been following her work for years now. The funny thing about that, though, is that I actually follow her writing online and subscribe to her podcast but have never actually read the book that started it all. Reading this one was an absolute joy and gave me lots of ideas on how to improve my own life. In fact, I pretty much decided to go straight to the sequel afterward… (Started: 9/9/2017, Finished: 9/10/2017 — via Overdrive)

17. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday
Gretchen Rubin
Narrated by Käthe Mazur
Pretty much right after finishing The Happiness Project, I went into the sequel. This was a really weird weekend for me, though, as I was dealing with Hurricane Irma prep in my home of Fort Myers, FL. I found Happier at Home a great listen as I finished hurricane prep, but was soon distracted and couldn’t pick the book up again until I got back from a big trip a few weeks later. However, once I finally finished, I am glad I did. There were a lot of great tidbits about happiness in the home that I am going to try incorporating in my life as well… especially some things about photographs that I am psyched to try. (Started: 9/10/2017, Finished: 10/1/1017 — via Overdrive)

18. The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Narrated by Bahni Turpin
I have been waiting to read this book for a WHILE. Although I bought it on ebook, I never got around to it. Then when I finally decided to start reading audiobooks, I went to get this one from the library… only to be faced with a HUGE waitlist. So, after two months of waiting, here I am. This book is still #1 on the NYT bestseller list at the time of my reading, and I can absolutely see why. It’s the #BlackLivesMatter movement in a YA novel and it is phenomenal. I can’t WAIT for the movie! (Started: 9/20/2017, Finished: 9/27/2017 — via Overdrive)

19. Mean Girls: A Novel
Micol Ostow
Narrated by Susan-Kate Heaney
I am going to fully admit right now that I am extremely biased about this book: Not only am I a huge fan of the 2004 movie penned by Tina Fey but this book adaptation was also written by my former YA writing teacher, Micol Ostow. It was very, very fun and satisfying to read a book by someone I admire and know personally, and I really enjoyed this novel retelling of one of my favorite movies. It had just the right amount of details and different perspectives to add something to the movie while also honoring Tina Fey’s original vision. (Started: 10/6/2017, Finished: 10/7/2017 — via Audible)

20. Refugee
Alan Gratz
Narrated by Michael Goldstrom
I read this book in a day because it is absolutely impossible to put down and completely phenomenal. As an immigrant whose family sought political asylum, I somewhat related to this story of three refugee teens: Josef (whose family is attempting to escape Nazi Germany), Isabel (a Cuban girl—like myself—whose family is on a raft sailing to America) and Mahmoud (a Syrian boy whose homeland is torn apart by Civil War). Intriguing and heartfelt, I highly recommend this YA novel. (Started: 10/8/2017, Finished: 10/8/2017 — via Overdrive)

21. Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrated by author
It might seem strange to read a book on marriage from a woman who has now divorced the man she so lovingly talked about in this memoir, but I actually very much enjoyed it. Not only am I myself getting married soon, and thus am feeling the need to explore this topic, but I found her stories lovely. My biggest insight from the book was the fact that we have traded to have the choice to marry for love and with that comes the possibility of divorce (because, as she says in the book, love can be impermanent). When traditional Western marriages were based on family status or community or finances, it was easy for couples not to divorce because love simply didn’t factor into it. But these days, we demand more of our lives and more of our lovers (such as a true partnership), and with that must come the acceptance that things can change over time. I actually found this a refreshing, beautiful thought about holding on to love while we have it… though, hopefully, we will have it for a lifetime.
(Started: 10/12/2017, Finished: 10/13/2017 — via Overdrive)

22. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
Jen Sincero
Narrated by author
I am sad to say that this is the first book on my list that I honestly didn’t love or even like very much. It’s not that there was anything necessarily wrong with it, but I was clearly not the audience for this memoir/self-help book. For one, it drives me absolutely crazy whenever anyone says to “trust in the Universe” or that “the Universe loves you” or to “have faith” and talks about that whole law of attraction thing made famous by The Secret. I’m just not into that, personally. This book talked way too much about connecting with “source energy” and the Universe, and that’s just BS advice to me. What she did get right (in my mind) is all of the advice to be proactive in your life, stop F-ing around and go after what you want. The only problem? I already do that. There’s no major thing I want to change in my life, really, and this book meant to motivate was completely filled with advice I had heard a million times before. I understand the book’s appeal to those who need to make a dramatic leap to lead the life they want… But that’s just not me. (Started: 10/14/2017, Finished: 10/17/2017 — via Overdrive)

23. The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir
by Ariel Levy

Narrated by author
I had a business trip to travel to and, luckily, this book came through on my library app just in time. It was an absolutely lovely, beautiful, heartbreaking memoir of one journalist’s unconventional life of love and loss. It was a really great read, and I very much enjoyed this one. In fact, I basically read the whole thing on my flight and then finished it when I checked into my hotel. The memoir is haunting and, as someone who hasn’t had children yet, terrifying (because the author talks about losing her son when she was five months pregnant). It’s tough to read, but also great at the same time. (Started: 10/18/2017, Finished: 10/18/2017 — via Overdrive)

24. Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words
by Michael Ausiello
Narrated by author
In a similar turn of events, I decided that the next book I would read is this memoir that I’ve been wanting to get through since I first heard about it. Michael Ausiello is one of my favorite writer/editors who I have been following for a decade. He writes about entertainment and has worked for TVGuide, Entertainment Weekly and started TVLine. I honestly love his writing, so I was heartbroken to find out that he lost his partner to a very sudden and terminal cancer. This memoir, which was a beautiful read about their relationship and last year together, is definitely worth a read. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I cried. (Started: 10/18/2017, Finished: 10/24/2018 — via Audible)

25. Alex & Eliza: A Love Story
by Melissa de la Cruz
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
I read this book very quickly on the way to Los Angeles with my partner. I had actually started reading it on my Kindle earlier this year, but didn’t have time to finish it… so I thought tackling it on audiobook would be perfect. We were going to see Hamilton the musical in L.A. and, since this book is about the beginning of the love story between Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, I thought it would be a perfect read. This book by one of my favorite YA authors was absolutely fantastic. It was sweet, fairly accurate (historically) and also gave me deeper insight into what a strong-headed woman like Eliza may have been like back then. And yes, I definitely sang “Helpless” afterward. (Started: 10/25/2017, Finished: 10/26/2017 — via Overdrive)

26. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay)

Narrated by the author
On the plane ride back from L.A., I decided to finally read the latest from Roxane Gay. It’s a memoir about there body and how she and the world views it. It was definitely a very powerful read and, as someone who has lost a lot of weight, a subject very near and dear to my heart. Her struggles with why she gained weight (she was gang raped at age 12) and the subsequent invisibility and abuse she has endured due to her large/fat body (what she calls it throughout the book) is insightful. She talks openly and candidly about how others see her, how she sees herself and her past and current struggles. There’s a lot I related to, even though I am no longer “fat” or “large” and was never anywhere near her size. The thing I took away from it was to be kinder to strangers. Even more impactful, though, was what she said about fiction and life in general: It is all about the pursuit of desire… And so the ways in which she talks about hunger (both for food and for other, etherial things) was beautiful.
(Started: 10/30/2017, Finished: 10/31/2017 — via Overdrive)

27. Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green
Narrated by Kate Rudd
I wasn’t fully prepared for this book, which I knew dealt with mental health issues, so I actually put off reading it for almost an entire week. However, John Green’s latest YA novel was a work of wonder. I have been a huge fan of his ever since The Fault in Our Stars made me cry over and over again, and was looking forward to his latest. This book — in which a young girl suffering from severe anxiety meets a boy, fights with her best friend, and solves a mystery — was a beautiful, heartbreaking read. It gave me a real insight into what those suffering from far worse anxiety than I have deal with every day. It’s definitely a must-read.
(Started: 11/7/2017, Finished: 11/10/2017 — via Overdrive)

28. They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera
Narrated by Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond, Bahni Turpin
In my effort to read more young adult novels and, in particular, Latinx literature, I came across Adam Silvera’s work on Twitter over the summer. It’s the first time I found an author this was, but I soon learned that he had this new novel coming out in September. I immediately put it on my To Read List and, finally, got ahold of it through my library. This beautiful, haunting novel was absolutely incredible. I couldn’t put it down because of the moving prose and because, honestly, I’m kind of a sucker for romantic but tragic endings. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, the title holds up. (Started: 11/12/2017, Finished: 11/13/2017 — via Overdrive)

29. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
by Gretchen Rubin
Narrated by author
I’ve been seriously thinking about forming new habits lately, in particular with healthier eating and exercising, so this book seemed like the perfect one to read right now. I already follow Gretchen’s podcast, though, so a lot of the information here was very familiar to me. I love her Four Tendencies framework (her latest book, but also something covered extensively in the podcast), which was initially discussed here. There were a few things that this book made me realize about my own habits and why I am having such a hard time with some of them, and that was really valuable information. It’s definitely a great read for anyone who wants to be “better than before”. (Started: 11/14/2017, Finished: 11/17/2017 — via Audible)

30. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
by Gary Taubes
Narrated by Mike Chamberlain
Currently in progress.
(Started: 11/19/2017, Finished: TBD — via Overdrive)

101. Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow
Narrated by Scott Brick
Coming eventually…
(Started: TBD, Finished: TBD — via Audible)

Upcoming Books (in no particular order):

  1. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic* (Esther Perel) — via Audible
  2. The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle* (Steven Pressfield) — via Audible
  3. Pride and Prejudice* (Jane Austen) — via Audible
  4. The Diary of a Young Girl* (Anne Frank) — via Overdrive
  5. In the Country We Love: My Family Divided* (Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford) — via Audible
  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking* (Susan Cain) — via Audible
  7. Spinster (Kate Bolick)
  8. Running With Scissors: A Memoir (Augusten Burroughs)
  9. Dry: A Memoir (Augusten Burroughs)
  10. Lust & Wonder: A Memoir (Augusten Burroughs)
  11. Lit: A Memoir (Mary Karr)
  12. The Four Tendencies (Gretchen Rubin)
  13. Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty)
  14. Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)
  15. The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon)
  16. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Carlos Eire)
  17. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Michael Pollan)
  18. It Was Me All Along: A Memoir (Andie Mitchell)
  19. Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing (Jennifer Weiner)
  20. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction (Elizabeth Vargas)
  21. Where She Went (Gayle Forman)
  22. Heartburn (Nora Ephron)
  23. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (Susannah Cahalan)
  24. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (Amy Schumer)
  25. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ (Lena Dunham)
  26. Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld)
  27. Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer (Jen Lancaster)
  28. The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person (Shonda Rhimes)
  29. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
  30. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  31. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)
  32. Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll)
  33. The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Belle Boggs)
  34. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (Jenny Lawson)
  35. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (Jenny Lawson)
  36. The Girls (Emma Cline)
  37. Everything You Want Me To Be: A Novel (Mindy Mjia) 
  38. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life (Glennon Doyle Melton)
  39. Love Warrior (Glennon Doyle Melton)
  40. The Nest (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney)
  41. Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better (Wendy Suzuki)
  42. The Alchemist (Paul Coelho)
  43. Sweetbitter (Stephanie Danler)
  44. Once Upon a Quinceañera (Julia Alvarez)
  45. Shadowshaper (Daniel José Older)
  46. The Glass Castle: A Memoir* (Jeannette Walls) — via Overdrive
  47. The God Delusion* (Richard Dawkins) — via Overdrive
  48. Option B* (Sheryl Sandberg) — via Overdrive
  49. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces* (Isabel Quintero) — via Overdrive
  50. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison (Piper Kerman) — via Overdrive
  51. The Art of Asking (Amanda Palmer) — via Overdrive
  52. Daring Greatly (Brené Brown) — via Overdrive
  53. What Happened* (Hillary Rodham Clinton) — via Overdrive
  54. How to Fall in Love with Anyone (Mandy Len Catron) — via Overdrive

* Already purchased, pre-ordered, or reserved at my library