Reading List


I learned about Leslie Zimmerman’s book, Dream Big, while I was reading George W. Bush’s Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

Dream Big by Leslie Zimmerman inspires children to dream of what they can achieve while living in the moment.

Zimmerman, an Army Sergeant, served as a medic in Kuwait and later in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She returned home with PTS and depression and was spotlighted in the former president’s book.

Books and an ereader on a table.
Oh, the places you can go in the pages of a good book!

Who doesn’t like reading a good book? I’ve not ever tried a particular reading challenge, rather been tossed along as a pebble in a stream from one book to the next. Sometimes getting stuck in a rut and doing a marathon read of an entire series or settling into one particular genre or the other.

This year, POPSUGAR’s 2017 Reading Challenge came through my Pinterest feed right as I was between books, so I decided to add a bit of structure to my reading travels.

Quote from Jump by Steve Harvey with Louellen Coker skydiving.
Louellen on her first skydive jump.

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, and with the new year, I thought it might be good to peruse a good professional book. One of my goals this year is to dust myself off and restart my goal of travel and lifestyle writing, and one of my favorite quotes is Jump, and the net will appear! It was only natural that when I stumbled upon Steve Harvey’s newest book, Jump, that I’d pick it up.

Honestly, what’s not to like about Steve Harvey? He’s funny, he’s direct and to the point, he makes mistakes (and fixes them) with grace, and he likes to help people. Love him or hate him, he’s an Everyman. As the author of several books, Harvey has embraced a personal goal of helping others.

You may ask yourself, just as I did,

Sunrise photo by Louellen S. Coker with quote from novel.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is a classic novel that is subtly powerful.
Photo by Louellen S. Coker

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I’m glad I did. Written in 1943, the book became an Academy Award winning movie in 1945 and was adapted into a Broadway musical in 1951.

An often overlooked American literature classic, Smith takes the reader on a journey that handles many difficult topics (poverty, alcoholism, man vs. his environment, education, coming of age, family, exploitation, love, and the American Dream). We follow Frances, Francie, Nolan through 5 different stages of her early life (spanning 17 years from 1900 until 1917) that take her from abject poverty at birth to relative wealth as a young adult.