There are ten long weekends in every year for Americans.
MLK, Jr.’s birthday in January
President’s Day in February
Memorial Day in May
Independence Day in July
Labor Day in September
Columbus Day in October
Veterans Day in November
Thanksgiving in November
Christmas in December
New Year’s in December/January
A long weekend is a perfect time to read a book or maybe listen to one on audio. I thought I’d come up with ten books that I’ve found life-changing, that are perfect long-weekend reads.
Think about this, though, before you burrow in for a long weekend with an incredible book: It’s about more than reading. Read with a notebook by your side. Take notes. Spend the end of your weekend make a plan for actually implementing what you learn.
Learn, and then do.
Kickstart Your Creativity
On Writing by Stephen King
I have recommended this book a hundred times. At least. It’s half memoir, half straight-forward, concise fiction writing manual. If you have any desire to write fiction, or you just want to kick start your creative mojo, you should read this book. I try to read it every year.
Figure Out Who You Want to Be When You Grow Up
Wishcraft by Barbara Sher
This is another long-time favorite of mine. It helped me when my life was falling apart. It’s shaped the last two decades of my life, by teaching me not only how to see my dreams as something attainable, but how to figure out what they even were. If you feel at loose ends or like you just don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, this is the book for you.
Make Tiny Changes
Atomic Habits by James Clear
This was my first read of 2019 and I absolutely loved it. It’s going to make a difference for me this year. Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows how I feel about teeny tiny goals — it was very interesting to read someone else’s ideas on idea and to see it framed around habits instead of goals.
Runner Up: Finish by Jon Alcuff.
Figure Out if it’s Time to Quit (or Stick)
The Dip by Seth Godin
This is a small, but powerful book designed to help you figure out if whatever it is you’re spending your time and energy on is worth the effort, or if it’s time to quit.
Runner up: Purple Cow, also by Seth Godin.
Make Lemonade out of Lemons
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
I haven’t read this book yet. It’s on my long-weekend reading list for 2019. Stoicism is about embracing your problems as advantages.
Runner up: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.
Picking Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps
Choose Yourself by James Altucher
The best part of this book is a chapter that gives you a blueprint for turning yourself into an idea machine that works so well, it literally changed everything for me.
Runner Up: The Power of Positive Thinking by Normal Vincent Peale.
Get Your Financial Life in Order
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
What I love most about this book is that it’s so straight forward. No gimmicks. No frameworks or flashy acronyms or powerhouse gurus. Your Money or Your Life is a book about learning how to understand your money and be a good steward of it.
Runner Up: You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham.
Find Some Peace With Your Body
Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon
This book was such a revelation to me. It was a turning point in my relationship with my health and my body. Bacon is a sociologist who believes that rather than focusing on weight loss, it’s better to take steps toward health starting where you are right now.
Runner Up: Fed Up! by Wendy Oliver-Pyatt.
Become an Autodidact
The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn
Are there any books that you got your hands on when you were a teenager that maybe weren’t written for you — they were probably meant for adults — but you read them and they were formative? This is the inverse of that. A book written for teenagers that, if you read it, will change everything.
I read The Teenage Liberation Handbook when my older kids were getting t o be middle school age. My son has autism and school was — well it was very, very hard. It bordered on torture. So I read Llewellyn’s book because I wanted to learn more about homeschooling. I ended up learning about unschooling and the idea that school is a tool, not the totality of education. This book made me a better mother, but the reason I love it so much is because it taught me that I could homeschool myself. As an adult. Forever. This book is 100 percent worth reading, even if you don’t have children. If you do have kids, pass it on to them when you’re done.
Get Your House in Order
Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk
I’m just going to come out and say it. I am not a fan of the Marie Kondo method of magical tidying. But I did need some kind of method for staying on top of things at home. I’m not naturally organized and I have a regrettably high tolerance for chaos. Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk is a far simpler and more straight forward plan that doesn’t involve asking every single thing I own if it brings me joy or mastering some secret form of t-shirt folding.
Runner Up: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.