8 Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction) to Read This Year

8 Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction) to Read This Year

These are eight of the most impactful books I’ve read over the last year and I cannot recommend them enough. If you're looking to get that reading habit off the ground this year, this is your sign.

These books are entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking. Enjoy.



This historical fiction takes place in 1866 in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley. As the nation begins to recover from the Civil War a new war breaks out on the western frontier―a clash of cultures between the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries and a young, ambitious nation of newcomers.

Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota’s most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. All of this goes about as well as you’d imagine.

If you love westerns, historical fiction, or just want to learn more about this country of ours you will love this book.

Gates of Fire

I recently re-read this one and – wow; I immediately remember why I love this book. I first read Gates of Fire as a Youngster (read sophomore) at the U.S. Naval Academy where it was mandatory reading.

This historical fiction by the prolific Steven Pressfield brings the Battle of Thermopylae to life in a big way. As the story goes, Thermopylae is the spot where 300 Spartan soldiers stood firm in a suicide mission to hold the millions-strong Persian at bay. The 300 Spartans would be remembered for the greatest military stand in history.

If you need some old-fashioned motivation this book is for you.


I finally read Musashi this year after hearing it recommended from the likes of Tim Ferriss and Jocko Willink. It did not disappoint.

Musashi is the quintessential samurai novel about the exploits of Japan’s most famous swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi.

The long epic (over 900 pages) comprises seven "books" detailing Musashi’s exploits beginning just after the battle of Sekigahara, following his journeys and the many people who become important in his life, and leading up to his climactic duel with Sasaki Kojiro. This historical fiction covers everything from the warrior code of bushido to the merits of art and spirituality in self-development.

This one is a commitment, but it’s worth it.

Memoirs of Hadrian

First published in 1951, Memoirs of Hadrian is the fictionalization of what author Marguerite Yourcenar imagines the Roman emperor’s personal account of his life might have looked like. Painstakingly researched, Yourcenar reimagines the Emperor Hadrian's arduous boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, and finally, as emperor, his gradual reordering of a war-torn world.

This book is both an exploration of character and a reflection on history and the meaning of it. Written in the style of Hadrian’s era, this one reads like the real thing. If you are interested in Roman history or Stoicism, give this one a spin.


This Hallowed Ground

This is the most thorough and interesting book about the Civil War I’ve read.

This Hallowed Ground deals with the entire scope of the Civil War from the months of unrest and hysteria that led to Fort Sumter to the days of tragedy and hope that followed Appomattox. Catton not only presents the chronological events in a logical and easy to follow way, but his analysis of how individual events affected one another is second to none. 

The Artist’s Way

Recommended to me by a fellow service academy grad, this one was a pleasant surprise. Less a book than a roadmap, The Artists Way gave me the kick I needed to start journaling again.

The program begins with Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery – The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter.

If you’re finding it hard to get started – or back in the saddle – with any creative pursuit this book is for you. 

Atomic Habits

The go-to resource for habit formation. Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

This book will fill out your toolkit with the tools necessary to become a better version of yourself. Recommend reading and re-reading periodically.

The War of Art

This short read from Steven Pressfield is on my annual reading list. Consider it a succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere.

Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Whether an artist, writer or entrepreneur, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.