Byte of Prevention Blog

by Camille Stell |

Reading Challenge pt III

reading challenge“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2016, I set a New Year’s resolution – a reading challenge to read 52 books in a year. By December 31, I had achieved my goal plus one – 53 books read in 2016. I discussed the challenge in Post 1 and Post 2.

Here is the list of books I read in 2016, along with a few closing reflections.


Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail, Ben Montgomery


The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, Richard Susskind

Lawyers at Midlife: Laying the Groundwork for the Road Ahead, A Personal and Financial Retirement Planner for Lawyers, Michael Long

Personal Branding 101: How to Develop Your Brand With Ease, Katy Goshtasbi

The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars, Joel Glenn Brenner

Internet Branding for Lawyers: Building a Client-Centered Website, Jeff Lantz

100 Things You Need to Know: Time Management for Students and New Professionals, Mary Crane

100 Things You Need to Know: Business Etiquette for Students and New Professionals, Mary Crane

100 Things You Need to Know: Networking for Students and New Professionals, Mary Crane

100 Things You Need to Know: Starting Work for Interns, New Hires and Summer Associates, Mary Crane

Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Ken Grossman

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Chris J. Anderson


I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, Nora Ephron

I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron

A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life, Pat Conroy

Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women, Nora Ephron

Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media, Nora Ephron

Holidays On Ice, David Sedaris

A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Anna Quindlen


Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon

At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon

Seventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman

The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks

Black and Blue, Anna Quindlen

Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult

Fair and Tender Ladies, Lee Smith

Folly Beach, Dorothea Benton Frank

The Christmas Box, Richard Paul Evans

The Quiet Little Woman, Louisa May Alcott

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling

The Mitford Snowmen: A Christmas Story

The Christmas List, Richard Paul Evans

Lost December, Richard Paul Evans

Rise and Shine, Anna Quindlen


The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, Marja Mills

Broken Music, Sting

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes

When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi

Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, Lee Smith

Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc

Wildflower, Drew Barrymore

Love Life, Rob Lowe

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss, Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson


Believer: My 40 Years in Politics, David Axelrod

40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, James Carville

The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, McKay Coppins

In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now, Benjamin Hedin


Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley

The Anxious Lawyer: An 8 Week Guide to a Happier, Saner Law Practice Using Mediation, Jeena Cho


Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love and a Story of Remarkable Grace, Terri Roberts

Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Your Alive, Thom S. Rainer

The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing and Hope, Richard Paul Evans


“Younger Next Year” was recommended at a meeting of the NC Bar Association’s Transitioning Lawyer Commission. YNY was co-written by Dr. Harry Lodge and his patient, Chris Crowley, who happens to be a lawyer. The book is a guide to living strong and fit. “Harry’s Rules”, as they are identified in the book, are important for all of us and are key to keeping us young:

  1. Exercise six days a week
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week
  3. Do serious strength training with weights, two days a week
  4. Spend less than you make
  5. Quit eating garbage
  6. Care
  7. Connect and commit

Both my husband and I read the book and “delay decay” became our mantra when we did not want to go to the gym or put on our walking shoes.

I read about Grandma Gatewood just months after I had hiked the portion of the Appalachian Trail in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Grandma Gatewood become the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person – man or woman – to walk it two and then three more times. She did all of this after the age of 67. And she took with her one change of clothes, a sack she made out of spare material and she wore sneakers. I spent more money on my shoes and hiking pole for a few hours of hiking than she took with her on her 2,050-mile trip. Gatewood waited most of her life for the opportunity to be by herself and do something she wanted to do just for herself. There are many lessons in this book, one is do not put off the life you want to live. Another lesson for me is to put on those expensive hiking shoes and take a lot more walks.

You may know Shonda Rhimes as the creator of Thursday night’s TV line-up: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder. She is also the author of “Year of Yes”. While Rhimes keeps herself busy with three hit television shows and three children at home, she had no trouble saying no to invitations, speaking engagements and other opportunities that come her way. Until Thanksgiving of 2013 when her sister challenged her – “you never say yes to anything”. Rhimes memoir reveals how saying yes not only changed her life; she credits her new attitude with saving it. As a busy professional, I find my struggle is often to say no so that I am not over-committed and under-performing. Rhimes book caused me to look at my decision-making process and to embrace the “yes” when I do commit – to joyfully own each invitation and opportunity that comes my way.

Nora Ephron’s “I Remember Nothing” is a collection of essays about aging. At the time the book was published in 2010, no one outside her immediate family knew she was sick and her death in 2012 was shocking. Reading her essays after her death, as I did, I felt there were many clues provided to us in her hilarious rage against the state of aging. I carried this book around with me for weeks. I would pull it out just to re-read the lists she included of things she will and will not miss. I also kept it close for writing inspiration. Her writing, in this collection of essays, was her best.

There were many lessons learned from my 2016 Reading Challenge. I could spend 2017 writing about them. However, I will save some of the stories for when we met in person this year.

 Did you miss any of the challenge posts? See my first post here. The second post can be found here.

About the Author

Camille Stell

Camille Stell is President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting and Services, offering succession planning, business development coaching, keynote presentations and more. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at or 800.662.8843.

Read More by Camille >

Related Posts