I enjoy reading books and usually have a few going at a time. During my recent hiatus from social media I had a sharp, sudden feeling one day that I have so many books that I want to read. It was an overwhelming excitement and drive to read, write, and create swirling into one loud inner voice calling out to me.
As I have been reflecting back on the year, a year many have called divisive, I remember feeling this tug building from within encouraging me to read with wild abandon. This knowing has ignited my journey (and a holiday reading frenzy) for greater understanding, kindness, curiosity, connection, and hope.
One of my big wishes for the world is that everyone experience the power of reading to take you on a journey to seek more understanding and openness. To get you started, here are a few of my favorites this year.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
by Brené Brown
During an intense time in politics, but more importantly for humanity and the world. If you read one book from this list, I hope it is this one. The idea that if I find it difficult to see and experience the treatment of one person (or political candidate) then it should be as troubling to see a comic poking fun a different or aposing point of view. It is all a vicious call to choose a side and that our actions demonstrate that we are either "with them or against them." This is harming us and our ability to evolve as citizens of the world.
Brown writes: “Dehumanizing and holding people accountable are mutually exclusive. Humiliation and dehumanizing are not accountability or social justice tools, they’re emotional off-loading at best, emotional self-indulgence at worst. And if our faith asks us to find the face of God in everyone we meet, that should include the politicians, media, and strangers on Twitter with whom we most violently disagree. When we desecrate their divinity, we desecrate our own, and we betray our faith.”
Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms
by Maureen Chiquet
I actually had not heard of Chiquet, who is the former global CEO of Chanel and grew as a business leader by climbing the ranks at the GAP. The opening story about her experience and curiosity exploring France was heartwarmingly beautiful. So much wisdom and openness to consider for anyone who is on a journey to understand who they are, the work that they do, and the why behind it all.
A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle Series Book 1)
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Of all the books I have read, the first chapter of this book might be my favorite first chapter. It just pulled me into the magic and wonder of Earthsea (not to mention my first time reading Le Guin ... how did it take me this long? Don't make the same mistake).
Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature
by Tina Welling
The Wildness is within us, it is us! This book jumped out at me while pursuing the shelves of a local book store and such a gem. Welling shares her understanding of the interconnectedness between the earth’s creative energy and her own personal creative energy. Many fantastic insights into the writing and creative process, the power of spirit walks to open up space for earths connection, and her three step process of naming, describing, and interacting.
The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith
by Gabrielle Bernstein
I read this book during a rather difficult time in my year when I was under employed and seeking an inner guidance for making my next step. This book has and continues to be such and important part of my journey. I devoured the book in two days and I have now have the audible version to listen to whenever I need a remember to connect to the energy of the Universe and believe in the miracles that manifest from choosing love instead of fear.
Strala Yoga: Be Strong, Focused & Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Out
by Tara Stiles
Ever wanted to do more yoga but found that you just could not find your flow and practice. This book changed my perspective and helped me let go of the expectation that I had to hold a certain pose or do yoga a certain way. Not any more. I am all about following the Strala approach to getting in tune with my breath and moving in ways that it feels good to move.
Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume I
by Orson Scott Card
I read a ton of non-fiction, but have been branching out to more genres including fantasy and sci-fi. I have to send a shout out to Jared Palmer for introducing me to Cards Seventh Son Series. I absolutely loved the first book and read all six this year. Its been years, but I'm hoping perhaps this will be the year the seventh (and final book) comes out. A magical journey of talents, ways of knowing, consequences of our actions, and always lurking dark forces.
Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
by Jane Goodall
I read Harvest for Hope by Goodall and that guided me to make the decision to become a vegetarian. Since this point, I have held a special place of appreciation for Jane's contributions to the world. This year, I took myself of a date to see the National Geographic film Jane (magnificent!!) and listened to Jane read Reasons for Hope. If you are not familiar with her story this will be such an eye opener.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
Since reading Bird by Bird, I find myself returning to it often for encouragement and a good kick in the butt to take it word by word, image by image, thought by thought and tell my story. An accessible and important guide for writers, creatives, and anyone who wants to engage with work that matters.
The Power Is Within You
by Louise L. Hay
I had never read anything by Hay and with her transition this year, I found myself curious and so I dove in with an open mind and was blown away by the power of her message. When this came out in 1991, I was just a young girl of about eight or nine and now in my mid thirties, I found myself finding so much to soak in and chew on from self care, spirituality, connectedness, inner knowing, and hope.
The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer's Place in Picture-Making
by David duChemin
I had the opportunity to meet duChemin at a workshop in Vancouver and have been a big fan of his work, both his photography and the way he talks about making photographs. So much guidance and thought paired with a moving set of images to get you thinking and looking more closely at the way you make photographs (whether for a living or as the family historian).
by Naomi Alderman
I had heard of this book and then it came up on Bustle's 17 Books Every Woman Should Read in 2017. I kept picking it up and plowed through it in a couple of days over the holidays. I found it difficult to read the violence and harshness of the world, yet could not put it down. There is just so much going on, and I will likely re-read it again this year.
Phew! That's a wrap. So, tell me what are you reading right now? What made your list of favorites this year?