Reading has somehow become something of a rare indulgence in my life. I once cried before boarding a plane because I suddenly realized I didn't have a book, and flights were my big chance to read! These days I hardly even allow myself to read on planes, unless there's no wifi for work. However, I absolutely LOVE reading. I've read and/or rediscovered some great books this year, so I thought I'd share my best-of list for the year with you!
Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs: Subtitle: "Collecting the Moments that Matter." Full disclosure: I know & love Annie (although she has no idea I'm writing this). Also, much of the book is set where she lives, and where I'm from: Nashville. I feel like part of my extreme fondness for this book comes from a place of mutual love, but I also feel that this is an inspiring read for any female in the midst of life. All of us have good days & bad, nice things & hard things about our life, and most people need regular reminders about what truly matters. The book teaches you to recognize & value the specific-to-you things that matter. Annie shares a deeply honest personal perspective that challenges you to dig deep into your own truth as well. It's a beautiful, fast read that stealthily cuts to the heart. It will also make you laugh out loud because Annie is one of the funniest humans on the planet. Check out her podcast too - That Sounds Fun. It's fun. :)
Woman Code by Alisa Vitti: Hormones are such a complex and delicate system. When they work properly, people just take it for granted. When they are awry, it can mess with your whole life! As someone who has suffered from extremely finicky hormones, I quickly drank this book in over a weekend. Alisa Vitta shares the type of essential knowledge that every woman should possess. Our modern, western culture has done us a great disservice by raising most of us to not even think about how all of our actions have counteractions inside our bodies, and in a much different way than our male counterparts. Men, you might want to read this too, just to be more knowledgeable about the women in your life!
Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck: Martha Beck is a life coach & all of her books help you to see your life & the world through clearer lenses. It's as if, on one end of the spectrum, there's this fog of expectations & societal norm that pushes many people through a life of drudgery, and they don't know any better. On the far other end of the spectrum, there is truth & meaning, enlightenment & connection, certainly still hard times in life but a healthier perspective on all of it - and a mature awareness! Martha's insight teaches you how to really tune into your own intuition & to this fascinating world that connects us all.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: This book has received tons of press and accolades, so I'm assuming that if you haven't read it, you've at least heard of it - yes? It's an entertaining & inspirational read that really makes you want to stop reading and start creating.
Diana, Herself by Martha Beck: The lone novel on my list! Like I mentioned above, Martha Beck is full of fantastic revelations. In this beautiful allegory, you follow the story of a fictional character experiencing many of the lessons from Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, and other Beck writings. Be prepared to flex your brain when you read this; like with The Matrix or The Shack, it's otherworldly. It's Book One of The Bewilderment Chronicles & I so look forward to reading Book Two & beyond!
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte: Honestly, this book took me a little while to get into and I don't totally know why... Probably because while it is really good, it also requires a lot of active self-examination. You don't just read this book - you work through it. It is, like the book, The War of Art teaches - what you want most to do is sometimes most challenging. The second half of the book is a literal work-book, where you answer a number of short questions that result in a collection of your own personalized Desire Map. - A treasure map of sorts to your best life & truest self.
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman: This little book entered my life upon the recommendation of a friend following the tragic loss of my aunt earlier this year. Obviously not for everyone, but it is a soul-soothing daily read for anyone in this season. Each small page has a quote at the top that is relevant to one of the many stages of grief, followed by reflections & encouragement by the author, and a short mantra for the day at the bottom of the page. Not every day strikes a chord, but most have been helpful and some have been profound.
The Moon Juice Cookbook by Amanda Chantal Bacon: You might not think of a cookbook as something you sit down and read cover to cover, and maybe this book won't interest you in that way, but it did for me! Moon Juice is the best juice joint in LA, and probably the world. I used to juice daily and use my dehydrator to make crackers from my veggie juice pulp, and all of that stuff. Then my life got complicated and some past joys didn't make the cut. I do, however, bike past Moon Juice on my way to work & love stopping in for a guilt-free treat. This book has revitalized my desire for creating those life-giving foods & so much more! Read not only recipes, but how foods healed the author's life, & learn how to create your own Moon Kitchen. To me, these are simply the best foods to eat: beautiful, healthy, & delicious creations that showcase the wonder of the most powerful fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that grow on God's enchanted Earth!
Have you read any of the above? If so, let me know what you thought! What have you read this year that moved or inspired you?