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WINTER READING LIST

 

The easiest season for me to cross good reads off my list is winter. All I want to do is cozy up to a new book and hide from the frost outside my bedroom window. I had a hectic fall so I’m still a bit behind on that list if I’m being honest. But, here are the next 10 that I’ll be chipping away at. I’ve already read How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti, and it is now on my favorite books list. The rest are new to me and I am super excited to crack the binding on these beauties. Let’s get reading! As always, share your winter picks with me and let me know how you enjoyed these reads.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear 

by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi 

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

 

How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life

by Sheila Heti 

A raw, startling, genre-defying novel of friendship, sex, and love in the new millennium―a compulsive read that’s like “spending a day with your new best friend” (Bookforum)

By turns loved and reviled upon its U.S. publication, Sheila Heti’s “breakthrough novel” (Chris Kraus, Los Angeles Review of Books) is an unabashedly honest and hilarious tour through the unknowable pieces of one woman’s heart and mind. Part literary novel, part self-help manual, and part vivid exploration of the artistic and sexual impulse, How Should a Person Be? earned Heti comparisons to Henry Miller, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, and Flaubert, while shocking and exciting readers with its raw, urgent depiction of female friendship and of the shape of our lives now. Irreverent, brilliant, and completely original, Heti challenges, questions, frustrates, and entertains in equal measure. With urgency and candor she asks: What is the most noble way to love? What kind of person should you be?

 

Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe

by Yumi Sakugawa 

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe will set you free on a visual journey of self-discovery. Set against a surreal backdrop of intricate ink illustrations, you will find nine metaphysical lessons with dreamlike instructions that require you to open your heart to unexplored inner landscapes. From setting fire to your anxieties to sharing a cup of tea with your inner demons, you will learn how to let go and truly connect with the world around you.

Whether you need a little inspiration or a completely new life direction, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe provides you with the necessary push to find your true path–and a whimsical adventure to enjoy on the way there.

 

Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness

by George Saunders 

Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.

 

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America – Out 1/30/18

by Morgan Jerkins 

Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans.

Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.

Whether she’s writing about Sailor Moon; Rachel Dolezal; the stigma of therapy; her complex relationship with her own physical body; the pain of dating when men say they don’t “see color”; being a black visitor in Russia; the specter of “the fast-tailed girl” and the paradox of black female sexuality; or disabled black women in the context of the “Black Girl Magic” movement, Jerkins is compelling and revelatory.

 

Just Kids

by Patti Smith 

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.  An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

 

Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language – Out 1/23/18

by Emma Byrne 

We’re often told that swearing is outrageous or even offensive, that it’s a sign of a stunted vocabulary or a limited intellect. Dictionaries have traditionally omitted it and parents forbid it. But the latest research by neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, and others has revealed that swear words, curses, and oaths―when used judiciously―can have surprising benefits.

In this sparkling debut work of popular science, Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. With humor and colorful language, she explores every angle of swearing―why we do it, how we do it, and what it tells us about ourselves. Not only has some form of swearing existed since the earliest humans began to communicate, but it has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims recover language, and to promote human cooperation. Taking readers on a whirlwind tour through scientific experiments, historical case studies, and cutting-edge research on language in both humans and other primates, Byrne defends cursing and demonstrates how much it can reveal about different cultures, their taboos and their values.

Packed with the results of unlikely and often hilarious scientific studies―from the “ice-bucket test” for coping with pain, to the connection between Tourette’s and swearing, to a chimpanzee that curses at her handler in sign language―Swearing Is Good for You presents a lighthearted but convincing case for the foulmouthed.

 

The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money

by Chelsea Fagan 

The Financial Diet is the personal finance book for people who don’t care about personal finance. Whether you’re in need of an overspending detox, buried under student debt, or just trying to figure out how to live on an entry-level salary, The Financial Diet gives you tools to make a budget, understand investments, and deal with your credit. Chelsea Fagan has tapped a range of experts to help you make the best choices for you, but she also knows that being smarter with money isn’t just about what you put in the bank. It’s about everything―from the clothes you put in your closet, to your financial relationship habits, to the food you put in your kitchen (instead of ordering in again). So The Financial Diet gives you the tools to negotiate a raise and the perfect cocktail recipe to celebrate your new salary.

The Financial Diet will teach you:
• how to get good with money in a year.
• the ingredients everyone needs to have a budget-friendly kitchen.
• how to talk about awkward money stuff with your friends.
• the best way to make (and stick to!) a budget.
• how to take care of your house like a grown-up.
• what the hell it means to invest (and how you can do it).

 

Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir

by Amy Tan 

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of AmazementAmy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.

Tan explores shocking truths uncovered by family memorabilia—the real reason behind an IQ test she took at age six, why her parents lied about their education, mysteries surrounding her maternal grandmother—and, for the first time publicly, writes about her complex relationship with her father, who died when she was fifteen. Supplied with candor and characteristic humor, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.

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