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Books to Inspire You This Winter

I usually read fiction at night, before I go to bed. After grappling with the not very effective itty-bity book light, I broke down and bought a Kindle. I can now read in the dark without blinding my husband, look up word definitions with just a click, and, as my eyesight deteriorates, I can increase type size without having to hold my book at arm's length. There are, however, some books I feel the need to possess in their more tangible formats. These generally fall under the non-fiction category and offer gems of insight and wisdom that require highlighting or flagging with a rainbow of post-its. They are the books that hold a special place on my bookshelf, so they can be revisited or shared with others. With winter and holidays upon us, I thought I'd share them with you....

Trust your gut. Forgive yourself. Be grateful.

A collection of more than one hundred quotes from the wild and wise Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things and the column “Dear Sugar” as well as co-host of the podcast “Dear Sugars” with Steve Almond.

I came up with a handful of rules: write a delight every day for a year; begin and end on my birthday, August 1; draft them quickly; and write them by hand. The rules made it a discipline for me. A practice. Spend time thinking and writing about delight every day.

I first heard poet Ross Gay interviewed by Dr. Laurie Santos on one of my favorite podcasts, The Happiness Lab. In the course of one year, from birthday to birthday, Gay wrote daily essays about the joys we often overlook in our busy lives. He puts them all together creating a meditation on delight. I was so inspired after reading his book that I put together my own list of delights. The act made me slow down and appreciate the small moments and wonders in life.

Changing seasons make the world seem hopeful, familiar and promising. They are a powerful reminder that change is the natural state of affairs.

This was loaned to me by my walking buddy, Deb, which was a treat because I got to see all of her dogeared pages and highlights. I loved it so much that I bought a copy for myself. The author offers reflections and practical tips on walking, which she has done every day for the past 10 years amounting to more than 25,000 miles! Her writing is really beautiful and worth rereading. She also includes lovely photos and useful resources at the end. Do/Walk would make a wonderful gift for any current or aspiring walker.

If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.

I have several books by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, but Peace is Every Step is the one I always return to. This book is filled with short essays on finding mindfulness in everything from breathing to washing dishes to eating mindfully. And it’s hard not to smile when reading Hanh’s peaceful words, especially when he so gently instructs you to do so. Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.

i do not wish

to change the past

it made me

who i am today

i only want

to learn from it

and live in a new way

I was first introduced to poet, meditator and speaker Yung Pueblo’s enlightening insights on Instagram, before he was an official author. He’s now published two books and has 1.7 million followers. I own Inward and will be adding Clarity & Connection to my collection. If you have any interest in exploring the topics of healing, personal transformation, freedom, self-awareness and connection be sure to check him out.

Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.

This book got a lot of hype when it was published last year. It offers insights on the power of rest and retreat to get through difficult times. After listening to an interview with the author, Wintering has been high up on my “to buy and read” list. I got my chance when I stumbled into the new and fantastic Frenchtown Bookshop last weekend. There was just one copy of Wintering left on the display shelf and it was calling to me so loudly that I could not walk by without adding it to our stack of purchases. I have yet to read the book, but with the first day of winter just a few weeks away it seems like the perfect time to hunker down and do so.

Happy Reading!


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