My Favorite Books that Touched My Soul

Jan 31, 2022JOURNAL

Books with Coffee
Books mean different things to different people. But, no matter your perception of a book, studies have proven that reading reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, prevents cognitive decline and enhances overall well-being.

My son likes reading aloud to anyone who’ll listen. He’s currently reading Where the Red Fern Grows, one of my childhood favorites. He’s the sweetest kid reading a charming classic.

As a child, I escaped into books. Teachers expressed concern about my reading too much. Mrs. Hawkins, my sixth-grade teacher, sent home a note: I’m worried Julie is staying up all night reading. She was onto me, the compulsive bibliophile balancing a flashlight under the sheets, hoping to unearth some form of stability in the literary world.

As I listened to my son read, I felt cloaked in solace. How stable life has become, I thought. I had dreamt about this and labored for it for so long.

As though telepathic, my son lowered his book, connected his Hershey eyes with mine and said, “Mom, thanks for keeping everything stable—the house, the dogs, us… I’m super grateful.”

Life is a winding road—potholes galore. But, if we surround ourselves with insightful people, good books and healthy experiences, we arrive at our destination often more stable than we imagined. For me, reading has been the gateway to my stability.

“Books are the most vital, intimate, personal, mind-altering, thought-twisting, friend-giving, empathy-strengthening, thrill-riding, emotional, world-shaking technology we will ever have. And in a world where we are increasingly connected via technology, but disconnected by society, books and stories can be the glue that bonds us.”

—Matt Haig

MY FAVORITE BOOKS

Book, Educated by Tara Westover

Educated

Nonfiction

Tara Westover was born to isolated survivalists in the mountains of Idaho. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Tara taught herself grammar and math and was admitted to Brigham Young University, Harvard and Cambridge.

Educated is the story of family dysfunction and the grief that comes with severing unhealthy ties. It’s a coming-of-age gem revealing the doors education can open and how viewing the world through a different lense can change your trajectory.

Book, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Fiction

Kya Clark is the “Marsh Girl,” perceived as wild and unfit for polite society. But, Kya is misunderstood. She’s a naturalist with only one day of schooling. Her classroom was the marsh where she was born. Her classmates were the creatures within it.

Kya’s savage solitude is disrupted when she becomes drawn to two young men, each enamored with her untamed beauty. She opens herself up to a startling new world. And then the unthinkable happens.

Book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Untamed

Nonfiction

At some point, we’ve all looked at our lives and wondered: Is this it? And then we quickly quash our feelings by telling ourselves we should be grateful for the life we have. 

Glennon Doyle buried her discontent beneath cultural conditioning and multiple addictions. Until she decided to stop silencing herself and release the world’s unrealistic expectations. 

Untamed is the story of how one woman overcame social conditioning and learned to trust herself, create her boundaries, and honor her emotions. It’s about how we can and should learn to play life big, thereby becoming and raising untamed human beings.

Book, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant is socially awkward. She avoids unnecessary human contact and says exactly what she thinks. Her weekends are full of pizza, vodka and phone calls with Mummy.

Eleanor’s dysfunctional routine is interrupted when she meets Raymond, a disheveled IT guy from work. When she and Raymond unwittingly save an elderly gentleman who has fallen, they rescue each other from isolated and unfulfilling lives.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a woman whose unconscious wit endears her to others, making for an enlightening journey as she realizes the only way to heal is by opening her heart.

Book, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste

Nonfiction

Using riveting stories, Isabel Wilkerson shares eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations. She reveals how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews. She discusses why there must be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against. And she writes about the depression, lessened life expectancy, and the effects of hierarchy on our culture.

Caste shows how America can move beyond destructive human division and toward a common humanity.

Book, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score

Self-Help

Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent more than three decades working with survivors of trauma. His research offers proven alternatives to prescription drugs and talk therapy. He shows how the brain can be reactivated through innovative treatment like neurofeedback, mindfulness and yoga.  

The Body Keeps the Score helps to transform our understanding of trauma and reveals how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring. 

Read more about how this book cultivated my healing via Trauma and How Our Bodies Keep the Score.

Blocking at least twenty minutes a day to escape into a good book is proven to enhance our well-being. But, sometimes life happens and reading loses rank. My friend, Kim, reads ten times more books than the average hustling Mom. She also has a sixth sense about me being literarily lax. She’s the best book giver ever. When Kim ships a book my way, my psyche gently whispers, G’head, drop everything and read a while. Kim insists. So, in honor of my generous book-loving friend, Kim, I hope you choose a good book and make time to read today. —xo

As always, thank you for being here and sharing the articles you appreciate most. If you haven’t subscribed, please do so below. And if you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment or reach out via email or Instagram. My mind and inbox are always open.

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