I’ve been reading a lot lately, mostly because I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and I never get more reading done than when I’m on a plane. I’ve continued my ever-growing reading list into 2015 and tried to pick books in January that were inspiring, show a character taking a risk or accomplishing a goal, or show me, the reader, how to do any of the aforementioned things.
So that’s what I did! These three books offer goal-getting, self-finding, inspiration with a healthy dose of master writing. They’re perfect if you’re needing a kick in the pants at the end of January to keep up the good work! No shame here, sometimes it’s necessary.
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg
Why I loved it: Molly Wizenberg is an accomplished food writer and the voice behind the blog Orangette. Her memoir, Delancey, chronicles her husband and his dream of owning and operating a pizza restaurant in Seattle named Delancey. His passion, his relentlessness, and his dedication to excellence is inspiring, but her passion, relentlessness, and dedication to him and their life together is what really stuck with me.
Why you should read it: It’s a story about marriage and love and food. Molly is honest and open about the struggles and triumphs of marriage and owning a business together, and she also gives the reader some pretty awesome recipes. It’s a beautiful depiction of a not so ordinary life, and it will inspire you to follow a dream, even if that dream seems like a long shot that might leave every surface of your kitchen covered in flour.
Why I loved it: It borders on “self help,” and because of that I almost bailed not long after I started this book. I pushed on, though, and I’m so glad that I did. Gay Hendricks writes about living in your “zone of genius” (see what I mean about self help? Stick with it though…) and how the only thing standing between each and every one of us and the thing we were truly meant to do is called “The Upper Limit Problem.” He says that we humans aren’t wired to experience sustained good feelings, and so we create a problem and self-sabotage. That’s an interesting hypothesis in itself, but what I really took from this book were a series of questions that helped me hone in on what makes me feel best, when, and why.
Why you should read it: It’s chock-full of “Aha!” moments and while I wasn’t crazy about the language, once I got past that I really enjoyed the introspection and inspiration it provided. His tone is straight-forward and honest and requires the reader to be straight-forward an honest as well. If you’re looking for a little boost, this is it.
Why I loved it: Where do I start? I was wrecked after I finished this book. Absolutely wrecked, in a good way! When I finished this I felt like I too had been through something. I was with her, in her tent, carrying her pack, dodging rattlesnakes. Not in a long while has a book shaken me as much as Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl loses her mother at the age of 22 and proceeds to ride the subsequent downward spiral for years, until she decides to hike the PCT. She’s brutally honest about her experiences, which is beautiful in itself, and her prose is open and gut-wrenching and as the reader, I couldn’t have been more invested in her well-being.
Why you should read it: If you’re looking for inspiration, read this. If you’re looking for tales of perseverance in the face of crippling sorrow and defeat, read this. If you’re looking for a story with beautiful descriptions of nature and intense isolation, with wildlife and water shortages, and new and sometimes furry friends, read this. If you like good writing–like really, really good writing– read this. Enough? I could keep going. Just read it, OK? I want to talk about my feelings with someone.
Let’s keep the cyber book club going! What have you been reading? Any recommendations I need to add to my list? Share! Share!