Book Reviews

Some Inspiration To Start Off The Year

The first review of the year is of four small books that have some great inspirational messages and mindful quotes. I received two as gifts for Christmas and the other two I picked up at the library. They are all quick reads and got me through the holidays and into the new year.

New Year Inspiration Book Review

The Jane Austen Companion To Life by Sourcebooks. This was such a thoughtful gift (knowing I love Jane) and has beautiful illustrations and about 30 quotes from different characters from her books. Lovely as it is, I still felt it was missing some of Jane’s other thoughts about love, life and society. My favorite:

“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.” ~Mrs. Grant in Mansfield Park

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. Another gift I flagged to death and has all the Dear Sugar and Tiny Beautiful Things quotes and thoughtful zingers I have come to love. There are also some from Wild, but I haven’t read it yet. If you haven’t read Tiny Beautiful Things, get on it for 2016, please!

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”

And who doesn’t love this one from TBT? It was the letter/essay that did me in and I think about this quote and that response almost every day:

“Ask better questions, sweat pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.”

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is a short book but has much to mull over. Although it’s in the “Self Help” section at my library, it felt more of a book about awareness to things I already know in my gut but need reminders of.

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”

I love this quote that Brown used with her graduate students every semester originally by Howard Thurman:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

And finally What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. I now want to start a gratitude journal and my own journal of what I know for sure this year. Yes, there are some stories of Oprah hanging with famous friends and my inner snark came out thinking ‘I would know for sure that hanging with Tina Turner and Maya Angelou was amazing too!’ But it’s Oprah and she also has some very humble, insightful and funny stories in this collection. Her entries of being present, reaching out to make genuine friends, the sacred indulgence of books, removing fear, loving yourself first, are just a few of the many I identified with. But my favorite is not really a quote but more of a practice she does everyday. She calls them “pleasures” and rates them. For example: for Oprah, reading is a “five-star pleasure”; working out “one star, still”, helping others “five plus”.

“Pleasure is energy reciprocated: What you put out comes back. Your base level of pleasure is determined by how you view your whole life.”

Have you read any inspirational books lately?

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