Books Read in July.

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“This Naked Mind- Control Alcohol- Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change your Life” by Annie Grace

3:33 a.m. I wake up at the same time every night.

Continuing my exploration of my relationship with alcohol, I came across this book and it was eye-opening. Sharing her own story as well as thorough research into the industry of alcohol and the effects it has on society as a whole, Grace offers a new perspective into the role we allow alcohol to play in our lives. 

Her intention is to lay the facts out there, to help us see how the unconscious mind is what keeps us stuck in the cycle of drinking and show us a path out. 

A sentence that resonated deeply as soon as I read it:

Alcohol erases a bit of you every time you drink.

“Remedies” a novel by Kate Ledger

Simon Bear knew he probably shouldn’t have hired the young nurse with the bouncy ponytail, a slender woman whose clavicle bones protruded like bicycle handlebars at the base of her throat.

I love when I can peruse my own personal library and select a book that has been lingering on my shelves for years!

Told in alternating chapters from Simon and Emily’s POV, we get an intimate look into a marriage headed for trouble. Simon is a physician who specializes in pain management and is willing to do whatever his patients need to help them find relief. Emily is a public relations expert who is struggling to connect with their 13-year-old daughter. A tragedy from their past has taken up residence between them, a new breakthrough sends Simon off on a new quest and Emily is left trying to figure out what it is that she wants.

This is a gripping sage of a family is crisis. A story of the many kinds of pain we endure as humans navigating our lives and the relationships with those closest to us.

A sentence I love:

What kind of pain had she been enduring? Something dull and tight and forced, imprinted under the skin like a watermark, and yet there were times when she’d convinced herself she had everything in order and she’d managed not to feel it at all.

“The She Book” by Tanya Markul

Once a silent star in the sky, lost, alone, and unnoticed, she began to dream her life awake.

I literally just sat down and devoured this entire book, underlining words, phrases, entire passages that spoke to me. Making notes in the margins of the page and the margins of my soul. I found myself unearthing prompts from her writing, to take me deeper into own writing. Right after finishing it, I started writing using the free 30-day class she is offering if you buy the book in July + August. That led me to then write a post for my blog and a promise to write one each day this week, leading up to my birthday.

Her words are both soothing and stirring. 

They cool me and light a fire with in.

They make me write YES!!! on the page. Me, too!!

They inspire me to go deeper into my own life, my own heart, my own darkness to discover my own truth, my own sparkles.

A sentence I love:

Because my self-limiting beliefs are a mere pile of tinder, shame the spark, and fear the oxygen it takes to burnt all to ashes. 

“The Lightest Object in the Universe”  a novel by Kimi Eisele

Thirteen days into the second month of the year, the light began to go out.

One of my favorite bookstores, mentioned this book in their social media and since I have a bit of an obsession with dystopian/apocalyptic fiction, I had to get it. Especially since it was reviewed as a hopeful end-of-the-world as we know it scenario. And I don’t know about you, but I can use all the hopeful scenarios I can get.

What might happen after a global economic collapse and the power grid goes down? Sounds like the recipe for chaos. And perhaps there is some of that. But this novel dives deeper into the experience of being human in the face of that chaos. Beatrix is from the West coast and Carson is from the East. Though apart, they still hold each other’s heart but  without communication or travel options, how or will they even be able to find other? Carson sets out on a journey while Beatrix learns to work with the people who remain in what is left of her community.

This story is not just a love story between two people, it reads like a love story to humanity, of what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.

2 sentences I love: 

In all the reflective surfaces, you could practically see the desire there between them, like a third person, large and billowy.

The  sky was a pure gray but for a single cloud in the shape of a whale, large enough to swallow everything—the field, the house, June’s sickness, his sorrow.

“Severance”  novel by Ling Ma

After the End came the Beginning.

This book was mentioned in the same recommendation as the previous book. So, keeping with the end-of-the-world theme I picked this one up, too.

Quoting from the back cover: “A satirical spin on the end times—kind of like “The Office” meets “The Leftovers.” This is the perfect description of this novel. 

Candace, working in a company that produces Bibles, continues to cling to her work routine after her parents’ death. She is so entrenched in her structure that she barely notices as the world begins to fall apart around as a plague sweeps through NYC followed by Shen Fever. As people around her succumb to the fever, Candace agrees to stay on at the request of her boss who offers her a huge bonus at the end of her work period. Soon, there is no work left to do. Candace begins roaming the city, photographing the eerie remains as the anonymous NY ghost Blogger.

Eventually,  a survivalist group led by Bob, encourages her to join them as they make their way to what is only known as “The Facility.” Bob promises that the Facility will be a place of renewal, a place to reimagine and reinvent society. But Candace is leery. She is not sure if she trusts Bob or anyone else.

It’s a story that is both moving and quirky about how we respond when everything familiar is lost.

A line that scared me because if feels prescient:

The End begins before you are even aware of it. It passes as ordinary.

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Son, Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body.

In a deeply moving and profound letter to his son, Coates offers all of us an examination into the story of inhabiting a black body in this world. How his body no longer belongs to him, how everything choice he makes, every  interaction he has is informed by this essential fact. 

He explores the history of our country, the falsehood of “race” and how it exploited and continues to exploit the black body. 

Because it is addressed to his son, I could feel how he holds both exquisite love for and fear for his own blood. He shares with his son his experience of being a black body in this society, while knowing that his son has his own journey to make.

Toni Morrison says of this book, “This is required reading.”

I couldn’t agree more.

A passage I marked: 

The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.

And another:

This need to be always on guard was an unmeasured expenditure of energy, the slow siphoning of the essence. It contributed to the fast breakdown of our bodies.

And one more: (the mother of a murdered black man tells this to Coates’ own son)

“You exist. You matter. You have value. You have every right to wear your hoodie, to play your music as loud as you want. You have every right to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.”

“More Than Enough- Claiming Space for Who You Are (No matter What They Say)” by Elaine Welterworth

Growing up, Oprah was my favorite imaginary auntie.

First of all, I want to thank Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach for posting about this book on Instagram. I went out and bought it that day. Though I had watched “Teen Vogue” begin to morph into this powerful political, social and cultural voice, I didn’t know the story behind it. Or the woman behind it. Know I do and I am forever grateful.

Elaine Weltherworth is a powerful force. Her voice, her vision, her story, her example have created huge waves of change in the fashion and magazine industry. She has changed the trajectory for so many young women by showing them what is possible. She explores the roots of her own struggle with not-enoughness—something that so many of us can relate to. We see her determination to pursue her dreams even when she isn’t sure what the dream exactly is or if it is too big for her. We see her step out into the abyss time and time again, learning  to trust her inner guidance, trust that not only is she enough but that she is MORE than enough.

No matter what decade of life you are in, this book, her story will resonate and inspire.

So many gems to share! Here are just a few:

When women affirm women, it unlocks our power. It gives us permission to shine brighter.

But as I saw it, we were all in it together, in an ongoing process of waking up to how we could be better journalists, better allies, and better citizens in a world in turmoil.

Our lives are a series of dreams realized.

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