I fell off posting about my monthly reading on the blog, so instead of a monthly post I'm going to do a round up of my favorite books that I read over the summer.
You can always see my full reading list over on my goodreads profile. I would also love to hear what your favorite recent reads were.
I sometimes get caught up reading just nonfiction because I want to learn more about so many topics. But I tried to mix in some fiction this summer. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was one of our bookclub books and I loved Circe so much I just had to read this early book. I really enjoy the way that she writes and how she creates a life and story for the characters so many of us already know from Greek Mythology.
True Refuge by Tara Brach was another one that I read because I enjoyed another one of her books Radical Acceptance. This book really gives a practical approach to the Buddhist gateways to freedom - truth, love and awareness. So many of us in the western world are searching for that magic cure outside of ourselves and this book gives you meditations, teachings and stories that show you how if you go within you can find true happiness while healing our suffering. By connecting with ourselves on a deeper level it allows us to connect to others and the world in a deeper way.
I heard Anthony Ray Hinton's story when I ready Bryan Stevenson's book and when Oprah interviewed him. I had this book, The Sun Does Shine marked to read and I am so glad I did. If you're like me it will definitely make you cry, but it will also make you so thankful for the little things in your life that are everything to a man that was imprisoned for most of his life for a crime he did not commit. As I write that I also want to be clear that you will also feel rage and a deep anger that the criminal justice system can rob an innocent man of so much of his life simply because he was Black and poor. If he had not been connected with Bryan Stevenson he would have died on death row. This story shows us how he survived death row, how he escaped his cell through his imagination and hope. He started a book club in prison and made friends with his fellow death row inmates and even the guards were rooting for him to get out. He even became friends with a Ku Klux Klan member who introduced him to his dad as his best friend.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin was another favorite. I wish the James Baldwin had made it my reading list sooner but I guess it's better late than never. This book was written in 1963 but it is unfortunately still so relevant as we see how far we still have to go after the Civil Rights Movement. This book will open your items to the depths of racial injustice in America if you don't already know. James Baldwin doesn't sugarcoat things so be ready to take a hard look in the mirror if you are white.
Next up I read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk. This books is another one that was written many years ago but is still relevant. I have been soaking up books about trauma and the body-mind connection this year so I knew I had to read his work. It is truly fascinating to learn more about how the body holds on to trauma. His research on PTSD, trauma and healing give so many people a way forward that they never had before. He shows how if we don't heal our own trauma we are bound to pass it on to our partners and children. He worked with survivors for over thirty years and then shares his knowledge in this book. He shows how through treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play and yoga we can rewire our brains.
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss is a fascinating look into his work in past life regression and how the work can help heal you in your current life. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not the stories are interesting and presented in an easy to read format. He was trained as a traditional psychotherapist so he was a skeptic himself but he couldn't deny the experience and lessons he learned with his clients.
Lastly I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's new book City of Girls. As she writes, "Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are." I loved the characters in this story and how it was told from 95 year old woman from a different viewpoint than we are used to hearing women talk. It is a love story but so different than the ones we are all used to hearing. It's also based in New York City in the 40's so there is just so much history to draw from to create this beautiful work of fiction.
Have you read any of these books before, let me know what you thought? Or tell me your favorite reads from the summer. I love to talk about books so please comment if you have anything to share.