I’m a bookworm. Even before I could talk, I cherished sitting with my mom in her rocking chair as she read me stories. As a result of the constant contact with words, I could read long before kindergarden. After I left the corporate world, I relished my additional time for a good novel or biography.
About ten years ago, I led yoga book club where my students recommended spiritual or mind/body books. When Covid hit, I launched a weekly virtual book club. I’ve been hosting it non-stop since March 2020. It’s not yoga-specific, but I seek out inspirational or spiritual messages — from any book I read.
With the holidays around the corner, I’m recommending books as presents. Earlier this year, author and poet Sandra Cisneros urged people to buy books as presents. “Books are good medicine,” she said. Then, she quipped that they’re not fattening.
Following are suggested uplifting books. Please comment and share yours.
The German Girl and Night Traveler by Armando Lucas Correa.
The protagonists in the first two in a historical fiction trilogy are young girls forced to flee nazi Germany. While I cried many tears in Correa’s books, I’m listing them as uplifting because they filled me with so much gratitude for being born in the U.S. in this era.
The Gift by Edith Eger.
A very positive minded Instagram buddy recommended this self-help book. The author was a 16-year-old Hungarian Jew when she and her family were forced into cattle cars and sent to Auschwitz. She survived. Barely. After immigrating to the U.S., she worked for pennies in the garment district. At age 44, she got her degree and later became a trauma psychologist with the U.S. military. Her book is about distilling the gifts amidst the mud, muck, or trauma.
My Story, My Song by Lucimarian Roberts.
This is a fast-paced memoir by the mother of top-notch journalist, Robin Roberts. Like Edith, Lucimarian chooses to focus on the positive. Her faith and her devotional singing kept her going in her greatest challenges.
Dream More by Dolly Parton.
Fessing up, I’ve never been a Dolly fan. I hate her wigs, her makeup, her unnatural body, and even her drawl. However, I appreciated her performance at the recent NFL halftime show. I applauded the 77-year-old singing “We Are the Champions” in Dallas Cowgirl attire, even though I HATE those skimpy things.
Her 100-page self-help book is quick read, filled with positivity. The back cover says, “If I have a wish for you, it is that you: Dream more, Learn more, Care more, Be more.” It turns out Dolly, whose father was illiterate, is a big reader and writer, and literacy advocate. So I give her a standing ovation.
When We Get to Surf City by Bob Greene.
I’ve been a fan of Bob Greene since I was a kid reading his columns in the Chicago Tribune. But I had no idea that he had a love of music and that he performed with a top band for many years. This book is wonderful for people of my generation. It's an enjoyable feel-good read, even though the premise may not be about life being a bed of roses. Surf City is about living every moment to the fullest.
Plan B by Anne Lamott.
I don't think there's anything by Anne Lamott that I would NOT enjoy reading. She is so real...down-to-earth...relatable. And despite the many ruts, she uplifts with wry humor.
For many years I’ve led First Love Yourself workshops, and I found several chapters in Plan B that reinforce self-love.
I’m Not Slowing Down by Ann Richards.
I have recommended the former Texas governor's book countless times, especially to all my bone health workshop participants. Co-authored by Ann's doctor, this is filled with solid information about osteoporosis.
While it’s written from a “fight-back” perspective, Ann's unparalleled gift for words and expressing herself was toned down. Her feistiness did not come across in full force.
From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram by Deborah Charnes.
Of course, I have to recommend my book released earlier this year. Each chapter features one of my 12 gurus, their success in overcoming challenges, and easy, enjoyable, free tips for living life to its fullest.
One of my endorsers, Dr. Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc., founder of The Ayurvedic Institute, said, “I think this book will help every reader change his or her life.”