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April 11, 2016

8 Books to Read this Spring for Inspiration & Motivation

The cliché that spring is a time for renewal is in fact a good one. I mean look at the world around us. Snow is melting (some times coming back and melting again), the days are longer, the flowers are starting to bloom, the roads will be cleaned soon and everyone is generally in a good mood. So spring has certainly earned its reputation as a time for renewal, which to mean re-invigorating that which inspires and motivates us.

One of the simplest ways to be inspired and motivated is to read a really good book. The kind of book you want to tell people about. That is why I have created a spring reading list to share. I’ve read some of the books already and am of to a flying start. I invite you to do the same with some of these must-reads.

A point I should add is I’ve actually been enjoying some of these books via audiobooks. It’s a faster way to be inspired and often the books are read by the author. I will however be indulging my inner bookworm and be reading them as well. Still, I invite you to read or listen to these books in the way that is best suited to you and I hope you enjoy them!

Non-Fiction Reading List

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have been excited to dive into the new non-fiction book from the author of the incredible book, Eat Pray Love. Not only did I enjoy her bestseller where she faces divorce and depression by opening herself to experience three things that truly do have healing power, eating which brought her to Italy, praying which took her to India and love which happened to her in Bali.

But Big Magic is not a memoir, but instead a motivational read that looks at the facets of creativity, where it comes from, how you apply it, why we fear it and why it matters. For someone who has lived off creativity her whole life, whether in writing, painting, drawing, card making or general creating, I was moved by her message. I once again related to the author and was thankful she had written what seemed like a book just for me.

Spark JoyAn Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

I have not read this book, but have heard a lot about Marie Kondo and her previous book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and of course both books are right up my alley. I recently wrote a series on the blog called Life Simplified and talked about how I was de-cluttering the different areas of my life to keep things more simplified in the search of joy. Marie’s approach is different, but the essence and goal is the same.

I do believe that less really is more in an otherwise materialistic world. I value experiences and creation more than clutter and stuff. But for the stuff I do have, I like it simply organized and tidy. So I am looking forward to reading this “how-to manual” for de-cluttering and organizing from a true professional! I guarantee I will be using these techniques with my own to keep things organized. Apparently this even has diagrams, but undoubtedly is a companion book to her first so add that to your list too!

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

This time last year I had completed Cheryl’s book Wild and was moved by this memoir, a genre I have since grown obsessed with. A story about a twenty-something finding herself in the world…my kind of story.

This book is a collection of quotes based on her experiences that are meant to share courage and joy with readers. I am a sucker for a good quote, so this book is on this list not only as a like to read, but a like to have.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I put this book on the list for several reason. Firstly, it is a memoir, which I like. Secondly, it is an emotional story, something that as I get older I long for more, those stories that pull on your heart strings so you feel more alive. And thirdly, it is the story of a 36 year neurosurgeon facing a terminal form of cancer. A physician who saves lives is now faced with the imminent end of his own life and his care in the hands of other physicians. I feel tears coming on already.

For those who do not know, my husband Mike will soon be a physician. In fact, he pointed this book out as one he would like to read. But so would I. I am moved by how the author was compelled to share his story with us. His effort alone merits our attention. I also think that it will be a book that both Mike and I will enjoy and therefore can talk about and relate to our lives. That makes a good book: one you can share with your partner.

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

Yes I am a potterhead. Just putting that out there. That doesn’t mean I’ll jump on any J.K. Rowling book though. This one on the other hand peaks my interest. It is less of a book and more a published version of a speech she gave at a Harvard commencement. I wish she had spoken at my commencement!

Still, now I can read this and capture the same message, which is: that we need to learn to embrace failure and imagination to help ourselves and others. What a concept to tell young graduates, with their minds filled with getting perfect marks and landing a job. The idea of failure to a student, graduate or young professional is a hard one to grapple with. This is a message that needs to be shared though, because we all will experience failure. As for imagination, I feel this too is a concept that young people need to re-visit. Get your heads out of your books and start thinking creatively! Imagination is one of those things that sets you free in a world that is otherwise so structured and routine.

I Thought it was Just Me (But it isn’t)Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brene Brown

I’ve heard of Brene Brown quite a bit but never read any of her books to afraid that will be too academic minded or intense of a read. Also, while I love exploring new ideas and am a fan of self-improvement, I don’t want to get all my info from books telling me how I can make every part of my life better. So I’m coming at this one skeptically, but am committed to reading it nonetheless.

This book explores the facets of shame that women experience throughout their life; at work, at home and in the family. I like the idea that this book looks to dispel this shame and give women the courage to accept themselves instead of being something based on ideals set by others. I’m all for breaking the barriers around judgment so I may end up liking this book overall. It may even lead me to read a number of her other books. We’ll see.

One thing I’ve noticed is my reading list never gets smaller, it only gets longer. If I’m lucky I’ll be back with a Fiction list before Spring is over! Happy reading!

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