The season of “beach reads” is here and I, for one, could not be more excited. There are few things I love more than unfurling an extra-large towel on the sand, lying in the sun, and diving into a good book. No, I’m not talking about the usual chick lit that litters the beach (although I do love a good romance novel every once in a while). My summer book list is all about self-help, self-discovery, and spirituality — giving a whole new meaning to the term “light reading.”
Ahead, the seven books that belong in your beach bag — or at least your bedside table — this season.
How To Breathe by Ashley Neese
In How To Breathe: 25 Simple Practices For Calm, Joy, and Resilience, breathwork teacher and author Ashley Neese guides readers through something that seems so simple but is often so hard: breathing. As Neese explains, specific breathing patterns and techniques can be extremely powerful for stirring up stuck emotion, alleviating anxiety, and even cleansing the body on a cellular level. It’s a must-read for anyone intrigued by the recent buzz around breathwork… or, really, anyone looking for a few brief, blissful moments of calm in the middle of a busy day.
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
This book has been out for quite awhile — it was a New York Times best-seller for years — but if you haven’t read it yet, Summer 2019 is the time. Sincero takes a no-bullshit approach to new age-y concepts like manifestation, and guides you through cultivating self-worth and achieving your dreams in her signature cheerleading-meets-cheeky tone. Even self-help skeptics will love it.
The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey
I mean, do you need to know anything other than this new book was written by Oprah?! I will literally do whatever this woman tells me to do (and I know I’m not alone here, as evidenced by her cult following), especially when it comes to advice on finding purpose. As Oprah says in The Path Made Clear, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.” I can’t think of anyone better than the media queen herself to explain exactly how to do it.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you identify as a creative — or you just wish you did — put Big Magic on your summer reading list, stat. In it, the best-selling author (you may recognize her name from a little book called Eat, Pray, Love) posits the pull of creativity, encourages the creation of art for art’s sake, and questions our need, as a society, to monetize our hobbies rather than just enjoy them. If you don’t immediately finish this book and get the urge to write a poem, paint a portrait, or dance in your underwear in the kitchen… read it again.
Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics by Mirabai Starr
Are you feeling called to connect with the divine feminine within? I am, which is why Wild Mercy is currently sitting in my Amazon cart. Hailed as “a chance to bask in the presence of feminine mystics, saints, and the spiritual powers from across time and space” in a review from author Vera de Chalambert, this book promises to blend feminism with mysticism in the most empowering, soul-filling way.
The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford
In The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Ford dispels the idea that creating the life you want is all about “love and light.” Instead, she argues, living your best life involves integrating what she calls “the shadow” — aka, your dark side, your hidden emotions, your buried trauma, and your least-favorite personality traits. This guide to total self-acceptance is a true game-changer.
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
White women, listen up: This is now required reading. In So You Want To Talk About Race, Oluo patiently explains the reality of race in America; including the concept of privilege, the harm in cultural appropriation, and the racism built into America’s justice system and social structure. It’s honest and educational, laugh-out-loud funny, and 100 percent perspective-changing.
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