Included in this report is a mix of New + Newly Discovered books chosen to inspire + inform you; a few more Magical Reads; some wonderful books for Young + Young at Heart readers, and a couple of ‘Just Because + Just for Fun’ offerings.
“August is the slow, gentle month that stretches out the longest across the span of the year. It yawns and lingers on with the light in its palms.”
August is always a bittersweet month for me. As a school kid I would be feeling the early stages of grief that summer vacation was coming to an end. And as an adult I am starting to feel the delight that my favorite season - fall - is on its way. So, there’s a bit of a transitional, amorphous vibe to these days. I wonder what this month bring will bring forward for you. I am hopeful that the books you find here will serve to support and guide you toward experiencing your very best August ever.
Feel Something, Make Something: A Guide to Collaborating with Your Emotions by Caitlin Metz is one of those special books that you find yourself telling everyone about because it is beyond brilliant. The foundational question at play here is, ‘What if instead of hiding or distracting ourselves from our emotions, we collaborated with them?” It’s Metz’s belief that making art – whether it’s a detailed scribble on a crumpled receipt or a 100-day series of photos – gives our feelings a physical form and provides precious space to observe them from a distance. It turns out that shifting perspective is a quietly revolutionary and healing approach.
Talking on the Water: Conversations About Nature and Creativity by Jonathan White is a beautiful exploration on the power of creativity and conversations and their synergistic relationship with the wild ways of the world. Beloved fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin discusses the nature of language, microbiologist Lynn Margulis contemplate Darwin’s career and the many meanings of evolution, and anthropologist Richard Nelson sifts through the spiritual life of Alaska’s native people. Rounding out the group are writers Greta Ehrlich, Paul Shepard, and Peter Matthiessen, conservationists Roger Payne and David Brower, theologian Matthew Fox, activist Janet McCloud, Jungian analyst James Hillman, poet Gary Snyder, and ecologist Dolores LaChapelle.
Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us from Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross demonstrates how activities from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture, and more are essential to our well-being. The authors present compelling research that shows how engaging in an art project for as little as forty-five minutes reduces the stress hormone cortisol, regardless of your skill level, and just one art experience per month can more than elevate your quality of life.
Speaking of brains, The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life by Lisa Miller weaves together the author’s personal journey of learning how to tap into heightened awareness with groundbreaking neuroscientific research, creating a way forward for anyone on the spiritual seeker’s path. Absorbing and uplifting, The Awakened Brain is a robust conversation starting saga of scientific discovery, counterintuitive findings, and practical advice on concrete ways to access your inner spirituality and build a life of meaning and contribution.
How Trust Works: The Science of How Relationships Are Built, Broken, and Repaired by Dr. Peter H. Kim draws on his research and the work of other social scientists to reveal the surprising truths about the nature of relationships. This book shines a light on how to transform our deepest bonds and gives us the tools to build strong and supportive relationships on every level - from friends and family to coworkers and intimate partners.
Travel Light: Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life by Light Watkins shares his unique inside-out approach to the healing power of minimalism using stories, anecdotes, and vignettes, along with real-world experiments and exercises that you can adapt to your own life. You’ll be invited to discover the joy of giving what you want to receive, follow your curiosity, and live with a ‘clutter-free’ approach to your choices, values, and life purpose.
Sisterhood Heals: The Transformative Power of Healing in Community from licensed clinical psychologist Joy Harden Bradford illuminates the process of how sisterhood is that sacred space where all the masks that are worn to face the world fall off. It’s the place where you lay down your load, refill your cup, and laugh until your belly aches. Our sister circles literally prolong our lives. However, building and keeping healthy friendships takes work. How must these connections evolve as we age? What practices can we put into place now? Can they be the key to unlocking a more fulfilling existence? The answer to all of these questions is a big, fat, juicy YES!!
The Zen Way of Recovery: An Illuminated Path Out of the Darkness of Addiction by experienced lay teacher Laura Burges is an accessible, compassionate guide to Buddhist principles that can help support recovery from addictions and addictive behaviors. Burges emphasizes the importance of being in an active recovery program. She shares teachings and practices in each chapter – including reflections, journal prompts, meditations, instructions for setting up an altar and zazen – all serving as perfect adjuncts and powerful reinforcements.
The Seventh Shrine: Meditations on the African Spiritual Journey, From the Middle Passage to the Mountaintop by Orland Bishop explores the soulful striving of people of African heritage into the American experience through the creation of community – a community created for the possibilities of new covenants within the larger collective sphere of human life.
Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self by Aubrey Houdeshell with illustrations by Rose Ides helps us to get in touch with our deepest self through the process of shadow work. The cards employ Plutonian archetypes to guide the user through themes of self-awareness, shadow transformation, empowerment, evolution, and integration.
StarDragons Oracle Cards from artist Paolo Barbieri is a gorgeous oracle deck filled with exquisite and formidable StarDragons – creative renditions of famous constellations, including Andromeda, Pegasus, Orion, and Ursa Major. Barbieri’s StarDragons capture the essence of these cosmic forces and inspire you to conquer your demons, release your anger, and live with more joy and creativity.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Beginners: A Guide to Living and Dying by Lama Lhanang Rinpoche and Mordy Levine is an open acknowledgment of death as the last of a countless series of endings in this lifetime. And how after each ending comes a new beginning. This book helps readers cultivate courage and embrace the truth of the unknown – not just in the final days, but every day.
Take Your Own Advice: Learn to Trust Your Inner Voice and Start Helping Yourself from popular LGBTQ+ activist and advocate Jeffrey Marsh is a frank and comprehensive exploration of what it means to put yourself first, to take care of yourself with kindness and compassion, and to ask others to listen to you for a change.
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner is part travel memoir, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide that takes the viewer across the globe to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.
The Invisible Hour is the much anticipated new novel from Alice Hoffman, the beloved author of the Practical Magic series. Here, we find the story of Mia Jacob, a young woman who comes to a crisis point in her life and discovers how the power of words saves her. This tale is an enchanting mix of love, heartbreak, self-discovery, and the enduring magic of books. What could be better?
The latest gem from Rachel Griffin is Bring Me Your Midnight, a lush, romantic fantasy about forbidden love, the choices we make, and the pull between duty and desire…and magic, of course. If you loved her previous works The Nature of Witches and Wild is the Witch, you’ll definitely be smitten with her newest story.
Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young is a deeply atmospheric tale of ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love. What more do you need, dear reader, to be tempted by this gorgeous story?
To round out this group comes Into the Darkwood, a complete fantasy trilogy by Anthea Sharp which tells the tale of young Mara Geary for whom prophecy demands that she marry a Dark Elf prince against her will. Plenty of mayhem, intrigue, and mystery ensues as Mara struggles to face her fears and trust her heart.
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawnmower is broken.”
The Moth Keeper from K. O’Neill is a gorgeous graphic novel about coming of age and community. In the world O’Neill creates, being a Moth Keeper is a huge responsibility and a great honor, but what happens when a Moth Keeper decides to take a break from the moon and see the sun for the first time?
Wombat by Philip Bunting is a playful picture book packed with wombats, twobats, threebats, and morebats! Perfect for a bedtime read and giggle.
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole from Mac Barnett with illustrations from the always terrific Jon Klassen tells the story of two young lads who set out to find something spectacular. So, they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find…nothing! Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Happily, this title comes in a Spanish language edition.
Junk Journal Cutouts: Vintage Designs from Botanicals to Travel, 350+ Timeless Images for Creative Journaling from The Juliet Journal is all about relieving stress and expressing your creative side with something she calls ‘junk journaling’ which is made primarily from a mix of found and recycled materials as a way to collect and record memories, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration.
Dressing Barbie: A Celebration of the Clothes That Made America's Favorite Doll and the Incredible Woman Behind Them by Carol Spencer gives readers a peek into the back-story of how the Barbie phenomenon began and how it grew.
“This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”