The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Discover author of the month Terry Tempest Williams; Also included in this report is a selection of New + Newly Discovered books chosen to support + inspire you; some wonderful books for Young + Young at Heart readers, and a few ‘Just Because + Just for Fun’ offerings.‍

Greetings fellow book lovers! In this report I am introducing a new category I’m calling “Author of the Month” with the wonderful Terry Tempest Williams to get us started in style. Her work is rooted in the American West and is focused on social and environmental issues and exploring our relationships with culture and nature. Please join me in honoring and celebrating her contributions to our world.

Also included in this report is a selection of New + Newly Discovered books chosen to support + inspire you; some wonderful books for Young + Young at Heart readers, and a few ‘Just Because + Just for Fun’ offerings.

Author of the Month – Terry Tempest Williams

“I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are. I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.”
~Terry Tempest Williams
finding beauty in a broken world by terry tempest williams | paradise found santa barbara

In Finding Beauty in a Broken World author Terry Tempest Williams writes, “Beauty is not a luxury but a strategy for survival.” and I could not agree more. Another quote of hers which I hold dear is, “Buddha says there are two kinds of suffering: the kind that leads to more suffering and the kind that brings an end to suffering.” If these words resonate with you, I heartily encourage you to explore her work – even if you are already familiar with it. She is a bright source of wisdom very much worth visiting and revisiting.

when women were birds by terry tempest williams | paradise found santa barbara

Another of my favorites is When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice – a book of great insight and deep reflection as Williams discovers that, not only did her deceased mother keep journals, but that they were all blank. In fifty-four short chapters, she recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own faith, and contemplates the notion of absence and presence in our world.

For the complete list of books available from Terry Tempest Williams click here.

New + Newly Discovered

way of integrity by martha beck | paradise found santa barbara

I have included Martha Beck’s The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self in a prior report, and I am so happy to let you know that it just came out in paperback. Honestly, it’s hard to think of a better resource with which to begin a new year.

hello grief by alessandra olanow | paradise found santa barbara

Hello Grief is the latest offering from Alessandra Olanow and it is a treasure – especially for anyone dealing with loss and the sadness and uncertainty that often accompany it. This is one of those books that can be read straight through in a single sitting or opened at random to any page and be met with wisdom, insight, and kindness. Her previous work, I Used to Have a Plan, But Life Had Other Ideas is just as special.

a heart that words by rob delaney | paradise found santa barbaraa

Another rich source of solace and inspiration at points of loss is A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney in which he opens the door wide into a time in his and his family’s life that brought them all into deep fear, grief, and change and then showered them with grace and awe at the sheer miracle of Life. 

grief deck by adriene jenick | paradise found santa barbara

If any of these titles are speaking to you, may I suggest adding The Grief Deck by Adriene Jenik to your life support toolkit? No matter where you are in your grief journey, this deck offers sensitive and supportive practices and resources to help you process your emotions and experiences. Although each person’s way is unique, this interactive deck will help you constructively address grief in daily life, a little bit at a time.

the half known life: in search of paradise by pico iyer | paradise found santa barbara

The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer is a beautiful exploration of the concept of Paradise: that elusive imaginal place where anxieties, struggles, and the burdens of life fall away. Traveling from Iran to North Korea, from the Dalai Lama’s Himalayas to the ghostly temples of Japan, the author brings together a lifetime of journeying to upend our ideas of utopia and to ask how we might find peace in the midst of difficulty and suffering. 

if you're freaking out, read this by simone deangelis | paradise found santa barbara

If You're Freaking Out, Read This: A Coping Workbook for Building Good Habits, Behaviors, and Hope for the Future by Simone DeAngelis with an introduction by Faith G. Harper offers a wise and warm template for dealing with complex and strong emotional turmoil. 

on living by kerry egan | paradise found santa barbara

On Living by hospice chaplain Kerry Egan is another bright light in the world – full of heartfelt stories of people who, at the end of their lives, after the regrets and resentments have been brought to the surface, really only wanted to talk about love.

by the light of the moon by bunny mcbride | paradise found santa barbara

By the Light of the Moon: Reflections on Wholeness of Being by award winning author and veteran traveler Bunny McBride is a collection of inspirational essays all, in one way or another, related to the moon. Part parable, part memoir, each essay is a contemplation on what happens when we reach for and give attention to the light within us and others, even when it is eclipsed in darkness.


making love with the land by joshua whitehead | paradise found santa barbara

In Making Love with the Land: Essays author Joshua Whitehead considers the relationships between body, language, and land through creative essay, memoir, and confession. Written in the aftermath of heartbreak, before and during the pandemic, Whitehead illuminates this present moment in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rediscovering old ways and creating new ones about connection with and responsibility toward each other and the land.

joy: poems of love, life, and fate by mike bond | paradise found santa barbara

Joy: Poems of Love, Life, and Fate from Mike Bond is a collection of works touching on themes of love, wilderness, wisdom and fate, and on our everyday lives and the infinite and eternal universes in which we live.

gazing at the moon by saigyo | paradise found santa barbara

And, lastly, here’s another book of poetry to consider: Gazing at the Moon: Buddhist Poems of Solitude by the classical Buddhist poet Saigyō (1118 – 1190), translated by Meredith McKinney. Included are over one hundred of Saigyō’s tanka – traditional 31-syllable poems – newly rendered into English, covering stories of Buddha’s awakening, reclusion, seeking, enlightenment, and death. What’s not to love?!

Books for Young Readers + The People Who Love Them

how to heal a gryphon by meg canistra | paradise found santa barbara

How to Heal a Gryphon by Meg Canistra is a middle grade novel which tells the story of Giada Bellantuono who, as her thirteenth birthday approaches, must decide if she will join the family business and become a healer or follow her own dreams. 

i'm going to have a good day by tiania haneline | paradise found santa barbaraa

I'm Going to Have a Good Day! Daily Affirmations with Scarlett from Tiania Haneline and Scarlett Gray Smith with illustrations by Stephanie Dehennin is an uplifting and inspiring picture book, helping young readers discover how they can use daily affirmations to remind them of who they are and what makes them special.

agatha may and the anglerfish by nora morrison | paradise found santa barbara

Agatha May and the Anglerfish by Nora Morrison and Jessie Ann Foley, illustrated by Mika Song, is a sweet and funny story about the joys of learning and the rewards that come with staying true to who you are. This book is perfect for dreamers, out-of-the-box thinkers, and anyone who has ever felt like their special interest wasn’t fully appreciated.

Just Because + Just for Fun

haikubes | paradise found santa barbara

Haikubes is a fun game to play on your own or with friends or family. Included are 63 word cubes to roll and use the words that come up to create an expressive haiku. 

pasta tarot | paradise found santa barbara

The Pasta Tarot: A 78-Card Deck for Delicious Divination is a deck for readers of all experience levels who are interested in a contemporary, playful take on tarot.

“Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots down there are riotous.”

Please visit our online Bookshop to see our full selection of lists and titles. 
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