‍The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live in peace, 
no matter what you are given
May your heart be filled
with love and kindness.

Welcome to The Book Report! It’s Author of the Month time again and I am delighted to have the wonderful meditation pioneer, world-renowned teacher, and bestselling author Sharon Salzberg claim that spot for December. She is among the first to bring mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation to mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, inspiring generations of others to embrace meditation as a path of peace and wellness. Couldn’t we all use more of that?

Also included in this report is a selection of terrific new + newly discovered titles; a sweet handful of books for young and young at heart readers; and a couple of just because + just for fun offerings.

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Please enjoy what you find here and know that, as always, I am honored by the privilege of having a place in your inbox.

Author of the Month for December 2023 – Sharon Salzberg

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
~Sharon Salzberg

Below are a few of my favorites from Sharon’s abundant published works:

Finding Your Way: Meditations, Thoughts, and Wisdom for Living an Authentic Life is a beautifully illustrated gift book full of bite-sized tidbits of inspiring advice and insight. From choosing to simply “do the good that is in front of you,” to reading a meaningful piece from an interview with a compassionate leader, to quotes from people Sharon admires, and gentle guidance on how to practice meditation, this book is at its core a reminder that we are always on the right path, simply because it is our own.

Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier is a collaboration between Sharon and the well-known Buddhist teacher and author Robert Thurman. Within its pages we are presented with strategies and wisdom about love. Inspired by Buddhist philosophy, we are introduced to the four kinds of enemies we encounter in life: the outer enemy, the inner enemy, the secret enemy, and the super-secret enemy of deep-seated self-loathing that prevents us from finding inner freedom and true happiness. In addition to learning how to identify our enemies, we learn how to transform our relationship to them.

Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom teaches us that when we feel alone, cut off, or trapped, we can allow those difficulties to steer us onto a path toward an authentic, flourishing life – living in a way that supports us as we find the inner wholeness that lies within all of us.

Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World is a guidebook for how to use mindfulness to build our inner strength, find balance, and help create a more peaceful world. Here we learn that meditation is not a replacement for action, but rather a way to practice generosity with ourselves and summon the courage to break through obstacles, reconnect to a movement that’s bigger than ourselves, and have the energy to stay active as a force of peace in the world.

Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation is a complete guide to starting and maintaining a meditation practice. Beginning with the simplest breathing and sitting techniques, and based on three key skills – concentration, mindfulness, and lovingkindness – it’s a practice anyone can do and one that can transform our lives by bringing us greater resiliency, creativity, peace, clarity, and balance. I’m delighted to share that this book is also available in a Spanish language edition.

It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held onto an old view.
When you flip the switch in the attic, it doesn’t matter whether it’s been dark for ten minutes, ten years, or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. It is never too late to take a moment to look.” 
~Sharon Salzberg
For more Authors of the Month click here!

New + Newly Discovered

By My Hands: A Potter's Apprenticeship by Florian Gadsby tells the story of the author’s artistic awakening, his education in England, Ireland, and Japan, and the discipline involved which has led him to become the masterful potter that he is today. This is a thoughtful, visual celebration of the simple things, such as a hand-thrown bowl or mug, that adds meaning and beauty to our lives, as well as an inspiring testament to the power of perseverance.

Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir from Dolly Alderton is a delightfully funny, occasionally heartbreaking story of her life so far – growing up, getting older, and learning to navigate friendships, jobs, loss, and love along the ride. Within its pages we read stories of bad dates, good friends and – above all else – realizing that you are enough.

Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year by professional astrologer and healer Stephanie Campos shows us how to discover each zodiac sign’s “season” and learn how to tap into their unique magickal energies to enhance our lives throughout the year. Comprehensible, accessible, and usable year after year, this is a practical primer on how to experience the full influence of the zodiac in your daily life – regardless of your particular sun sign.

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen by David Brooks is a heartfelt guide to the art of truly knowing another person in order to foster deeper connections at home, at work, and throughout our lives. As the author notes, “There is one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see someone else deeply and make them feel seen – to accurately know another person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood.” In these often divided times, developing this skill feels more important than ever. 

Lessons for Living: What Only Adversity Can Teach You by psychiatrist Phil Stutz is a collection of profound essays that cut through the messiness of life to help us find the good from the hard experiences of life. Here, the author addresses real-world circumstances, such as the needs of children, rising above envy, defeating our unhealthy habits, the positive side of anger, and facing insecurities with clarity and patience.

Unshakeable: Trauma-Informed Mindfulness for Collective Awakening from educator and therapist Jo-Ann Rosen offers a holistic system for gaining and maintaining the stability of mind needed for personal and social transformation, even in the midst of trauma – with simple, body-based exercises grounded in neuroscience and mindfulness, inspired by the beloved teacher and author Thich Nhat Hanh.

Your Heart Was Made for This: Contemplative Practices for Meeting a World in Crisis with Courage, Integrity, and Love by meditation teacher Oren Jay Sofer offers a pragmatic guide to living a life of meaning and purpose in a time of great social, environmental, and spiritual upheaval and transformation. 

The Awesome Human Project: Break Free from Daily Burnout, Struggle Less, and Thrive More in Work and Life by Nataly Kogan is an inspiring science-backed program offering a way forward from overwhelm and debilitating stress by developing stronger emotional and energetic fitness. When paired with  The Awesome Human Journal: A Tool Kit for the Tough Days, the Good Days, and All the Days in Between, we have a winning combination supporting us as we cultivate more meaningful and honest connections in our lives.

Art is Art: Collaborating with Neurodiverse Artists at Creativity Explored by Ann Kappes is a beautifully vibrant book uplifting the voices of the artists of Creativity Explored, a nonprofit that gives people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to express themselves through art and share their work with audiences from their local community and in the larger contemporary art world. I love everything about this book!

Conversations with Birds: The Metaphysics of Bird and Human Communication from Alan Powers is an exploration of communicating with birds and the lessons they can teach us, in part, explaining how song-talk with birds serves to restore peace, calm anxiety, and enhance overall well-being for us human folk.

How to Be More Tree: Essential Life Lessons for Perennial Happiness is beautifully illustrated book by Annie Davidson celebrating the wisdom of trees and what they can teach us about everyday life, from basking in the sun to weathering the storm.

The Pocket Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach from Robert Simmons is a portable and condensed A-to-Z reference guide to crystals and gems based on the bestselling book The Book of Stones that comes with descriptions for 47 new stones not covered in the original book and contains a comprehensive index of the spiritual, emotional, and healing qualities of the stone. Plus, each entry comes with a vivid color photograph. Again, I’m delighted to share that this comes in a Spanish language edition.

Open for Interpretation: A Doctor's Journey into Astrology from physician and medical consultant Alicia Blando tells her story of feeling inadequate as a young doctor and how she embarked upon a search for her life’s path. Her ensuing journey led her to seek out unconventional teachers, embrace the diagnostic capacity of astrology, and ultimately discover an astrological map that holds the potential to trace one’s life path and purpose in connection with planetary movements: past, present, and future.

A Box of Magick: A Guided Journey to Crafting a Magickal Life Through Witchcraft, Ritual Herbalism, and Spellcrafting by Jamie Della is a call to adventure, an invitation to awaken and activate the deepest part of your most mystical, powerful self. Within these pages you will find the seeds of magickal wisdom and the ways in which we can turn them into a blossoming, evolving magickal life, spiced with the essence of our own unique spirit.

For more New + Newly Discovered books click here!

“It’s all a series of serendipities with no beginning and no ends. 
Such infinitesimal possibilities through which love transcends.”
~Ana Claudia Antunes 

Books for Young Readers + the People Who Love Them

Hideaway by Melania Longo with illustrations by Alessandro Sanna is a charming excursion into the world of magical play where imagination takes flight. This lovely ode to creative play provides a welcome reminder to unplug from the distractions of the modern world, be present in the moment, and ready to travel wherever our imaginations might take us.

Granny Rex from Kurtis Scaletta, illustrated by Nik Henderson, tells the story of a tiny bird named Dee who discovers her inner dinosaur and learns to roar in this sweet tale about remembering where you came from.

Rock Your Mocs by Laurel Goodluck with illustrations by Madelyn Goodnight celebrates the joy and power of wearing moccasins and the Native pride that comes with them.

The Twist-A-Roo by Kathleen Doherty, illustrated by Kristyna Litten, is a modern spin on the ant and the grasshopper story, warmly expressing appreciation for the power of community and coming together to share in times of need.

For more books for young readers click here!
Para libros para lectores jóvenes en Español haga clic aquí!

Just Because + Just for Fun

The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade by Gary Goodman is a wry, unvarnished chronicle of a career in the rare book trade. As a professional book person myself, I find much resonance in these tales of book adventures and I think you will too – whatever your particular bookish connections may be.

101 Ways to Read a Book by Timothée de Fombelle, translated from the original French by Angus Yuen-Killick, with illustrations by Benjamin Chaud is a delightful gift for all those who love books and reading. And, if you made it this far into the report, then you must be a true bibliophile at heart. I see you.

For more gift ideas to inspire, delight & amuse click here!

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
~Marcel Proust

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