The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

“Each trial, every loss, is an opportunity for you to meet suffering with love and make of it an offering, a prayer.

The minute you lift your pain like a candle, the darkness vanishes, and mercy comes rushing in to heal you.

Mystics seem to have no shame about contradicting themselves left and right.”
~Mirabai Starr

Included in this report is November’s Author of the Month, the lovely and exceptionally creative being, Mirabai Starr. In addition to being an author, she is a certified bereavement counselor and helps those in mourning harness the transformational power of loss. She is also a contemporary translator of sacred literature and a world-renowned teacher of contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialogue. 

With everything going on in the world these days, more and more I find myself turning to those whose work embraces a multi-faith, holistic, and inclusive approach to Life. I hope you find her writing as supportive and enlightening as I do.

In addition to a new author of the month, I’ve put together 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.

Please enjoy what you find here and know that, 
as always, I am honored to find a welcome place in your inbox.

Author of the Month – Mirabai Starr

“When we show up to make art, we need to get still enough to hear what wants to be expressed through us, and then we need to step out of the way and let it.

We must be willing to abide in a space of not knowing before we can settle in to knowing.”
~Mirabai Starr

Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics is essential reading for anyone (regardless of gender identification) who is longing to awaken the feminine mystic within and birth her loving, creative, and untamed power into the world. We live in a world that has suffered the abuses of an unbalanced masculine rule for thousands of years, but the feminine is rising. Here, Mirabai shares the subversive wisdom and fierce compassion of the feminine mystic across cultural boundaries and throughout history. From saints and sages, to goddesses and archetypal energies, to contemporary teachers and seekers, you’ll meet women who blazed a path that will illuminate your own.

Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation tells the story of how, on the day her first book came out – a new translation of Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross – Mirabai’s daughter Jenny was killed in a car accident. “My spiritual life began the day my daughter died,” she writes. Even with decades of spiritual practice and a deep immersion in the greatest mystical texts, she found herself utterly unprepared for “my most powerful catalyst for transformation, my fiercest and most compassionate teacher.”

Teresa of Ávila: The Book of My Life is a fresh translation of the beloved autobiographical writings of the great 16th-century mystic, Saint Teresa of Ávila.  During the era of the Spanish inquisition, Teresa sat down to write an account of the mystical experiences for which she had become famous. The result was this book, one of the great classics of spiritual autobiography.

Saint Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation relates how when a small village was plagued by a wild wolf, it is told that a humble friar named Francis came and met the predator with nothing but his gentle words – and turned the wolf from a menace to a welcome member of the community. Through stories, prayers, and his own writings, you are invited to share in Francis’s nourishing devotion to the Divine, and in his profound compassion toward all living things.

Julian of Norwich: The Showings: Uncovering the Face of the Feminine in Revelations of Divine Love brings the message and spirituality of this 14th-century mystic to 21st-century readers. In Julian’s version of things, man is not to blame for his sin; sin is something that he must experience and overcome in his spiritual journey with the Divine. This new edition includes a foreword by Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.

“Our capacity to forgive is our superpower.”
~Mirabai Starr

New + Newly Discovered

Gentle Chaos: Poems, Tales, and Magic by Tyler Gaca is a beautiful compendium of poems, images, personal stories, and vignettes that explore magic, queerness, Tyler’s unique story, and the enchantment and comfort to be found in the weird, the dark, and the different. As a companion to this book, I offer his Pocket Oracle Deck and Guided Journal to help discover and explore the ‘gentle chaos’ within yourself as a tool for growth.

Shadow Magic: Unlocking the Whole Witch Within by Nikki Van de Car with illustrations by Khoa Le is an expansive, beautiful primer on cultivating your own innate power, magic, and strength through shadow work – the mystical art of engaging with your deepest internal self.

Daughter: The Soul Journey of a Black Woman in America Having a Human Experience is a memoir-style collection of poems and essays by model and poet Ebonee Davis that form the narrative of what it looked like for a young black woman in America to break generational cycles, begin to heal the trauma that lives within all of our bodies, and embark on a spiritual awakening that changed her life.

Spells for Change: A Guide for Modern Witches from Frankie Castanea brings their fresh style to an ancient practice, showing that contemporary witchcraft is a powerful force for good and a tool for manifesting positive change. With chapters on meditation, grounding, cleansing, banishing, binding, and more, Spells for Change will help the modern witch create change within the hearth, the heart, and the world – one spell at a time.

White Magic by Elissa Washuta is a collection of intertwined essays in which she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch along the way.]

The Subtle Body Oracle Deck by Cyndi Dale with illustrations by Adela Li is an invaluable resource for accessing the power of your intuition and energy body whenever you so desire. “Being an oracle isn’t about just gathering information, “Cyndi writes. “It’s also about channeling your love – for yourself and others – to enable true transformation.”

The Fullness of the Ground: A Guide to Embodied Awakening by psychotherapist and innovative teacher Judith Blackstone is an inviting guide to nondual awakening that is fully embodied, deeply connected, and available in every moment. 

Attuned: Practicing Interdependence to Heal Our Trauma - and Our World from Thomas Hübl is a road map to harness the power of our collective human consciousness as a source for healing our traumatized world. At the core of the book is the “relational field” – a vast matrix of energy through which information is shared within, around, and between us. In each chapter, you’ll find insights and practices for perceiving and tuning into oneself and others, and ultimately contributing to the healing of the whole.

Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms, Real and Imagined by Stephen Ellcock takes readers on a captivating visual odyssey to the underbelly of everything, beginning with depictions of life and natural systems existing beneath the surface of the Earth and ending with imagery that emanates from the depths of the subconscious. Work by renowned artists - from Peter Paul Rubens and René Magritte to contemporary artists such as Kara Walker and Roger Ballen – is featured alongside recently unearthed images from archives around the world. This book is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the spirit.

Joy Is My Justice: Reclaim What is Yours from Integrative Medicine Physician and activist Tanmeet Sethi shares her methods for shifting your nervous system and biochemistry into Joy at the cellular level. You can reclaim Joy – as you reclaim your personal power, strength, and purpose – despite living in an unjust world, despite past traumas, and despite what a whitewashed wellness world says about your capacity to do so.

In the Beginning, the Sun: The Dakota Legend of Creation by famed Native American author Charles Eastman recounts the stories of the Dakota creation cycle as they were told a century and a half ago.

The Way Forward by yung pueblo is an inspiring collection of poetry and short prose which expands on favorite themes while guiding readers further, toward a life lived authentically, intuitively, and in harmony with others.

Remember Love: Words for Tender Times from Cleo Wade is another collection poetry and prose that explores how we can find light in periods of lostness, love for ourselves after heartbreak, okay-ness in the midst of change, and strength in letting go.

The Origins of You: How Breaking Family Patterns Can Liberate the Way We Live and Love by licensed marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon is a profound guide to understanding and overcoming wounds from your Family of Origin – the foundation of how we relate to others, ourselves, and the world around us.

Hafiz's Little Book of Life from the great Persian mystic and poet Hafiz of Shiraz, translated by Erfan Mojib and Gary Gach, is a lush collection of more than 250 selections from his life’s work. Also included is a vivid portrait of his life and times, translators’ notes, an extensive glossary, a bibliography, and an appendix on Hafiz as an oracle.

The Miracle of Our Universe: A New View of Consciousness, God, Science, and Reality by author and astrophysicist Bernard Haisch, Ph.D. offers an exploration of the frontiers of science, consciousness, and God, revolutionizing our understanding of the universe and what’s behind it all. Fellow readers, I ask you, can it get any deeper or more expansive that that?!!

Want Your Self: Shift Your Self-Talk and Unearth the Strength in Who You Were All Along from Katie Horwitch shines a compassionate light on the seemingly everyday moments that define our narratives and unpacks our emotional DNA. “Behind every person fighting against their Self is really a person who yearns to want their Self,” she writes. “And that is a journey worth going on.” 

Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want by clinical psychologist Alexandra H. Solomon teaches that real love begins with you. In order to attract a life partner and build a healthy intimate relationship, you must first become a good partner to yourself. This book offers twenty invaluable lessons that will help you explore and commit to your own emotional and psychological well-being so that you can be ready, resilient, and confident in love.

For more New + Newly Discovered titles, click here!

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” 
~Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

Books for Young Readers + the People Who Love Them

What Your Ribbon Skirt Means to Me: Deb Haaland's Historic Inauguration by Alexis Bunten, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt, is a contemporary Indigenous picture book that offers both an homage to United States Senator and Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and a celebration of urban Indigenous community through the eyes of a little girl.

My Grandfather's Song by Phùng Nguyên and Huynh Kim Liên is a beautiful picture book about a family’s connection to their land, their home, and each other. This story speaks to the beautiful and sacred bond between grandparent and child.

Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior from Carole Lindstrom with illustrations by Bridget George is an inspiring picture book biography about two Indigenous Rights Activists, Josephine Mandamin and Autumn Peltier which gives voice to the water and asks young readers to join a tidal wave of positive change. Included is a foreword by Autumn Peltier herself.

There Was a Party for Langston by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jarrett Pumphrey, is a snappy, joyous ode to literary genius and glass-ceiling smasher Langston Hughes and the luminaries he inspired.

Beneath from Cori Doerrfeld tells the story of a child named Finn and their grandfather as they take a walk in the woods and discover more about themselves along the way.

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

Just Because + Just for Fun

One day I was counting the cats and I absentmindedly counted myself.”
~Bobbie Ann Mason

The Goodbye Cat by Hiro Arikawa, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, is a much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling and beloved The Travelling Cat Chronicles which follows seven cats as they weave their way through their people’s lives, climbing, comforting, nestling, and sometimes just tripping everyone up. Bursting with love and warmth, The Goodbye Cat speaks to the cycle of life with kindness and humor.

In keeping with a cat theme, I thought I’d share this Cat Trivia Page-A-Day Calendar for 2024 and let you know that the next Book Report will be featuring some of my favorite calendars for the year to come. If you’d like a preview just click this link to 2024 calendars

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

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