The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

It’s time to introduce October’s Author of the Month – the radiant award-winning writer, poet, teacher, and dreamworker Toko-pa Turner...

Hello there, fellow book lover! What a sweet time of year this can be. Granted, much of the news these days can be beyond disconcerting, but it’s far from all that is unfolding in our worlds. Let’s not let hard news keep us from savoring this slow slide into Fall and all of the magic it holds – together in love and fellowship. Now, more than ever, let’s make the sacred work of connecting from the heart in ways both large and small a top priority.

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

“As we apprentice ourselves to the way of nature, we begin to understand that all of life is in a continuous cycle of giving and receiving.

It is the honouring of this cycle that makes us feel at home in ourselves and in relation to the rest of nature.

In order to experience true belonging, we must not only acknowledge the gifts we are receiving, but also give our beauty away, no matter how it may be received by others.”
~Toko-pa Turner

It’s time to introduce October’s Author of the Month – the radiant award-winning writer, poet, teacher, and dreamworker Toko-pa Turner. Part of what makes this choice stand apart from the others is that she has only one published book (at this point, at least) and its delicious title is Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home.

It’s a book I’ve turned to again and again – always finding just the right words and turns of phrase to help clear my path of needless confusion, validate my deepest sense of things (no matter how unconventional or awkward), and / or inspire me to reframe or toss out a  dysfunctional story I’ve been telling myself for far too long. My hope is that you will have similar experiences with this most special offering.

P.S. Her next book The Dreaming Way: A Feminine Approach to Dreamwork is in the publishing pipeline with an expected release date of October, 2024.

“Naturally, the antidote to shame is to risk showing up as fully as we’re able. The discipline needed for shame is to practice revealing yourself.

It is bringing into the open the full brightness of your spirit, despite your fear of failure. It is to brave your secret gifts into the open.

It is revealing your fears to trusted others, allowing them to be assuaged. It is reaching out when you’d rather hide. It is asking for help when you feel abandoned.”
~Toko-pa Turner

As we move forward here, I’ve put together a selection of terrific new + newly discovered titles beginning with a few witchy & magical novels; some beautiful offerings of sacred poetry; a sweet handful books for the young and young at heart readers among us; a couple of just because + just for fun works; and then there’s this link to 2024 calendars…yeah, it’s that time of year!

New + Newly Discovered

The Witching Tide from Margaret Meyer | Paradise Found Santa Barbara

The Witching Tide from Margaret Meyer is set in 17th-century England where Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer, and servant has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved seaside city of Cleftwater. Having lost her voice as a child, Martha has not spoken a word in many years. All of that is radically challenged when a newcomer appears in town, the witchfinder Silas Makepeace.

The Square of Sevens from Laura Shepherd-Robinson is also set in England, only in the 18th-century in Cornwall where a young girl known only as Red travels with her father making a living using the ancient Cornish divination method of the Square of Sevens. Mysteries and high society intrigue ensues after Red’s father dies and she is entrusted to live under the care of a gentleman scholar.

The Land of Lost Things by John Connolly tells a story set in contemporary times where young Phoebe lies comatose after a car accident. Her mother, Ceres, can only sit by her bedside and read aloud the fairy stories Phoebe loves in the hope that they might bring her beloved daughter back to this world. But an old house on the hospital’s grounds, a property connected to a book written by a vanished author, is calling to Ceres from a magical land…the Land of Lost Things.

Take Back the Magic: Conversations with the Unseen World by renowned spiritual teacher Perdita Finn reveals that life is beginningless, love is endless, and those who have passed don’t truly go anywhere when they die. Weaving together memoir, history and non-denominational spirituality based in ecology, Finn invites readers to live the experience that the stories of our lives are much older, bigger, and more merciful than we have been led to believe.

Last Standing Woman (25th Anniversary Edition) by Anishinaabe writer, farmer, and economist Winona LaDuke is a compelling novel telling the story of a woman known both as The Storyteller and Ishkwegaabawiikwe (last Standing Woman) who carries her people’s past within her memories. This is a strong nonlinear narrative of struggle and triumph, resistance, and resilience, spanning seven generations from the 1800s to the early 2000s.

Falling Down and Getting Up: Discovering Your Inner Resilience and Strength by Mark Nepo is an open invitation to view adversity from a new perspective. In this gentle, insightful guide, Mark Nepo helps readers navigate the challenges of life by transforming their experience into a chance for deepening and renewal.

Goodbye Hello: Processing Grief and Understanding Death Through the Paranormal from paranormal investigator Adam Berry blends supernatural and psychological research to explore the mysteries of the afterlife to try to help answer big questions about ‘the end’.

Kindness Will Save the World: Stories of Compassion and Connection by James Crews with illustrations by Mirtalipova is a collection of 100 uplifting bite-size essays with journaling prompts and kindness practices. Learn how to integrate the life-changing practice of kindness into you own routine. I promise, your world will be the brighter for it.

Another offering from James Crews is The Wonder of Small Things: Poems of Peace and Renewal, filled with a collection of highly accessible poems on the theme of celebrating moments of wonder and peace in everyday life. He writes: “[A] deep love for the world is present in every one of the poems gathered in this book. Wonder calls us back to the curiosity we are each born with, and makes us want to move closer to what sparks our attention. Wonder opens our senses and helps us stay in touch with a humbling sense of our own human smallness in the face of unexpected beauty and the delicious mysteries of life on this planet.” I don’t know how this lands with you, gentle reader, but I’m all in with this point of view! Won’t you join us?

The Book of (More) Delights: Essays by Ross Gay is a collection of small, daily wonders written over the course of a year. As always, Gay revels in the natural world – sweet potatoes being harvested, a hummingbird carousing in the beebalm, a sunflower growing out of a wall around the cemetery, the shared bounty from a neighbor’s fig tree, and more.

Of Time and Turtles: Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell by acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery with illustrations by Matt Patterson is a beautiful story of hope and rescue, revealing new perspectives on time and healing from the world of turtles – ancient and unhurried beings, long lived and majestic, with a lineage that stretches back to the time of the dinosaurs. Hopeful and optimistic, Of Time and Turtles is a welcome antidote to the instability of our often frenzied modern world.

Awaken the Light Within Your Heart: A Guide to Self-Healing from therapist and spiritual medium Susan Kennard shares her personal awakening and healing journey, offering insights from her guides about relationships, money, freedom, and animals and how they help us heal.

The Blossoming of Women: A Workbook on Growing from Older to Elder by Karen Roberts with contributions by Dana Jaffe helps us to discover new purpose and opportunities in our later years when we learn to meet challenges as gateways to growth. Included are in-depth interviews with eight women who have each confronted dauting challenges, yet their perseverance and inner faith led them to pursue incredible late-life passions. Their stories, told with intimacy and grace, will open you to new possibilities.

Creative Consciousness Healing: A 44-Card Deck and Guidebook for Self-Healing and Self-Care from Johanna Wright offers solace and direction in a time when we could all use a little extra guidance and support. 

Black Tarot: An Ancestral Awakening Deck and Guidebook by Nyasha Williams, illustrated by Kimishka Naidoo is a powerful deck featuring and celebrating exclusively Black figures and imagery. The accompanying illustrated guidebook with information on each card including traits, descriptions, action steps, flower, elemental, chakra, affirmations, and more. I love this deck.

Get Tarot!: A Perfect Guidebook to Practice Tarot Reading by Francesca Matteoni would be a welcome addition to your spiritual tools library – regardless of your experience or skill level with the Tarot. 

For more New + Newly Discovered titles, click here!

Celebrating + Honoring Sacred Poetry

“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”
~Alice Walker

The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry from Aliki Barnstone celebrates the unique spiritual life of women through a rich selection of poetry written over the span of the last four thousand years, from thirty-six different languages and cultures. It ranges from verse by the first recorded poet, a Sumerian priestess named Enheduanna (circa 2,300 BCE) to Anne Sexton; from early Buddhist nuns to Emily Dickinson; from Hildegard of Bingen to Tess Gallagher, and more.

This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World by Ivan M. Granger is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

The Longing in Between, also from Ivan M. Granger, is another collection of soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions. These are poems of seeking and awakening…and the longing in between.

The Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations from Robert Bly holds the work of twenty-two poets, some renowned, others lesser known, all brought together in this wonderful collection. 

The Mystic in a Wild State by Nyamdorjgarav (Garva) Amarsaikhan brings hope for the future. You will hear of wandering nomads, you will feel the presence of ancestors, you will touch memoir, you will listen to many profound thoughts in this voyage into the core of a strong soul that embraces Nature, Time, Essence, Spirituality, Culture, Love, Life, Death, the Infinite.

For more poetry click here.

Books for Young Readers + the People Who Love Them

Something, Someday by presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman with illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson combines intimate and inspiring text with powerful artwork to reveal how even the smallest gesture can have a lasting impact. 

A Walk in the Woods by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney and Brian Pinkney is a moving account of loss as a boy takes a walk in the woods and makes a discovery that changes his understanding of his father who died not long before.

A Feast Beneath the Moon from authors Christiane Duchesne and Jérôme Minère with illustrations by Marianne Ferrer tells the story of four friends who always had lots of fun together. On one magical night they encounter an extraordinary girl named Alice, who can grow big or small at the snap of her fingers. Interspersed in this wondrous tale are four beloved traditional songs and fourteen original tracks – audibly accessed with a QR code.

A Family Like Ours by Frank Murphy and Alice Lee, illustrated by Kayla Harren celebrates a diversity of families and extended families and other close-knit connections. Regardless of what yours looks like, family is a place for support, safety, growth, and inspiration. What is special, surprising, or sensational about your family?

The Mermaid with No Tail from paralympic champion and gold medalist Jessica Long, illustrated by Airin O’ Callaghan, celebrates the importance of dreaming big and the power of being different as it tells the story of a young mermaid born without a tail who, with the help of her adoptive turtle parents and her shark coach, Phelpsy, learns how to swim and compete using her arms.

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

Just Because + Just for Fun

Let’s get literal for a moment, shall we?! Just Because by actor and author Matthew McConaughey, illustrated by Renée Kurilla, is a soulful and irreverent collection of life lessons that empowers readers, big and small, to celebrate how we are all full of possibility. And why is that so? The answer is ‘just because’ of course!

A Woman's Place Is in the Wild by Sharisse Steber is a fun, colorful deck of 52 playing cards that highlights and celebrates female outdoor adventurers.

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.”
~Randy Pausch

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

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