The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Our New Moon Featured List: Living Heart-to-Heart: Creating + Sustaining Healthy Relationships. Also included in this report is a selection of New + Newly Discovered titles; a special group of Books for Young and Young at Heart Readers; and a couple of Just Because + Just for Fun offerings. 

“Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”
~13th-Century Buddhist priest and writer, Dögen Zenji

Welcome to the Book Report! Inspired by the spirit of the quote above, and in spite of the commercialization and pressure that can arise around Valentine’s Day, I am so pleased to feature our selection of books I call Living Heart to Heart: Creating + Sustaining Healthy Relationships. And, please know that when I speak of relationships, I am not only speaking of romantic ones. We share relationships with so many different people over the course of our lives; family, friends, neighbors, work mates, and so on – often with overlapping roles. Won’t you join me in celebrating them all and being willing to learn how to better function within and between them?

Also included in this report is a selection of New + Newly Discovered titles; a special group of Books for Young and Young at Heart Readers; and a couple of Just Because + Just for Fun offerings. 

I hope you enjoy what you find here and know that, as always, 

I am honored by the privilege of taking up space in your inbox.

Our New Moon Featured List: Living Heart-to-Heart: Creating + Sustaining Healthy Relationships

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
~Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Pillow Talk: Cards for Intimate Conversations from The School of Life folks is comprised of 60 cards prompting us to share our intimate desires and is designed to spark the best kind of pillow talk, guaranteed to leave us with a new sense of liberation and closeness.

The Fair Play Deck: A Couple's Conversation Deck for Prioritizing What's Important from Eve Rodsky is a practical tool to help you balance the work needed to keep your shared housing &/or parenting responsibilities in order to keep your household humming with ease and joy.

Healthy Conflict, Happy Couple: How to Let Go of Blame and Grow Stronger Together by Lisa Gray breaks down the neuroscience of conflict, examines family of origin learnings – beliefs, attitudes, or habits we learn in childhood from our own parents and caregivers – and provides practical methods which can be employed in any situation to help put an end to unproductive arguments.

Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships by experienced lesbian therapists D. Merilee Clunis and G. Dorsey Green covers a range of topics, including commitment ceremonies and marriage, living arrangements, resolving conflicts in a healthy manner, and uses a variety of helpful examples and problem-solving techniques, drawing from research with lesbian couples over the past decade. Thoroughly readable and extremely helpful, with an updated resource guide, this is a book that every lesbian and their loved ones will benefit from having.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving from David Richo is a modern classic in the field. “Most people think of love as a feeling,” says Richo, “But love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present.” Here, the author explores five hallmarks he refers to as the “five A’s” of mindful loving and how they play a key role in our relationships: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.

Part memoir and part guidebook, Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First: 10 Questions to Take Your Friendships to the Next Level by Laura Tremaine is the invitation you’ve been waiting for to show up with your whole self and nurture the intimate, meaningful friendships you long for.

Making Great Relationships: Simple Practices for Solving Conflicts, Building Connection, and Fostering Love from Rick Hanson offers 50 simple, powerful ways to improve your relationships at home and at work. 

How to Be Married (to Melissa): A Hilarious Guide to a Happier, One-of-a-Kind Marriage by Dustin Nickerson shares storytelling and brutally honest disclosures to help us navigate the many challenges couples may face, including eating healthy (versus being happy), parenting (building crucial survival skills), finances (bill collectors, anyone?), and worship attendance (Melissa’s purse holds enough mints and fidget toys to entertain the kids and Dustin). All of this and more in a book written for actual married humans by an actually married human.

The Rainbow Journey: A Guide to Married Life for Gay Couples from Sky Adams is a comprehensive self-help book designed to inspire, inform, and empower gay couples in their journey of marriage. Loaded with questions, activities, and deep-dive explorations for you and your spouse to collaborate on and connect with, you’ll learn to support personal growth, cultivate gratitude, and create a lasting legacy of love and inclusivity for a deeply connected and fulfilling marriage.

Be Not Afraid of Love: Lessons on Fear, Intimacy, and Connection by Mimi Zhu is a heartrending and revolutionary book serving as a testament to the strength and adaptability all humans possess - a tribute to love.

Both True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart and How to Fight by Thich Nhat Hanh introduce us to a Buddhist approach to practicing authentic love in our everyday lives.

A Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman is a splendid, serious, scientific, poetic, playful, and lyrical ‘tour d’horizon’ of love’s many forms and faces.

For the complete selection click here!

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
~Lao Tzu

New + Newly Discovered

How to Be a Renaissance Woman: The Untold History of Beauty & Female Creativity by Jill Burke offers an alternative history of the Renaissance – as seen through the emerging literature of beauty tips – focusing on the actresses, authors, and courtesans who rebelled against the misogyny of their era. This surprising and illuminating narrative will prompt you to question your own ideas about your body, and ask: Why are women often so critical of their appearance? What do we stand to lose, but also to gain, from beauty culture? What is the relationship between looks and power?

Lessons from an American Stoic: How Emerson Can Change Your Life from Mark Matousek reveals how American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s twelve essential teachings hold the answers to living an authentic and fulfilling life, one that is in harmony with our souls.

Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet by Hannah Ritchie is a bold, radically hopeful book arguing that if we expand our perspective, we can see that we’ve made so much progress and can reasonably achieve true environmental sustainability for all humanity.

The Green Budget Guide: 101 Planet and Money Saving Tips, Ideas and Recipes from Nancy Birtwhistle features 101 thoughtful, inexpensive, and time-saving tips on how to run a budget home – all while protecting and serving the environment.

Trusting Change: Finding Our Way Through Personal and Global Transformation by Karen Hering invites readers on the cusp of great change to explore new possibilities emerging in our collective times. Sharing wisdom found in the body, in nature, and in metaphors, these reflections include creative and embodied exercises that calls us forward into a greater story of creativity and healthy transformation.

Tree Keepers Oracle by Angi Sullins, graced with the lovely artwork by Stephanie Law, shows us that long ago, before trees were used for their pulp and fiber to bind our stories, they were story protectors of a different kind. The deck includes 44 gilt-edged cards, a 108-page lushly illustrated guidebook, and an organza drawstring pouch.

Tarot for the Hard Work: An Archetypal Journey to Confront Racism and Inspire Collective Healing from Maria Minnis is a provocative exploration of the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana that re-envisions these archetypes as beacons that illuminate the various ways racism takes root both in ourselves and in the world. With compassion and wisdom, the author shows us how these insights can be transformed into self-awareness, self-love, and positive social action.

The Lost Art of Silence: Reconnecting to the Power and Beauty of Quiet by Sarah Allen is a unique celebration of silence – in art, literature, nature, and spirituality – and an exploration of its ability to bring inner peace, widen our perspectives, and inspire the human spirit in spite of the sometimes overwhelming noise of human life.

On Thriving: Harnessing Joy Through Life's Great Labors by renowned doula Brandi Sellerz-Jackson shares powerful lessons on healing and thriving through the often murky seasons of life in this moving, intimate guide to deeper self-awareness and radical joy.

The Allure of the Multiverse: Extra Dimensions, Other Worlds, and Parallel Universes by physicist Paul Halpern tells the epic story of how science became besotted with the multiverse, and the controversies that ensued. Whether we live in one of many different possible universes, or simply the only one there is, might never be certain, but we can know one thing for sure – how simulating it can be to try to find out.

Money Magic: Practical Wisdom and Empowering Rituals to Heal Your Finances by Jessie Susannah Karnatz with illustrations by Broobs uses a simple seven-step system to take control of your money with clarity and confidence (plus a few crystals!).

The Life Brief: A Playbook for No-Regrets Living by Bonnie Wan is a practice in three parts - Get Messy, Get Clear, and Get Active – helping to unpack complexity with curiosity, shift attention to drive action, and challenge the limiting beliefs that create friction and standstill in your life.

The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction from Jamie Kreiner blends history and psychology in this witty, illuminating account of human fallibility and ingenuity.

Claim Your Confidence: Unlock Your Superpower and Create the Life You Want by Lydia Fenet offers case studies, insights, and advice on how to harness the power of positivity, slam your imposter syndrome, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and grow your mindset. From building up the courage to do what scares you most to persisting when all you want to do is give up, get ready to claim your confidence and manifest the qualities of life you want.

Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You by productivity expert Dr. Ali Abdaal draws on decades of psychological research leading to the conclusion that the key to productivity and success isn’t grinding on – it’s feeling good. If you can make your work feel good, then productivity takes care of itself. Easier said than done, perhaps, but certainly worth a try, don’t you think?

Another book with similar themes is Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less  from Alex Soojung Pang teaches us to “deliberately rest,” as the author puts it, in order to improve your stamina, sharpen your ideas, and live a better, more satisfying life.

Self-Care for Latinas: 100+ Ways to Prioritize & Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body & Spirit by Raquel Reichard includes more than 100 exercises to radically choose to put yourself first. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day, you’re working through feelings of burnout, or  you to need to process a microaggression, this book can help. In a world that works to devalue Latinas, it’s time to make the decision to prioritize you: your life, your joy, and your self-care.

Cosmic Health: Unlock Your Healing Magic with Astrology, Positive Psychology, and Integrative Wellness by renowned astrologer and health practitioner Jennifer Racioppi is a guide to living in sync with the natural rhythms of the universe to achieve optimal health and astonishing success. By honoring your individuality, your role in the universe, and the seasonality of life, you will be well-armed with the knowledge and magic you need to cultivate uncompromising health.

Embodying Tara: Twenty-One Manifestations to Awaken Your Innate Wisdom from Chandra Easton offers us the tools to live a more compassionate life, befriend our fears, and overcome everyday challenges. 

1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg is all about becoming – and staying – motivated, discover yourself and your creative desires, and approach your craft from a new direction. The book features advice from more than fifty well-known writers and presents a solid offering on how to carve out a creative path for yourself all year round.

Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic from Neal Allen with a foreword by Anne Lamott examines a critical aspect of the human psyche that often gets ignored – the superego. Through simple and engaging explorations and exercises, the author leads you into meeting, confronting, and ultimately quieting your own inner critic. Just imaging…if all that negative chatter in your head evaporated…what would you do next? Better days are just ahead.

For more New + Newly Discovered books click here!

“There are two questions we need to ask our superego: Who put you in charge? and May I take over now?”
~Neal Allen

Books for Young Readers + the People Who Love Them

Wild Places: The Life of Naturalist David Attenborough from Hayley Rocco with illustrations by John Rocco is an inspiring and accessible picture book of the beloved naturalist, broadcaster, and documentarian Sir David Attenborough. It’s also a story of our planet, which has changed rapidly over the course of his lifetime, and a clarion call for us to do our part to bring back the wild places and protect all of the creatures who call Earth home.

The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers with illustrations by Shawn Harris is an enthralling middle-grade novel told from the perspective of Johannes - one uniquely endearing dog.

Wildful by Kengo Kurimoto is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel exploring the nature of grief, love, and finding magic in the wilderness – and in ourselves.

Catastrophe by the Sea by Brenda Peterson, illustrated by Ed Young, is a poignant story of redemption through empathy and compassion found in the most surprising places, also providing a rich understanding of the small creatures that live in a dangerous tidal zone.

A Happy Place by Britta Teckentrup is an enchanting picture book which takes readers on a magical, moonlit adventure to inspire a child’s imagination with peek-through pages and cutaways.

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

Just Because + Just for Fun

Small Victories: A Coloring Book of Little Wins and Miniature Masterpieces by Johanna Basford is the perfect book for when you want to pick up a pencil and complete a coloring page in a single sitting. With whimsical illustrations and flights of fancy guaranteed to flex your creative muscle, this is a sweet ride, indeed.

The Lost Words Card Game from Robert Hyde with illustrations by the amazing Jackie Morris is comprised of ‘spells’ (poems) and pictures of the various birds, animals, and other inhabitants of the natural world which have been deemed no longer in common usage and, therefore, easy to dismiss. Let’s choose instead to celebrate their existence and vital place in our shared world.

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