The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Included in this report is an eclectic mix of New + Newly Discovered books chosen to support + inspire you; some wonderful books for Young + Young at Heart readers, and a ‘Just Because’ offering in the form of a poem by Margaret Atwood to get this year off to a bright start.

It’s a Whole New Year, Book Lovers!! And there’s so much to explore and look forward to. In this time of transition, we have a perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year…savor our wins and growth, consider how we have been called to evolve, review our disciplines and practices, and / or investigate new paths.

I know – that may sound like a lot, but we’ve got a whole year to work on it…with a little help from our book friends.

“No Wonder humans prayed, built temples, worshipped. To live in a world like this – with clouds, trees, lakes – fuels a gratitude so intense it must act. Not to worship in the face of so much beauty, would be almost unbearable.”
~Martha Beck, Diana, Herself 

New + Newly Discovered

phantomwise tarot by erin morgenstern | paradise found santa barbara

The Phantomwise Tarot from Erin Morgenstern, author of the bestselling novel The Night Circus, is a spellbinding hand-painted deck – a little bit circus, a little bit Wonderland, and a little bit nocturnal phantasia all on its own. Combining myth and fairy tale, this deck draws you into its world where all may not be quite as it seems, yet offers clarity of vision and practical guidance along your path. Included is a detailed guidebook with insightful interpretations of the cards as well as suggested spreads for readings.

seventy-eight degrees of wisdom by rachel pollack | paradise found santa barbara

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness from renowned Tarot authority Rachel Pollack draws on mythology and esoteric traditions – delving deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card and offering a modern psychological interpretation of the tarot archetypes.

signs and sky-mates by dosse-via trenou | paradise found santa barbara

Signs & Skymates: The Ultimate Guide to Astrological Compatibility by Dossé-Via Trenou with illustrations by Neka King is a wise and friendly guide to astrological compatibility – from romance to self-love. Using astrology as a guiding light in her evolutionary approach to compatibility, Dossé-Via invites you to connect to your innermost self, and others, in new and more expansive ways.

italian folk magic by mary-grace fahrun | paradise found santa barbara

Italian Folk Magic: Rue's Kitchen Witchery by Mary-Grace Fahrun is a fascinating journey through the magical, folkloric, and healing traditions of Italy, offering uniquely Italian methods of magical protection and divination.

the cantigee oracle by rae diamond | paradise found santa barbara

The Cantigee Oracle: An Ecological Spiritual Guide and Creative Prompt Deck from Rae Diamond with art by Laura Zuspan is a beautiful deck of 52 circular cards. Cantigee is the song the Earth sings. It’s the spell it weaves, the enchantment it whispers – an invitation to deepen into ourselves, come home to our place within the living Earth, and exist in right relationship with the natural world.

the myth of normal by gabor mate | paradise found santa barbara

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Dr. Gabor Maté with his son Daniel Maté is a groundbreaking investigation into the causes of illness, a bracing critique of how our society breeds disease, and a pathway to health and healing. Included are insights into the truth of our interconnectedness, the value of self-compassion and honoring suffering, how to close the gap between science and the practice of medicine, and learning how to say no before our bodies do.

the embodied path by elli roscher | paradise found santa barbara

The Embodied Path: Telling the Story of Your Body for Healing and Wholeness by Elli Roscher tells more than twenty body stories, woven together with the author’s own experience and insights, to do the essential work of resistance and repair at the individual and communal level. The work is simple but not easy, yet the benefits are lasting and profound. Our bodies are always talking to us, trying to get our attention. Our work is to unfold, to listen, and the claim the truth about our beautiful, storied bodies.

the way of grace by miranda macpherson | paradise found santa barbara

The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation from Miranda Macpherson is, from my perspective, best described by the author herself: “Perhaps you hunger to finally end the struggle of living from a consciousness of fear and separation. Perhaps you yearn for a saner, wiser, more spiritually elegant way to move through our world. Perhaps you are weary of the dizzying pace of a culture that drives us even further from our true nature. There is another way: a way of Grace. This book is a hand of friendship to help you come to abide in the living presence that you are and always were.” If that isn’t balm for your heart and soul, then I just don’t know what could possibly be better.

cultivating grace by miranda macpherson | paradise found santa barbara

Another offering from Miranda MacPherson is Cultivating Grace: Access Inner Peace, Clarity, and Joy on Your Spiritual Path Card Deck. This deck and guidebook invite you to experience and work creatively with the four dimensions of Grace: Grounding in Grace, Receiving the Blessings of Grace, Transforming Power of Grace, and Embodying Grace. With inspiring and informative prompts around the many nuanced aspects of grace – all encouraging you to embark on your spiritual journey with more focused intention and openness.

write for life by julia cameron | paradise found santa barbara

Write for Life: Creative Tools for Every Writer by Julia Cameron releases on January 10, but is available for preorder now. In this latest book, our attention is turned to one of the subjects closest to the author’s heart – the art and practice of writing. Over the course of six weeks, Cameron carefully guides readers step by step through the creative process and how to navigate many common creative issues – such as procrastination, dealing with deadlines, doubt, and other obstacles to flow.

weightless by evette dionne | paradise found santa barbara

Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne is a poignant and deeply self-revealing journey through cultural expectations of size, race, and gender – and toward a brighter future. Here, the author explores the minefields heavy Black women are forced to navigate in the course of everyday life. This is a moving self-portrait of a woman on a path to understanding our society and herself by holding up a mirror to the world we live in and asking us to imagine a future we deserve.

how we grow by christopher willard | paradise found santa barbara

How We Grow Through What We go Through: Self-Compassion Practices for Post-Traumatic Growth from clinical psychologist Christopher Willard, PsyD offers accessible and compassionate guidance and practices that support our intentions to learn and grow. The truth is that no one gets a pass from the challenges of life, but the good news is that we are all hardwired to turn them into a source of strength.

Books for Young Readers + The People Who Love Them

windswept by margi preus | paradise found santa barbara

Windswept from Newberry Honor-winning writer Margi Preus with illustrations by Armando Veve is a gripping middle-grade fantasy story about a girl named Tag who must save the children of her world from being “windswept”. In her world, children are disappearing. “Youngers” who venture Outside are windswept – vanishing in the swirling snow – Tag’s sister among them. An unlikely crew of Youngers join forces to rescue their windswept siblings.

the storyteller's handbook by neil gaiman | paradise found santa barbara

The Storyteller’s Handbook by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Elise Hurst is a collection of fifty-two double-page, dream-touched scenes making this book a beguiling mix of whimsy, surreal elements, fantastical touches, and realistic details. Each spread stands on its own, holding a hundred stories and possibilities in its wordless details. With every page turn, the reader can become the storyteller and invent a tale for each image or simply soak up the illustration’s wondrous aspects.

a rover's story by jasmine warga | paradise found santa barbara

A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga is a charming and innovative middle grade novel about the journey of a fictional Mars rover named Resilience, or ‘Res’ for short. As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, they wonder if he will have the determination, courage, and durability to succeed.

the rhino suit by cotter jackson | paradise found santa barbara

The Rhino Suit by Colter Jackson tells the story of a sweet and sensitive young girl who learns how to move from fear to courageousness, from brokenness to wholeness, and from feeling shut down to letting all of life in. While it’s written for children, I’m confident that we can all relate to its mighty message.

alphabreaths by christopher willard | paradise found santa barbara

Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing from Christopher Willard and Daniel Rechtschaffen, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown helps children to learn their ABCs and the basics of mindfulness through playful breathing exercises.

butterfly child by marc majewski | paradise found santa barbara

Butterfly Child by Marc Majewski is a beautifully illustrated, tender story about a young child who loves dressing up as a butterfly. But when other kids make fun of them for the clothes they don’t understand, it takes a father’s encouragement for the kid to stay true to what they love and find joy in the butterfly wings once more.

little black boy by kirby howell-baptiste and larry fields | paradise found santa barbara

Little Black Boy: Oh, the Things You Will Do! from Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Larry C. Fields with illustrations by Paul Davey tells the story of a little Black boy with very big dreams and very big challenges.

mushroom rain by laura zimmerman | paradise found santa barbara

Mushroom Rain by Laura K. Zimmerman, illustrated by Jamie Green is a beautiful introduction into the fascinating world of mushrooms and fungi. Through lyrical text and colorful, detailed artwork, the wonderful, mysterious, and sometimes bizarre world of mushrooms is explore. Includes a glossary, additional mushroom facts, and a science activity.

i don't care by julie fogliano | paradise found santa barbara

I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal is a story of friendships and how differences only make the bond stronger.

Just Because – ‘The Moment’ a Poem by Margaret Atwood

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

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

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May you be inspired, supported, and enriched by what you find here.

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