Inspirational Books to Start the New Year With

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With 2017 behind us, we are all guilty of the “new year, new me” resolution. Looking for a little inspiration to kick-start the year with a fresh perspective, we have put together a list of books that are bound to give you a newer, more positive outlook on life. Whether you prefer self-help books or just touching novels, there is something for everyone.

Big Magic
By Elizabeth Gilbert

Author of “Eat, Pray, Love”, Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective on creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering, and shows us how to tackle what we love the most, and how to face what we fear the most.

Gilbert discusses the attitudes, approaches and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, she encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us.

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The Story of Arthur Truluv
By Elizabeth Berg

A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness.

Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who avoids school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does.

With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.

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The Five Thieves of Happiness
By John Izzo

According to Izzo, happiness is our natural state that can be stolen by mental patterns, which he depicts as thieves: the thief of control, the thief of conceit, the thief of coveting, the thief of consumption and the thief of comfort. He discovered these thieves as he sought the true source of happiness during a year-long sabbatical, walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and living in the Andes of Peru.

This inspiring book describes the disguises these thieves wear, the tools they use to break into our hearts and how to lock them out once and for all. Izzo shows how these same thieves of personal happiness are destroying society as well.

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When Strangers Meet
By Kio Stark

Discover the unexpected pleasures and exciting possibilities of talking to people you don’t know.

Our lives are increasingly insular. We are in a hurry, our heads are down, minds elsewhere and we only hear the voices we recognize and rarely take the effort to experience something or someone new. Talking to strangers pulls you into experiences of shared humanity and creates genuine emotional connections. Passing interactions are beautiful interruptions in the steady routines of our lives.

Throughout the novel are powerful vignettes from Stark’s own lifelong practice of talking to strangers and documenting brief encounters, along with a deep exploration of the dynamics of where, how and why strangers come together.

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Wild
By Cheryl Strayed

At the age of 22, Strayed’s life was at a low point: she had just lost her mother, was getting divorced and was hooked on heroine. Four years later, she decided to reboot her life with a solitary trek up the Pacific Crest Trail, stretching from the Mojave Desert to Washington State.

You don’t have to take the hike to be bettered by the wisdom Strayed picked up along the way.

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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
By Lindy West

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, West narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that somehow manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability and boundless charm, Shrill dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

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The Unlikely Pyramid of Harold Fry
By Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is unhappy in retirement and unhappy in marriage. Then, a letter from his lost love, Queenie Hennessy, arrives at his doorstep. Queenie’s writing from the hospice to say goodbye.

Instead of mailing a letter, Harold is seized with the urge to hand-deliver the letter to the hospice 600 miles away. So long as he’s walking, he thinks Queenie will live.

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When Breath Becomes Air
By Paul Kalanithi

Kanthani was a successful doctor in the prime of his life when he learned he had terminal cancer; but in addition to being a brilliant medical mind, he was also a beautiful writer and observer of the human condition.

Compiled from his papers and finished by his wife after Kalanithi’s passing, “When Breath Becomes Air” is a heartbreaking and hope-giving book about what it means to truly appreciate life and the little moments that make up our days.

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