This time of year is my favorite for many reasons. It’s a time when my schedule starts to become more structured and my activities tend to be more scheduled. When I do have down time I love engaging in activities that give me a little escape from all that structure too. And curling up on the couch in front of the fireplace with a good book is one of my favorite things to do. But if I’m being really honest, I probably don’t need a particular season to dive into a new book as I read pretty consistently all year long.
I know many of us love a page-turning beach read (one of mine is pictured above) but as the temps drop and we move towards spending more time indoors you may crave something a little deeper and more filling for fall too. So with that being said, I’m going to share a few of my fave recent reads with all of you. If you’ve been following closely you know that I tend to read everything, but I have selected three books from different categories in case you lean more toward a particular genre.
Finding Me– this memoir was a captivating self-told portrait of Viola Davis’ early life and career. I don’t think I have ever been so transfixed by a memoir the way I was with this one. Viola leaves nothing on the table. She tells her story of poverty, abuse, and overcoming in a way that is so authentic that the story jumps off of the page and finds its way into your heart. As someone who spent over a decade as a school counselor, I have to say that I believe every educator should read this book. I thought I understood the effect of poverty on children and the struggles they have to make their way into classrooms each school day, but I quickly realized I had very little knowledge of what extreme poverty truly looks like. Viola did a fantastic job of pulling back the curtain on an issue that still plagues so many young people in our country. She also shines a light on how a mentor or supportive adult can really change a life. And she exposes the underbelly of the power dynamic with soul crushing accounts of what it looks like when those adults in their lives take the opposite stance too.
This book brought me to tears and made me swell with joy! It is everything a book should be. Bonus points for listening to it on Audible as her voice is so distinctive it’s like sharing a glass of wine with her while she shares her incredible story with you.
Nightcrawling– first let me say this book is not easy to read. Not in the way that the words themselves challenge you like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. In fact, it’s the opposite-the words effortlessly dance off the page. Leila Mottley’s writing is lyrical and deliciously descriptive in a way that made me nod my head when I learned that she was the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. It made perfect sense that her writing would be poetic in the very best way. But when I say it’s not an easy read I mean the subject matter itself is difficult. It chronicles a 17-year-old who turns to sex work in an effort to support herself, her brother, and a young boy she has taken under her wing. The stakes are raised when a whistleblower exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal with the Oakland Police Department. It may not be for everyone given the subject matter, but I really wish it was. It’s powerful, heartwrenching, and brilliant.
Leila Mottley is actually the youngest author ever selected for Oprah’s book club (she was 19 when she finished Nightcrawling) and I can certainly see why!
Set Boundaries, Find Peace– this is a New York Times Bestseller by Nedra Glover Tawwab. I picked it up after seeing Jessica Faust rave about it in a video for BookEnds Literary (you can also read Jessica’s blog post about setting boundaries here).
After reading chapter one of Tawwab’s book I immediately ordered two additional copies for my adult daughters and the accompanying workbook so that we could complete some of the exercises together. I honestly can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from this book. Even if you think you don’t have boundary issues, I’m willing to bet you will see yourself in several of the scenarios she covers. No one has it all figured out, but I believe that most of us want to have healthier relationships and live more peaceful lives. Tawwab doesn’t just show you what unhealthy boundaries look like; she also delves into the root issues and provides practical techniques based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Ultimately she gives you research-based “tools for your tool box” that you can easily implement. That should always be the goal in reading self-help if you ask me.
Those are just a few of my fave reads for now but you can check out all of the fiction books I’ve read over the last few months by clicking here. I’d love to hear what you’re reading now or what you’d highly recommend. Your pick might just make my Winter Book Love List too!
Until Next Post,
Xo Tonya Parker