With the holidays upon on us — boy, did they come on fast! — I wanted to give you a list of some books I highly recommend to add to your gift-giving or gift-getting list this year. Since I covered some comedy books in the summer, this time I wanted to branch out to some other types of books I think you might also be interested in. This list has a little something for everyone:
- The Buddha At My Table: How I Found Peace in Betrayal and Divorce
By Tammy LethererThis year’s list starts with two of my friend’s memoirs. In this book, Tammy Letherer takes us on the painful and brutally honest journey of her divorce. Her book begins with a huge bang: After 12 years of marriage and three kids, her husband sits her down, just before Christmas, takes out a list on a piece of paper, and reads off some of the things he’s been withholding from her, shaking her world and shattering their marriage.Tammy is left picking up the pieces, and her story details how she puts herself back together again. Yes, it’s painful at times because she pours her heart and soul into every page, but it’s also an engrossing pager turner that never lets up from the first chapter. With all the shit that happens to her, I kept thinking, “She’s not going to make it.” This is a sign of great writer, to have you feel what she must have been feeling when she was dealt a devastating blow. I love how willing she is to share with us how messy life can be, and her hopeful tale of being able to endure in the end.
- Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life
By Christie TateChristie Tate is a New York Times Best Selling author who is a triple threat as a writer — funny, candid and able to craft an excellent narrative. The book begins when Christie is a 29-year-old, self-hating law student who is recovering from eating disorder and desperately wanting to be in a relationship. She then finds the unconventional Dr. Rosen and enters group therapy, where she learns to be honest, ask for help and rely on her group members for the support she didn’t realize she needed.The book is described as a memoir, but I found it to be much more. For one thing, it’s written like a novel that is part love story and part an inside look at what goes on in group therapy. I admire that Tate isn’t afraid to admit her craziness and is willing to talk openly about sex. Her book is brave and raw, and I think it will help a lot of people because she writes in such a relatable way.
In full disclosure, I, too, have been seeing the “Dr. Rosen” from the book for 16 years, and it’s good to see that Christie has captured some of his wisdom and principals in her book. This book really shows that group therapy with a competent therapist can make a difference in one’s life.
- Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
By Austin KleonIf you are an artist of any kind, you probably want to quit at least hundred times. I know I have. We constantly need encouragement and inspiration, and that’s why I highly recommend Keep Going.Austin Kleon is the New York Times Best Selling author of Steal Like An Artist, and Show Your Work!, and what I love about his books is that he doesn’t ever over-complicate things. He simply makes his points, gives us examples from his life and from other artists, and then moves on. The art direction of his books are so fun and creative, too, that they’ll actually make you a little jealous, and they are always chock-filled with uplifting quotes from other artists.
What I loved about this book in particular was how surprised I felt when I was finished reading it. I was energized about my art and felt like I had cheated since it was such a quick read. But just remember, when it comes to books, size doesn’t matter.
- Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money
By Ken HondaI could not pass this book up. When you combine two of my favorite subjects — happiness and money — and on top of it the author is described as “Japan’s Bestselling Millionaire,” in my mind, you have a winner. And this book did not disappoint.Honda’s premise is simple: How you spend your money can get you more happiness. For instance, he says spending money on experiences, like a ski trip to Colorado, is going to bring you more happiness than buying a new Lexus. He understands that we do need to make certain purchases to function in our everyday lives, but his point is that we should be aware that spending our money on experiences is where joy lives.
He also stresses that giving your money away in some instances can bring you more happiness than buying stuff for yourself. What I love is that he is not pulling this theory out of his ass (after all, he is Japan’s Best Selling Millionaire). He actually has data and research to back this up the points he makes in the book.