Recommendations by Karen C

As the old year dies and a new year peaks over the horizon, we tend to look with hope for positive change in the world. Many of us look forward to a fresh new start and the opportunity to make changes on a much more personal level, setting lofty goals and making earnest New Year’s resolutions to become better people. Others find ourselves so busy at the end of December that we may as well resolve to think up a good New Year’s resolution by the end of January. I admit, I tend to be one of the latter folk – and by the time January ends, I’m resolving to think of something to give up for Lent instead of making a belated New Year’s resolution!

I thought I would try to make a SMART New Year’s resolution this year – that is, one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Rather than set myself up for failure, I will resolve to find a new book in the Library collection (Achievable) over the winter holidays (Timely) and read it from beginning to end (Measurable). This carefully selected book (Specific) will provide me with tools to make positive change in my life over the entire year to come (Realistic). Here are some of the contenders I’ve found on our New Books shelves so far – which one would you choose?

Beginners by Tom Vanderbilt book jacket coverBeginners : The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning by Tom Vanderbilt

From the publisher:  Inspired by his young daughter's insatiable need to know how to do almost everything and stymied by his own rut of mid-career competence, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five main skills (and picks up a few more along the way), choosing them for their difficulty to master and their distinct lack of career marketability. Along the way, he interviews dozens of experts to explore the fascinating psychology and science behind the benefits of becoming an adult beginner. Weaving comprehensive research and surprising insight gained from his year of learning dangerously, Vanderbilt shows how anyone can begin again - and, more important, why they should take those first awkward steps. Ultimately, he shares how a refreshed sense of curiosity opened him up to a profound happiness and a deeper connection to the people around him - and how small acts of reinvention, at any age, can make life seem magical.

Swagger by Leslie Ehm book jacket coverSwagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want by Leslie Ehm

From the publisher:  Award-winning training guru and coach Leslie Ehm shows that true swagger results from your ability to manifest who you really are and hold on to it in the face of all the psychological crap that will come for it every day. Part guidebook, part manifesto, a little sweary and completely inspiring, Swagger gives you the steps to unlock and unleash your personal brand of swagger - one that can never be duplicated or diminished.

Limitless by Jim Kwik book jacket coverLimitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life by Jim Kwik

From the publisher:  You have no limitations. In spite of what others have told you, your potential is infinite - when you know how to use your brain. For over 25 years, renowned brain coach Jim Kwik has worked closely with top actors, athletes, CEOs, and super-achievers in all walks of life to unlock their true capabilities. In this ground-breaking book, he reveals the science-based practices and field-tested techniques that the world's top performers use to accelerate their learning and create world-class results.

Welcome Home by Najwa Zebian book jacket coverWelcome Home: A Guide to Building a Home for Your Soul by Najwa Zebian

From the publisher:  Poet Najwa Zebian shares her revolutionary concept of home - the place of safety where you can embrace your vulnerability and discover your self-worth. It's the place where your soul feels like it belongs, where you are loved for who you are. Building your home inside yourself begins here. The powerful metaphor of home provides a structure for personal transformation as Zebian shows you how to construct the following rooms: Self-Love, Forgiveness, Compassion, Clarity, Surrender, and The Dream Garden. With practical tools and prompts for self-understanding, she shows you how to build each room in your house, which will form a firm basis for your self-worth, sense of belonging, and happiness.

Love People, Use Things book jacket coverLove People, Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

From the Publisher:  Imagine a life with less:  less stuff, less clutter, less stress and debt and discontent - a life with fewer distractions. Now, imagine a life with more:  more time, more meaningful relationships, more growth and contribution and contentment - a life of passion, unencumbered by the trappings of the chaotic world around you. What you're imagining is an intentional life. And to get there, you'll have to let go of some clutter that's in the way.

Attainable Sustainable by Kris Bordessa book jacket coverAttainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living by Kris Bordessa

From the Publisher:  Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life, from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies. Sustainability-guru Kris Bordessa offers DIY lovers an indispensable home reference for sustainability in the 21st century with tried-and-true advice, 50 enticing recipes, and step-by-step directions for creating easy, cost-efficient projects that will bring out your inner pioneer.

Trusting the Gold by Tara BrachTrusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness by Tara Brach

From the Publisher:  In Trusting the Gold, Tara draws from more than four decades of experience as a meditation teacher and psychologist to share her most valuable practices for reconnecting with the beauty of our humanity, from timeless Buddhist wisdom to techniques adapted to the specific challenges of our modern age. "Even in the midst of our deepest emotional suffering, self-compassion is the pathway that will carry us home," Dr. Brach writes. "What a joy to pause and behold our basic goodness, and to see how it shines through each of us. Seeing that secret beauty, we fall in love with all of life."

Stay Woke by Justin Michael Williams book jacket coverStay Woke : A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us by Justin Michael Williams

From the Publisher:  CONFESSION: This is not really a meditation book. Yes, you're going to learn everything you need to know about meditation, but if you came looking for a typical guide to mindfulness, you're in the wrong place. We are modern people in a high-tech world. We have first world problems and long to-do lists. And if you grew up in struggle - overcoming homophobia, sexism, trauma, shame, depression, poverty, toxic masculinity, racism, or social injustice - you need a different type of meditation ... one that doesn't pretend that struggle doesn't exist.

Yeah, No, Not Happening by Karen Karbo book jacket coverYeah, No, Not Happening : How I Found Happiness Swearing Off Self-Improvement and Saying F*ck It All - and How You Can Too by Karen Karbo

From the Publisher:  Why are we so obsessed with being our so-called best selves? Because our modern culture force feeds women lies designed to heighten their insecurities:  "You can do it all - crush it at work, at home, in the bedroom, at PTA and at Pilates - and because you can, you should. We can show you how!" Karen Karbo has had enough. She's taking a stand against the cultural and societal pressures, marketing, and media influences that push us to spend endless time, energy and money trying to "fix" ourselves - a race that has no finish line and only further increases our sense of dissatisfaction and self-loathing. "Yeah, no, not happening," is Karen Karbo’s battle cry as she asks women to start embracing their awesomely imperfect selves. There is no one more dangerous than a woman who doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. Yeah, No, Not Happening is a call to arms, building a posse of dangerous women who swear off self-improvement and its peddlers. A welcome corrective to our inner-critic, Karbo's manifesto will help women restore their sanity and reclaim their self-worth.

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