Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of self development books, showcasing how you can improve your health, quality of life, and more with these great reads. What are they? Let’s dive in and take a look!
5. Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb
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Mental health is hard to stay on top of these days. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. Gottlieb is a famous psychotherapist who one day has a complete mental breakdown and has to seek the help of another therapist, a quirky but helpful man named Wendell. As she struggles to understand her own life and those of her patients, she seeks Wendell’s aid behind the scenes of her own life, overcoming her inner struggles with warm, wit, and humor. This is a feel-good book that showcases the important of speaking to someone and showcasing how burying your mental troubles does nothing to help you.
4. Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry
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Lessons From Lucyby Dave Barry showcases how to deal with the lessons of old age as Dave Barry deals with depression in old age by turning to his dog, Lucy, for help in living his best life. He learns lessons from her simplistic worldview to inform his own, such as “Making New Friends”, “Don’t Stop Having Fun”, and more. Dave makes his POV world very relatable, informative, and hilarious as he navigates the obstacles before him, always with his faithful companion by his side, with lessons to take for your own life.
3. Next Level Basic by Stassi Schroeder
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Next Level Basicis the perfect self-help book for millennials, helping to define yourself as the person you are rather than someone who has to defend their own choices of style or interests. Publicly love yourself for the basic things you cherish, such as lattes, pugs, millennial style of clothes, hot dogs, and chick flicks. Embrace your basic side and don’t let anyone tell you you have to be something you’re not. Be basic and be proud!
2. Finding quiet: The story of overcoming anxiety and the practices that brought peace by J.P. MOreland
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Anxiety is a common problem plaguing us nowadays. This work tackles the difficult subject head on and centers around author J.P. Moreland. A prominent author, professor, and philosopher, he awoke one night to a severe panic attack. For more than decade, Moreland struggled with mental illness, battling panic attacks and depression throughout his life. Now, he’s managed to deal with his mental troubles and wants to help those who suffer from similar mental problems, calling upon his own methods that help calm himself to showcase to the reading audience. Sometimes brutally honest but always nurturing and helpful, this book offers solutions to managing mental illness and shows anyone suffering from it they aren’t alone.
1. Everything is F*cked: A book about hope by Mark Manson
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Hope is hard to find in today’s times. Everything seems to be falling apart, with the government failing, the planet’s changing climate, and the economy seems on the verge of collapse. Everyone is more connected than ever but we simply can’t get over the perpetual idea that society is failing. Everything seems doomed. Author Mark Manson tries to offer a guiding hand, defining our relationship to technology, our own flaws, and finding hope it what seems to be a dark world. Mixing his well educated, well researched erudite manner of speech with often blunt and crazy humor, Manson defies us to find hope in our time and challenges us to make changes to make us happier, even if it’s very hard. This is a blunt exploration of the world today and allows us to find happiness even with the craziness of modern life.
It’s easy to forget that time isn’t running out. It’s passing, obviously, but that really isn’t the same thing. There’s a long list of things we collectively think time is running out to accomplish—love, success, meaning. This month, we’ve selected five books to remind you that you’re fully capable of challenging yourself in ways you have never been challenged (That’s the good kind of challenge, by the way. The personal development kind. It’s not the kind of challenge where you try and see how much frozen pizza you can eat without literally dying, which is to say, more than would be helpful. Spoken from experience.) Whether their dream was professional, personal, or more abstract (think ‘to touch the lives of others’), these authors will remind you that happiness doesn’t come with a time limit.
Here are five new and upcoming releases to remind you that it’s not too late (yes, not even now).
From an Olympic medalist runner and the record-holder in the women’s marathon and half-marathon, a vividly inspirational memoir on using positive psychology and brain science to achieve unparalleled athletic success
The day Deena Kastor became a truly elite runner was the day she realized that she had to ignore her talent–it had taken her so far, but only conquering the mental piece could unlock higher levels of achievement. In Let Your Mind Run, the vaunted Olympic medalist and marathon and half-marathon record holder, will reveal how she incorporated the benefits of positive psychology into her already-dedicated running practice, setting her on a course to conquer women’s distance running. Blending both narrative running insights and deep-dive brain science, this book will appeal to and motivate steadfast athletes, determined runners, and tough-as-nails coaches, and beyond.
This memoir, written by perhaps the most famous American woman active in the competitive world of distance running, will appeal to the pragmatic athletic population, and jointly to fans of engaging sports narratives, inspirational memoirs, and uplifiting biographies.
For fans of Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, this is the extraordinary debut memoir of a young woman who traveled to Mongolia to compete in the world’s longest, toughest horse race, and emerged as its youngest and first-ever female winner.
At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”—an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.
Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that recreates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families.
Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their Jeeps.
Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.
Acclaimed essayist and bookseller Mary Laura Philpott presents a charmingly relatable and wise memoir-in-essays about what happened after she checked off all the boxes on her successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to reinvent the list—and herself.
Mary Laura Philpott thought she’d cracked the code: Always be right, and you’ll always be happy.
But once she’d completed her life’s to-do list (job, spouse, house, babies—check!), she found that instead of feeling content and successful, she felt anxious. Lost. Stuck in a daily grind of overflowing calendars, grueling small talk, and sprawling traffic. She’d done everything “right,” but she felt all wrong. What’s the worse failure, she wondered: smiling and staying the course, or blowing it all up and running away? And are those the only options?
In this memoir-in-essays full of spot-on observations about home, work, and creative life, Philpott takes on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood with wit and heart. She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife; reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary; and advises that if you’re going to faint, you should get low to the ground first. Most of all, Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down and set off on a transcontinental hike (unless you want to, of course). You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you’re not, and where you belong. Who among us isn’t trying to do that?
Like a pep talk from a sister, I Miss You When I Blink is the funny, poignant, and deeply affecting book you’ll want to share with all your friends, as you learn what Philpott has figured out along the way: that multiple things can be true of us at once—and that sometimes doing things wrong is the way to do life right.
Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the risk (and the job) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?
This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media–the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.
Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams–even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.
A moving, lyrical, beautifully-written portrait of a nurse and the lives she has touched.
Christie Watson spent twenty years as a nurse, and in this intimate, poignant, and remarkably powerful book, she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. She takes us by her side down hospital corridors to visit the wards and meet her unforgettable patients.
In the neonatal unit, premature babies fight for their lives, hovering at the very edge of survival, like tiny Emmanuel, wrapped up in a sandwich bag. On the cancer wards, the nurses administer chemotherapy and, long after the medicine stops working, something more important–which Watson learns to recognize when her own father is dying of cancer. In the pediatric intensive care unit, the nurses wash the hair of a little girl to remove the smell of smoke from the house fire. The emergency room is overcrowded as ever, with waves of alcohol and drug addicted patients as well as patients like Betty, a widow suffering chest pain, frail and alone. And the stories of the geriatric ward–Gladys and older patients like her–show the plight of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Through the smallest of actions, nurses provide vital care and kindness. All of us will experience illness in our lifetime, and we will all depend on the support and dignity that nurses offer us; yet the women and men who form the vanguard of our health care remain unsung. In this age of fear, hate, and division, Christie Watson has written a book that reminds us of all that we share, and of the urgency of compassion.