Writers just might be the biggest readers. If you're like me, you're always looking to learn something from what we read. A few books I've read lately that I can heartily recommend:
The Self-Compassion Diet by Jean Fain. It's a book about how treating yourself more kindly can lead to a healthy weight. "Dieters are hard on themselves and steep themselves in self-criticism all day long." Sound like another category of folks you know? Sure reminded me of writers. Fittingly, the tone of the book is kind, and quite a joy to read with helpful, easy tips that anyone can follow. What it taught me: Treating ourselves "like a friend or a loved one, with care and concern," as Fain puts it in this book trailer, might lead to all kinds of good things...including good writing.
Gathering of Waters by Bernice McFadden. A novel about the town of Money, Mississippi where Emmit Till was murdered. It's lyrical, historical magic realism. Reviewing for NPR, Alan Cheuses said, "Read it aloud. Hire a chorus to chant it to you and anyone else interested in hearing about civil rights and uncivil desires, about the dark heat of hate, about the force of forgiveness." What it taught me: Don't be afraid to try something new. A book narrated by a town!
Speaking of lyrical, I love We The Animals by Justin Torres. This is a book that reads like a prose poem. In spare, delicious language it tells the story of three brothers growing up with very young parents. As one of three children (two brothers) with very young parents, there was much I related to here. However, as I writer and a reader, I would have enjoyed this book even if the subject matter wasn't something I could relate to. NPR story here. What it taught me: Sometimes, less is more.
Finally, I just added If I Could by Donna Hill to my reading list and mention it here since most of the Girlfriends Book Club are women's fiction writers. I love a good story of transformation and can't wait to read this novel about a woman "who boldly, blindly, dares to trade a lifestyle for a life...certain of just one thing: from here on in, she'll live—and love—on her terms." And isn't the cover lovely?