back to school book list

I was a teacher for a long time so the back-to-school rhythms of August and September always have a strong and familiar sense of getting back to it…whatever ‘it’ might be for you.

I’ve always been something of a bookworm. My favorite job as a teenager – and maybe of all time – was working in the stacks of the public library in the town where I grew up.

So, here are some of my most beloved books and go-to favorites. Wonder if we have any in common!

When I Need a Little Spark of Inspiration: In need of a practical pick-me-up? My go-to is You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s on of my heroes and I have plenty of her books, but this is one I come back to often. She’s typically pragmatic in her writing, but just beneath that reasonable veneer is something that always gets me thinking about how to do better, be better, and live better. Never fails!

When the World Feels Dark: I keep two books handy for those days when it seems like the world is hurting and there’s little reason for hope. It’s those moments when Walking with the Wind by John Lewis and All We Can Save edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson become a lifeline. Each in their own way serve as reminders of the good and potential in the world, despite what current circumstances might lead you to believe. And, we could all use a little more hope…and “good trouble.”

When I’m Focused on Self-Improvement: Getting lost in busy just about ensures that meaningful progress is going to get shelved. Which is why, every so often, I go back to The Twelve Monotasks by Thatcher Wine. Being present is vital to learning and growing. This book is a gentle reminder of all the ways in which you can show up more fully in your life and with those you love.

When It’s Time to Get Down to It: When it comes to working through roadblocks and making progress, I come back to two books over and over again: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The former helps me remember why and how the habits I have came to be and how I can improve upon them. And the latter offers a no-nonsense system for making that happen. Love them both!

When Fun is the Order of the Day: Anything related to The Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk. I never laugh so hard and so often than I do when I’m reading the Heart & Brain comics and the antics of the characters he has created out of the organs of the human body. It’s so spot on that you can’t help but grin and giggle which is exactly the point!

When I Want to Hibernate: When it’s a grilled cheese, tomato soup, and warm blanket sort of day to hermit away in my own little corner of the world, I default to poetry. The Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, anything by Mary Oliver, and Evolution of a Girl by L.E. Bowman are the treasured friends on my bookshelf. They seem to speak right to my soul.

My bookshelf is a living creature and books come and go. These are a handful of the stalwart titles that feel like old friends.

What ‘friends’ are on your shelf?