To say I’m an avid reader is an understatement. I’ve got a pile of books on my nightstand waiting to be read, an Amazon book list about a mile long, and I am a frequent patron of my local public library. At any given time, I could be reading two or three books at once. My husband asks me regularly how much information I think I can cram into my brain. Apparently, I think a lot.
My interests vary. I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately. Did you have a chance to read any of my favorite fiction book recommendations? As much as I enjoy getting lost in fictional stories, I love stories about real people, particularly strong women overcoming incredible odds. Memoirs and biographies inspire me and help me to put things into perspective.
My bookshelves are also overflowing with books on health and wellness. Everything from yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, cookbooks, nutrition science, skincare, herbalism, fitness, new age, spirituality, and mysticism.
If you're looking for some books to read on your next vacation or trip to the beach, here’s my list of favorite memoirs and books on health and wellness:
Memoirs and Biographies That Inspire and Entertain
Liz Murray tells the harrowing story of her childhood growing up with drug-addicted parents, dropping out of school, and becoming homeless on the streets of New York City at the age of 15. Her journey from homelessness to Harvard is nothing short of miraculous. This book will break your heart and then lift you up. Have a box of tissues; you’re going to need it.
Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Cooper Anderson & Katherine Howe
If you like history and are fascinated by the rich and famous (Have you seen Succession?), you’re going to love this book. The book chronicles the Vanderbilts, an American dynasty synonymous with wealth and excess. Anderson Cooper, an American broadcaster and son of the famed Gloria Vanderbilt–yes, that Gloria Vanderbilt–does an incredible job outlining the history of his family. Starting with his great-great-great grandfather, American railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt (also known as “the Commodore”), all the way up to the present time, it’s a page-turner.
Just Kids by Patti Smith - My all-time favorite memoir. Period. You may best know Patti Smith for her seminal album Horses or the song “Because the Night” which she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen, but she’s also an accomplished painter, poet, and author.
Just Kids recounts Smith’s early years in New York City and her relationship with the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. She chronicles her life as the quintessential starving artist, working at a bookstore by day and creating art at night. The stories about living at the Chelsea Hotel with other fabled residents, including Janice Joplin and Sam Shepard, and hanging out at Max’s Kansas City transport you to the gritty, artsy NYC of the 60s and 70s. Patti Smith’s writing is poetic, and her stories will have you laughing and crying.
Health & Wellness Book Recommendations.
Combining Western medical science and holistic practices from Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Menopause Yoga is a comprehensive guide on menopause and women’s health. Whether you’re still menstruating, in perimenopause, or post-menopause, this book is a must-read for women who want to be proactive about their health.
In simple-to-understand terms, Coveney explains the physical, psychological, and emotional changes that occur during perimenopause, with tips for managing changes like hot flashes, anxiety, weight gain, joint pain, and brain fog, to name a few. She also debunks some of the myths and misconceptions about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and addresses the mindset to have a more positive perspective on this next phase of life. It’s an excellent resource for yoga teachers including yoga, breathwork, and meditation practices to share with students.
This beautifully photographed and illustrated book is filled with Ayurvedic beauty treatments, teas, and tonics that you can make in your own kitchen. It includes information on chakras, essential oils, yoga, and other mindfulness practices and ideas for making space for these practices and rituals in your daily life.
Not going to lie–this one may be a bit “woo-woo” for some folks. While I’m all about research and science-backed recommendations, I still think we could all use a little magic, ritual, and sacredness in our lives.
Cycles of Belonging: Honouring Ourselves Through the Sacred Cycles of Life by Stella Tomlinson
If you want to take a deep dive into living in rhythm with the cycles of nature, your body, and feminine spirituality, this is the book for you. I’ve been reading a lot of books on the divine feminine lately (which are not always an easy read), but I plowed through this book in a couple of days.
Written as a journey through six sacred temples of belonging, Stella Tomlinson explains the various cycles–breath, circadian, menstrual, lunar, solar, and life/goddess archetypes– and the gifts and challenges they present. Using storytelling, poetry, rituals, and journal prompts, this spiritual guide will help you become more in tune and understand the cycles happening in and around you.
That's it! I hope you find these recommendations helpful and enjoyable. What are you reading these days? Let me know!