1. "First, We Make the Beast Beautiful" by Sarah Wilson
"First, we make the beast beautiful" is a Chinese proverb that invites us to accept and embrace the parts of our lives that scare us. Just as the intelligence and grace of an octopus was once feared, the grip of mental disease can be a daunting beast. In this beautifully illustrated story, Sarah Wilson takes a refreshing perspective on anxiety, writing about her own experience using words of acceptance and transformation, rather than pain and submission.
2. "Lost in Translation" by Ella Frances Sanders
Ella Frances Sanders
In today's society, more than ever, opportunities for self-expression and creativity are abundant. Individuals have the ability to connect with others and with themselves, but technology has taken over as the primary form of communication. The art of language - the bridge between even the most diverse of people - is often ignored. In this book, Ella Frances Sanders gives life to words that cannot be translated into our language. "Lost in Translation" will lead you to discover outlets of expression you may have never before considered.
3. "Happiness is..." by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar
With all of the hate, pain, war, and sickness plaguing our world, it's hard to find a little bit of good. To combat overwhelming negativity, Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar teamed up to compile this list of 500 things to be happy about, ranging from ideas as complex as parenthood to simple pleasures like the cold side of a pillow. Even on the cloudiest of mornings, you can find a little bit of sunshine peeking through a page of this book.
4. "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur
In 2014, Indian immigrant Rupi Kaur quickly became a best-selling author after she self-published her first work, "Milk and Honey." The book, originally written as the author's private coping mechanism, is divided into four parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing. Each of these sections is filled with poetry and prose that spark distinct emotions with each turned page. The reader is invited to reflect on his/her own experiences as Kaur offers her heart in this stunningly unique story of survival.
5. "The Sun and Her Flowers" by Rupi Kaur
Years after Rupi Kaur exposed her scarred heart to the world through "Milk and Honey," she shared a more upbeat collection of work. "The Sun and Her Flowers" is based on the idea that people, like flowers, must
in order to bloom."
Incorporating historical, cultural, and personal anecdotes, Kaur expands her unique writing style to explore the ideas of love through family, friends, significant others, and most importantly, oneself.
6. "Full Catastrophe Living" by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
The brutal truth is that stress is everywhere. We can't escape stress; we must embrace our anxieties and relinquish fear as Sarah Wilson teaches in "First, We Make the Beast Beautiful." But it's not easy. How can we stay standing against the never-ending waves of illness, responsibility, and perceived failure? As a college student, I'm constantly surrounded by some of the most stressed-out people I have ever met. There's always a test, always an assignment, always that annoying thing called adulthood. And to make it even better, when everyone is stressed, everyone is sick. So, basically, everyone is always sick. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn explores this mind-body connection in "Full Catastrophe Living," outlining his own stress reduction program that aims to heal chronic pain and disease by naturally soothing the mind and spirit.
7. "Vertigo: of Love and Letting Go" by Analog de Leon
This modern epic poem has a very similar style to Rupi Kaur's two books. Analog de Leon, a moniker developed by Chris Purifoy, writes short but thought-provoking poems and prose to indulge the minds of many. It seems to me that this piece of literature truly exemplifies the commonly used expression, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Each page, no matter how few or many words it holds, hints at concepts deeper and more complex than many are comfortable exploring. If you are willing to think, it's worth it.
8. "101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think" by Brianna Wiest
We Heart It
Well, the title of this one pretty much speaks for itself. It's not lying, either. Of the 441 pages waiting to be read, I have only completed two. In one sitting, those two pages gave me the words I didn't realize I had been waiting to hear for a very, very long time. These words have spoken to me in a way that has allowed me to open my heart and engage in the most honest conversations I have had with myself and others. The way I think, feel, and share has truly been changed. In 101 uplifting essays, Brianna Weist motivates, teaches, empathizes, and guides in a way that feels like you're lying under the stars, talking about life with your best friend at 2 a.m.