City of Girls
by Elizabeth Gilbert
 - Alluring, fun, and a celebration of independent, interesting, and charismatic women of all kinds, I loved feeling as though I was tagging along and learning about life (its ups and downs) on New York City adventures with wonderfully-written characters full of heart, laughter, gumption, and, ultimately, strength.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - This goes against my most-of-the-time policy of allowing only books/movies/shows that are "light and bright" into my "realm," but despite its heart-breaking unfolding, there is also so much beauty and deeply compelling insight in this memoir that I'll not soon forget.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer - I consider myself a feminist, but today that moniker means so many different things to so many different people. This coming-of-age story explores this idea, sharing the lives of its characters in unexpected ways and with varying consequences. Thoughtful, interesting, and maybe even a little hopeful.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - This one has been sitting on my list for some time, as friends continued to recommend it, and I'd hear the buzz (especially after the Pulitzer Prize win) but somehow it never made it to the top for check-out...until I longed for a good, long audiobook to enjoy during my crazy holiday season in the studio. A World War II story (yet so much more) told from perspectives I didn't anticipate: a young, blind French girl escaping Paris with her father during the Occupation and a young German boy who finds himself in France at the same time - and how their paths ultimately cross. (And a jewel is involved, so extra points, right?)

Hope for Today by Al-Anon Family Groups - Maybe not for everybody, but something I read on the daily before or after I meditate, this collection (with one reading for each day of the year) offers me perspective, options, a moment of calm, and helpful observations that allow me to enjoy my day more fully, with more serenity, and even a bit more kindness than I might otherwise.

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock - I flagged this one on Instagram or Pinterest at some point and felt called to find it in my local library just a few weeks ago. Though I'm only halfway through, I'm astounded by the beauty this woman created with a pair of scissors and some paper - in the 1700s, no less - but also by the wonderful fullness of her life and the fact that she was in her 70s when she began this wonderfully creative pursuit. I've been working with cut paper for a few months now, and finding some fun parallels in my life, as did the author as she researched and wrote this book. Perhaps you will, too?



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