Category

Nonfiction

30-Day Challenge, Books, Nonfiction, Self Help and Improvement

3 Books To Change Your Life

3 Books to change your life/Bookended

3 Books to change your life: 3 books that can have a major impact on your life, improving your physical and mental health, and overall quality of life

Self help and self improvement are very broad topics because there are so many ways we can work on ourselves- learning new interpersonal or work skills, strengthening our mental health, managing stress, building resiliency, improving our outlook on life, building physical health and many more topics. While self help books can get a bad rap, I find them incredibly useful to help me learn new skills from teachers that resonate with me, and at my own pace.

The prompt for today’s 30-day book photography challenge is to share 3 all-time favorite self help and improvement books. Many of my recent posts (1, 2) are on books from the spirituality and self -help/self-improvement genre and this post shares 3 books that can change your life. These books have been exceedingly important in in my physical and mental health self-improvement journey.

How to change your life/Bookended

1. Change Your Schedule, Change Your Health by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar

Our state of wellness includes both our physical and mental well-being. In Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar’s Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life, the author shows us how our habits and daily schedule influence our physical and mental health, energy levels, and overall feeling of well-being. Drawing on the principles of Ayurveda, and with research from the emergent field of chronobiology, the book guides us on how to work with the body’s circadian rhythm to optimize health. Put simply, given our individual body type, how can we use the body’s daily, light-driven circadian rhythm to help plan the best times to eat, exercise, meditate and sleep? How can we optimize our habits and schedule to work for us rather than trapping us like a hamster on a wheel? Every page of this book is chockfull of helpful information to help us enjoy holistic health. This book has had a big impact on my life.

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle/ Bookended

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: You can read more about this book in this post.

3 Books to change your life/Bookended

3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené  Brown

I struggle with perfectionism (more on that here) and this book has repeatedly helped me trade my quest for perfection with authenticity. It was the first book that I read that talked about how our perfectionism sets us up to fail and how everyday we face the choice of embracing our imperfect, authentic, vulnerable selves.

Perhaps the most important lesson that I have learned from all these books is that self-improvement is not a one, two, or some multiple-time event but a lifelong series of choices we make and which, over time, add up to fantastic changes.

30-Day Challenge, Books, Nonfiction

Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie

Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life/Bookended

Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life

As 2020 grinds on, it has felt like a continual stripping away of the world as we knew it (I wrote more about it here) and one of the audiobooks that has really helped break through the repetitive patterns of disempowering thoughts is Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life.

Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life/Bookended

You may be familiar with Byron Katie’s The Work, a 4-step transformative process that allows us to turn stressful thoughts into those that empower us and to access our inner wisdom. I use it every time I find myself stuck with a thought that stresses me and I’ve found the questions of The Work an immensely valuable tool to break the cycle of negative thinking. Even more importantly, Byron Katie talks about Universal Beliefs that are the root of most stress related thoughts and it’s both an eye-opener and a reassurance that most of the time we are all thinking different versions of the same 30-40 hurtful thoughts. The Work has been helpful because if you do it (examine each stressful thought under the lens of the 4 questions) often enough you can nip a stressful thought in the bud saving yourself from needless thought-spiraling and anxiety.

The voice within is what I’m married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from. That’s my true partner. It’s always there. And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.”

– Byron Katie
Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life/Bookended
Day 13 of the 30-day book photography challenge (Similar but not the same)
30-Day Challenge, Books, Nonfiction

The Power Of Now, A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle/ Bookended
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle/ Bookended

The Power Of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Today’s prompt for the 30-day book photography challenge is to share the one book that you recommend to everyone. You should read this, you tell them, it’ll change the way you look at life. The one book that I recommend to everyone is The Power Of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. Books can do so much: they have the power to take us on an adventure, offer escape and respite from reality. They can also share lessons that help us navigate life’s triumphs and challenges and everything that falls in between. Sometimes, the wisdom they share is profound, distilled, clear, and accessible and Tolle’s books fall in this latter category. They equip us with a powerful tool: the realization that the present moment is all we ever have, the only moment that we ever need to engage with. I have read this book multiple times and listened to the audiobook at least twice. I think it’s fair to say that this is one of those books that everyone reads multiple times: you read it once and you think you understand it. Life goes on and then something happens. You pull out the book and suddenly, some lines are speaking directly to your experience. And on and on until this book takes permanent residence next to you.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension. Or perhaps your very success became empty and meaningless and so turned out to be a failure.” 

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

I’ve heard people say that spirituality and self help are book store aisles we stumble into when we realize that we are adults but we don’t have all the answers, that it’s only when we have questions that we look for solutions.

“Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time.” 

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind.”

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Looking for more spiritual book recommendations? Here is a post that lists my 5 favorite spirituality/self-help books. Have recommendations that you’d like to share? Please do so by leaving a Comment. Thanks for reading!

30-Day Challenge, Books, Cookbooks, Fiction, Nonfiction, The Book Life

Tsundoku

Tsundoku/ Bookended

Tsundoku is a Japanese word that describes the act of buying a lot of books, accumulating them, but not reading them. So, there you are, surrounded by piles of books you haven’t read and yet you can’t seem to stop buying them. This is me. I usually don’t buy new books but if I’m at a library sale or a used book sale, there is no stopping me. That means my home is filled with books that I plan on reading as soon as I have a little time but until then, they take up space everywhere.

Tsundoku/ Bookended

The prompt for Day 9 of the 30 day photography challenge is to photograph a book or books that you’ve always meant to read but haven’t gotten round to doing so. I’m a huge fan of Anthony Trollope and have read the first 4 novels of his series Chronicles Of Barsetshire. The Small House At Allington (pictured above) is the 5th in the series and one of these days, I’m going to read it. I’d planned to start it a few months ago but somehow I forgot all the details of the first 4 novels and decided I would re-read all four before reading Book 5 and that kinda got away from me. I also plan to read Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. I haven’t yet but it’s reassuring to know that the book is right here when I’m ready. Aspirational reading also falls under this category: the classics that everyone recommends, poetry especially Penguin Classics’ The Metaphysical Poets, the complete Shakespeare plays. The list goes on and on.

Tsundoku/ Bookended

Ask any book lover and they will tell you tsundoku isn’t a problem because being surrounded by books is as close to heaven as we can get on earth.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

– Jorge Luis Borges

Of course, it’s one thing if one person in the household practices tsundoku (unclear if this is the right way to use it in a sentence) but imagine if your partner or spouse was similarly inclined!

If you’d like to follow along with the 30 day photography challenge, details are here. Thanks for reading!

30-Day Challenge, Books, Cookbooks, Judge A Book By Its Cover, Nonfiction, The Book Life

Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books/ Bookended
Reading list/ Bookended.org
Above picture taken in happier times:2018

Coffee table books are apparently named because they are books that are kept on the living room coffee table and can help to inspire and promote conversation with/among guests. The theme for today’s (Day 8) book photography challenge is guilty pleasures. While these books may not necessarily qualify for the exact meaning of that phrase, nevertheless coffee table books are my guilty pleasure: I can never pass them by without wanting to bring them home with me. Of course, that’s true for many books that I see at a bookstore or a library book sale but I have a special weakness for coffee table books that focus on art, interiors, and textiles. One could argue that they are picture books for adults and serve as inspiration for colors, prints, and patterns, visual learning at its best, and not just as books to promote small talk with others! Cookbook/food-related books are another category that I love browsing, even though I’m not likely to try out any recipe (more on that here). Guilty (aspirational) pleasures indeed! In fact, one of the simple things I miss doing in 2020 is the ability to go into my local library (still closed except for curbside pick up), wander the aisles, and pick out a stash of coffee table books that I can browse on Saturday mornings with my tea and toast or any afternoon with tea and cake.

Coffee table books/ Bookended
Coffee table books/ Bookended
Coffee table books/ Bookended

Here’s my list of 5 much-loved interior design books:

1. Lisa Fine’s Near and Far, Interiors I love with photography by Miguel Flores Vianna

2. Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores Vianna

3. and 4. Kathryn Ireland’s Timeless Interiors and Creating A Home

5. The Maverick Soul by Miv Watts and Hugh Stewart

Coffee table books/ Bookended

For more interior design books, you may want to read this post.

My plan is to keep updating this post with my favorite picks for books in the cooking/baking/food genre (here’s a link to one that’s interesting), art, textiles and more. Thanks for reading!

(Update)

Coffee table books/ Bookended
30-Day Challenge, Books, Connect The Dots, Nonfiction

Top 5 Spirituality And Self Help Books

Spirituality and self help books/ Bookended
Spirituality and self help books/ Bookended
Day 7/ Book photography challenge: Favorite nonfiction

A list of my top 5 spirituality and self help books! When talking about nonfiction books (today’s book photography challenge is to photograph your favorite nonfiction, see picture above), I usually restrict myself to human psychology, spirituality, and to books in the self help genre. (I almost never read books on travel, biographies or politics and current affairs and I have accepted that I probably never will, and I’m okay with that.)

The student and the teacher/ Day 3/ Bookended

Here’s a list of my favorite/ top 5 spirituality and self help books that continue to bring me immense understanding of myself. With some of the books on this list I may not be sticking to the traditional definition of the genre but I’m sharing them because they helped me better understand the workings of my mind and were instrumental in changing the way I live. 1. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and 2. Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose. If you are reading this book, this podcast (Oprah and Eckhart Tolle) is a great accompaniment. I read the two books many years ago, thought I’d learned something about living in the present moment, went on with life, forgot about the books and then returned to them in 2018. This time around, they had a bigger, life-changing impact.

Spirituality and self help books/ Bookended

3. Byron Katie’s Your Inner Awakening (Audiobook) where Katie leads you through the 4 questions of the The Work. This simple yet immensely powerful technique of questioning your thoughts continues to change the way I live. (More on this book in this post.)

4. I’m a huge fan of mythology as it captures and portrays the themes we see playing out in the collective consciousness and so The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell is on my list. You may think you’re reading about heroes, large figures from myth, but inevitably you’ll see the parallels with your own life. Here you are thinking that this new thing is happening to me and then you read this book and you realize it has been happening to people all over the world for eons. It’s like discovering you’re part of a large, beautiful tapestry. Here’s the link to Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth, Campbell’s famous multi-episode TV conversation with Bill Moyers.

5. Meeting the Shadow, The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Nature by Connie Zweig: An impressive roster of writers, poets, psychologists and other experts write about Jung’s concept of the shadow.

Leave a comment to share your recommendations!

30-Day Challenge, A Writer's Journey, Books, Nonfiction, The Book Life

The Book Life, September Edition

The Age Of Kali/The Book Life, September Edition/ Bookended

Welcome to The Book Life, September Edition. It’s 106 degrees today here in my corner of California and the searing, dry heat has sent most people inside. We were already spending more time inside as we sheltered from the pandemic but now, we are forced to stay indoors even more. Pandemics, lightning complexes that triggered wildfires in all parts of the state and intense heat waves have all become our new normal. The entire area was blanketed in dense smoke and there has been loss of lives, injuries, damage to property, and evacuations. Anyone here can tell you that it could’ve been worse but for the tireless work of everyone involved: firefighters, doctors, nurses, emergency technicians in the health care field, emergency crew working to restore power and countless others. There was a children’s book that I read to my kids with the title It could’ve been worse. I remember thinking that the book title sounded pessimistic, a kind of expecting the worst, but after reading it, I realized that it’s about gratitude because as 2020 has shown us, things can always get worse. So, taking time here to express gratitude for everyone and doing what I can, as a volunteer, to help.

The Age Of Kali/The Book Life, September Edition/ Bookended

The theme for Day 6 of the 30-day book photography challenge was “book bokeh.” You probably already know what the bokeh effect in a photograph is but in case you don’t or want more detail, here is a link to an article that describes what it is. You can see my contributions (above, below) to the book with bokeh effect photography challenge. The books is William Dalrymple’s The Age Of Kali, Indian Travels and Encounters that I’ve just started reading.

The Age Of Kali/The Book Life, September Edition/ Bookended
The Age Of Kali/The Book Life, September Edition/ Bookended

In the light of all these events, my writing has slowed as has my reading because both require more bandwidth than I can currently expend. But they haven’t stopped. I hope you are doing well.

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