This book club is all about reading books that inspire us, help us grow as people, and create a positive impact on the way we live our lives. We meet once every 5-6 weeks and have brunch somewhere in LA. It's very relaxed and everyone is welcome, even if you only made it through the first five pages. If you don't live in LA or can't make it, feel free to read along, watch the video reviews, or contribute to the discussion online.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.
We will meet June 15th, 11am at my home. Email me if you'd like to join!
Educated by Tara Westover
This book was jaw-dropping. We all could not believe the life this woman has led growing up in a Mormon survivalist home with a father who has a severe mental illness. It's hard to imagine this is a modern memoir, but Westover leads us honestly through her journey of escaping a household where she wasn't allowed to go to school, didn't have a license or birth certificate, and couldn't go to a doctor. We all found her descriptions of what it's like to be in abusive relationships or families incredibly moving. She never glosses over the challenges, the fear, and loneliness, and you're cheering her on through everything that comes her way.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
We loved this book... although, we agreed reading it is better than listening to it. Michelle Obama is an incredible person who has done so much in her life outside of being the first lady. She describes everything from her childhood to their last day in the white house with honesty and openness that you don't often get from people in politics. She is funny, committed to helping the country, sincere, and it's a quick read because of that. It's also a really nice way to learn about some of the ins and outs of life in the white house.
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This was our first novel and collectively we loved it! Some of us had a hard time dropping into the timeline, as the story is told in a non-linear way, but the story was incredible and the way it was told was fascinating after you got used to the shifting time. We found this to be a heartening, beautiful book about people trying to survive in a war that neither of them fully understands. It demonstrated not only how many people get swept up in the tragedy of war, but also how good we can be to each other despite our differences. We highly recommend it!
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
This book was a quick and easy read and you'll either love the light-hearted and funny tone or wish it was a little more in-depth. She has a lot of great ideas and ways that she describes things, although if you have read previous books on this list, none of it will be very new. A great introduction to how to take action to create a life that inspires you though.
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
Read everything this woman has written, but especially this book. If you are looking to find peace, inspiration, and courage in the trying times we are living in, read this book. It's short, easy to read, and one I'll be turning back to over and over again for inspiration.
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
This is a must read for those of you into spirituality and mastering the noise in your mind. Singer describes what happens in our minds beautifully and gives great advice on how to quiet ourselves so that we can really understand what is happening in our hearts and minds.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
A classic book in the field of spirituality and consciousness. Tolle is an amazing writer and thinker and has a wonderful way of explaining very profound concepts. It is a little more dense than some of the other books we have read, but very powerful and the group really enjoyed the book.
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
This is a wonderful book about how we get in the way of our own happiness without even realizing it. It has some wonderful insights and questions to ask yourself about what makes you happiest and how you can move towards that in your daily life.
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This book is an incredible book about the portrayal of women in folk tails and throughout our storytelling history. There are so many beautiful discoveries to be made about the way women think and feel based on the stories we are told across cultures. It's a bit dense and a little tough to get into, but once you get into it, you will find it fascinating.
The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
I cannot say enough about the joy we found reading this incredible book. Not only is the content rich with inspiration but the friendship of these two men is beautiful to read about. It truly makes you feel that we can all come together and overcome any obstacle in front of us on our path to joy.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben
This is the one book so far that people did not really enjoy. We found Gretchen to be fairly hard to connect to. She did a fantastic job researching what makes us all happy, but she seems fairly unhappy the whole time she's writing about it. Many people did not finish this book and this is the only one I would say pass on.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
This book is a magical as everything you've heard about it. There's a reason that millions of people are in love with it. The story is compelling, the message is inspiring, it's a short easy read, and we all adored it. This is one you could read 100 times.