The 5 Books That Make My Heart Beat

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I seem to always be the point person for book recommendations in my friend circle. Whether it’s friends wanting to know what I thought of my latest read, or family looking for an easy book to pick up on their next flight. I love giving recommendations because I LOVE getting them. There’s nothing quite like reading a review of a book, falling in love at first sight, and then heading out right away to buy it. In fact, that happened to me today; more to come, but I picked up Riverine by Angela Palm and I am stoked. The 5 books on this list are both books that have made my heart surge and made me flip  backwards to delay the ending and books that I’ve turned to time and time again for advice, friends, or to simply quote. These are all books that have changed me in some way and I hope they do the same for you.

1. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
If you’re my friend and/or follow me on social media, you know I constantly rant and rave about this gem. Cheryl Strayed’s book of letters is one to turn to throughout any beautiful, messy, and/or ugly part of life. Her advice column, written under the guise of ‘Sugar’ began on The Rumpus a few years ago. The letters are pulled together beautifully in this book, one that you’ll cherish for years to come. If you’re more of a quote person, she just came out with a short book of her best lines all of which I adore, but TBF is a book I highly recommend for the advice guru, the dreamer, the unemployed, the questioning and everyone else.

One of my favorite lines is: “I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

2. Bluets by Maggie Nelson
I first was introduced to this book during a writing course at Columbia University. I remember sitting on my bed reading each vignette aloud to myself, completely overwhelmed by their beauty. I’ve since read this book a few more times and each time I enjoy it more. Her use of language and imagery will make you both swoony and teary. I promise lots of highlights, margin notes, and sharing with friends. This is for the writer, the lover, and all the other ones, especially those really feeling their feels and leaving heartbreak on the page.

One of my favorite lines from her is: “199. For to wish to forget how much you loved someone—and then, to actually forget—can feel, at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short of grace, to make a habitat of your heart.”

3. Women by Chloe Caldwell
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Chloe and let me just say she is a pure delight. Her writing will have you yelling, “yes,” at a very loud level. When I first read Women I couldn’t believe how accurate it felt. It soon became my teacher and frequent friend. I have a problem hanging onto a copy of her book for very long since I have a strong desire to thrust it into everyone’s hands. This is for those unsure about sex and love, very sure about sex and love, and anyone who has been in some sort of lust, so that is to say everyone.

4. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Although this book just came out, it quickly became one of my favorites. If you haven’t picked it up do so now. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the writing is exquisite. It is one of my favorite stories of the year, perhaps the last few years. I would recommend this for anyone looking to be whisked away by time and place, anyone who lives for a good one-liner, and anyone who wants to learn how to WRITE. The material is all in this gem.

One of my favorite lines is: “Sometimes the glory was in rebuilding the broken thing, not the result but the process of trying.”

5. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Oprah says read it and so do I. Like please drop everything to do so right away. This is the book for absolutely everyone and anytime in your life. This book is so important right now. Please do yourself a favor and go pick it up. And listen to her interview with my favorite HOME ladies.

One of my favorite quotes is: “We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love.”

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