If there was a word we could pick for 2020, it would be resilience. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to adjust, to innovate, to create, to pause. Our resilience in the face of a global crisis is evident, and it is a beautiful thing to witness. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to find inspiration or motivation. There is no doubt that this is hard, which is why we’ve put together a list of ten books that will inspire you. Regardless of age, genre, or interest, this list has a book for you!
1. The Gifts of Imperfection
We couldn’t write a list of motivational books without including resident Houstonian and leadership extraordinaire Brené Brown, but we specifically chose one of her earlier books, The Gifts of Imperfection, for its skew towards the inspirational. This book will help you overcome fears and self-consciousness by exploring ten guideposts for authenticity that focus on letting go of perfectionist ideals.
2. Healing Art: Don’t Let Anything Ruin Your Day
When Robert Flatt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he refused to let the news alter his belief that life is good. Healing Art showcases Flatt’s inspirational personal story, and his empowering reflections urge readers to be open to the presence of joy, even in the face of challenges (like a global pandemic!). Flatt’s book is available on our website, and all profits from its sale go directly to Houston Area Parkinson’s Society (HAPS).
3. I Love You All the Time
I Love You All the Time is a children’s book written by Jessica Elin Hirschman and Jennifer Elin Cole and illustrated by Bonnie Bright. In the book, a bear cub’s parents assure him that their love for him will never end, no matter where they are, how busy they are, or whatever else life has to throw at them. Even though this book is for children, the message of unconditional love is one we could all use right now while we are separated from our friends and loved ones.
4. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story
The mind is our most powerful tool, but it can also be a powerful hindrance if it is crippled by stress and anxiety. In 10% Happier, high-powered reporter and news anchor Dan Harris writes about his journey into meditation and how the practice has helped him handle his high-stress work environment. The book has turned into a movement, and their website even has a “Coronavirus Sanity” tab right now that features free meditations, podcasts, and blog posts about handling the pandemic.
5. You Are an Artist
Sarah Urist Green’s You Are an Artist takes the spot for the newest book on our list--it only came out a few short weeks ago! Whether it’s by appreciating it or creating it, art is inspirational. This book contains over fifty prompts and assignments to spark your creativity, to help you on your artists’ journey, and to foster personal growth. You Are an Artist will help you get inspired and get to creating!
6. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. These are the four agreements which author Don Miguel Ruiz’s book sets up as the foundation for a life that will bring you true happiness and love. The Four Agreements posits that these pillars will free you from self-limitation and unnecessary suffering, and it will inspire you to live to the fullest.
7. Advantages of Being Evergreen
Oliver Baez Bendorf’s Advantages of Being Evergreen was not only voted the Best Poetry Book of 2019 by both Electric Literature and Entropy, but it’s also incredibly inspiring! This poetry collection takes the reader through the creation of self love and explores the way humans will always emerge from struggle, framed by his personal trans experience. Not to mention, “evergreen” reminds us an awful lot of “resilience!”
Another one from the Night Heron collection! Giving is a children's book by Muhammad Sadiq that teaches kids--and adults--of all ages about what it truly means to appreciate all of the things, both big and small, that we have in this world, and how to give back in turn. The beautiful illustrations alone will have you inspired to get creative in how you approach the rest of the world.
9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a warm, feel-good young adult novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The book is a coming-of-age story that follows its two main characters (yes, their names really are Aristotle and Dante) as they grow up and learn how to navigate friendship, love, and identity. It’s a quick read that will leave you feeling uplifted and positive about the future.
10. Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults
The subtitle for this book is “Tales to Soothe Tired Souls,” and we think that’s perfect! Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults was lovingly curated by Lucy Mangan to be a perfect composition of works that will soothe and inspire the reader. In this high-impact, high-stress time, we think that the classic stories, poems, and snippets in this book will remind you of the little things that bring joy in everyday life.
If you have read one or more of these books, let us know the impact they’ve had on you in the comments or on social media! If you’re looking to get inspired, Giving and Healing Art are both available for purchase on our Bookstore page!
The resilience of Texans inspires us every single day, and we hope that these books will inspire you!