These all stir the soul, challenge the mind and inspire the heart in drastically different ways. Read ’em.
Woolgathering, Patti Smith
A collection of memories and truths spun into moving essays by the incomparable Patti Smith. I’m a fan of everything she does—her music, her poetry, her books. I chose this book because life is messy and strange and beautiful and nobody captures that reality quite like Patti Smith.
“The mind of a child is like a kiss on the forehead—open and disinterested. It turns as the ballerina turns, atop a party cake with frosted tiers, poisonous and sweet.”
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
The story of Victor Frankenstein, “a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.” I chose this book because the older I get and the more life I live, the louder the deep themes in this book become. Plus, the way this book even came into existence (if you don’t know, look it up) makes me want to throw my digital devices and distractions out the window and get on that level.
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lour: but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before.”
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, Sari Botton
This book is collection of essays by women inspired by what’s largely considered to be the gold standard of personal essays—Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That.” I chose this book because of the hilarious, heartbreaking, fascinating, sordid stories inside as told by the women who lived them. As a writer who has also loved and left New York, this book makes me feel…everything.
“What I’m getting at is this: I didn’t feel safe around myself in New York. I never knew what I was going to do.”Chloe Caldwell in Leaving My Groovy Lifestyle
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), Elaine Welteroth
In sharing her own compelling story through life, love, and her career, Elaine inspires and encourages women as only she can. I’ve been a big fan of Elaine since her early Condé Nast days and really admire where Teen Vogue went under her editorial direction when she ultimately became Editor in Chief. Her words, her experiences, and her point of view as a Black woman that she brings to this book is an absolute must-read for *all* women. (And for women who work in media, it will resonate on an even deeper level.) This book is a gift.
“When the world tells you to shrink, expand.”
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
A WWII novel that weaves two separate lives and stories together in the most magical, heart-wrenching way. I chose this book not only because of the painfully beautiful story and important history lesson, but because Doerr’s writing is just unmatched. This book won countless awards and deserves them all—the writing stays with you long after you put the book down.
“All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”