Livingston Loves Lit: Books to Guide you in the New Year

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So, it’s just about the end of January and that means either your resolutions are a distant memory or you are still in the honeymoon phase of your resolve. Or maybe you’ve lost sight of your goals and are looking for some inspiration and motivation. When that happens to me, I turn to books. I have some standbys that I go to as needed and some new ones that I have yet to crack open but the potential is there. You know, the potential to be The One that changes everything for me. The One that fills that missing piece of the puzzle or unlocks that rusted shut part of me that is holding me back. It’s like we always think that this next diet will be The One. Well,  I’m like that with books. And usually they are The One, for a while anyway.

For writing, I have several books that I turn to again and again, depending what I am looking for. For a kick in the pants I read “Ron Carlson Writes a Story.” He walks us through his process of writing one particular story. His work ethic is so motivating. To get back to the basics, the building blocks of writing I turn to Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” It was the book that started me on this writing path and it’s reassuring to go back to that beginner’s mindChanges can be made at any time of year, so if you are looking for some structure and guidance I recommend “This Year I will…” by M.J. Ryan. She breaks things down and makes change seem possible. I also like “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach which is more about accepting ourselves now instead of waiting for whatever future change we think will make all the difference.

Some other books I am looking forward to reading (and implementing!) this year are:

“Practical Genius- The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working for You” by Gina Amaro Rudan

“The Fire Starter Sessions- A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms” by Danielle LaPorte

“Every Monday Matters- 52 Ways to Make a Difference” by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza

“The Prosperous Heart- Creating a Life of ‘Enough’” by Julia Cameron

How about you? Are there books you turn to again and again to help guide you through particular obstacles you encounter in your life? Is there a book that never fails to lift your spirits or give you a new perspective?  Please leave the titles in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.


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  1. Maureen, I love Brene Brown. Have you seen any of her videos? She’s given Ted Talks. So engaging and down-to-earth. I haven’t read that particular Beck book but I have a couple others by her and I do read her monthly column. Love item #4!

  2. I’m currently reading M.J. Ryan’s book for the first time, and I can imagine coming back to it for rereading in the future. “Gifts of Imperfection” by Breen Brown, which I’m also currently reading, may be along the lines of “Radical Acceptance.” Have you read “The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life” by Martha Beck (author of “Finding Your Own North Star,” among a number of other books and columnist for “O, the Oprah Magazine)? Menu Item #4: Creativity — “Every day,conceptualize and write down at least one new,concrete idea that will help you obtain something your heart desires.” Not a bad practice!

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