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Live Well: 13 books that could help change your outlook on life

November 7, 2017 Updated: November 7, 2017 at 10:38 am
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photo - "Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Courtesy.
"Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Courtesy. 

Some books nourish your heart, mind and soul, and they seem to find you right when you need them most.

Between the thin pages rest ideas, affirmations, information and new ways to view yourself and the people around you, and I can't get enough.

Here are a few of my favorites, which have helped mold me into who I am today, a wiser (fingers crossed) version of what came before. I'd love to hear what books have been most meaningful to you: jen.mulson@gazette.com.

- "Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés: I'll always remember this book practically falling off a bookshelf and into my hands at a used bookstore in Taos, N.M. Estés spins folklore, fairy tales and dream symbols into jumping-off points for contemporary women to channel their wild woman archetype.

- "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron: I've done this 12-week creativity program once and plan to do it again. It left me with a few tools I still use, including morning pages and artist dates. I recommend it for everybody, not only those with "official" artistic paths.

- "The Alchemist" and "Veronika Decides to Die" by Paulo Coelho: These are my two favorite Coelho books so far. "The Alchemist" is the story of a shepherd boy who roams the world learning to listen to his heart and follow his true path. "Veronika" is a 24-year-old woman who lands in a mental institution after a suicide attempt. It might not sound promising, but the story and Coelho's wisdom went on to lift my spirits.

- "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert: Gilbert was a woman after my own heart with similar struggles. She helped me feel not so alone.

- "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed: Also the author of the memoir "Wild," Strayed wrote the advice column "Dear Sugar" for The Rumpus, an online literary magazine. The letters from scared, lost question askers and Strayed's magically wrought mama bear advice never failed to bust my heart wide open.

- "When Things Fall Apart" and "The Places That Scare You" by Pema Chödrön: Chödrön is a Buddhist nun with the most soothing voice and funny little chuckle. She's written multiple books that help us love, accept and manage our inherent frailties.

- "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz: This tidy book lodged two helpful ideas into my bones: Don't take anything personally, and never make assumptions.

- "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg: I love this book so much I carry a pocket version with me. Her short essays on the writing life never fail to get my creative juices flowing.

- "Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown: Brown is crazy trendy right now, and for good reason. She wants to transform being vulnerable into a strength in our culture, rather than being seen as a weakness.

- "Expecting Adam" and "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck: Beck makes me feel as if we're old friends having a chat over a cup of tea. "Expecting Adam" is the life-affirming story of the birth of her son Adam, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb. "The Joy Diet" is simply that - easy ways to build more light and life into your days.

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