A great book takes us on a voyage of discovery, fueling us with the author’s creativity, knowledge, and heart. If you’ve been craving an absorbing read that will bring you joy (and maybe a few tears), you can’t do better than the five inspirational books below. These selections will remind you of the power of education, aspiration, bravery, ambition, a good laugh, and some soul searching. Oh, yes, and they’re all written by amazing women.
“You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it an education.”
If you pick up this riveting memoir, don’t be surprised if you can’t put it down. Educated begins in the mountains of rural Idaho, where Westover is the youngest of seven children in a survivalist Mormon family. She doesn’t go to school, or see a doctor when ill. She’s taught to live in fear of the federal government. But Westover’s curious mind and quest for knowledge lead her to a destiny far beyond her “shabby yellow house” at the base of a mountain. She goes on to realize academic achievement that many only aspire to—and discovers how the power of education can transform not only her life but her very selfhood.
“Aspiration, not necessarily achievement, is what shows us the heart and mind of a person, and it can touch and move those who have the power to change things.”
This collection of interviews gathers the insights of 40 powerful women, including Christiane Amanpour, Maya Angelou, and Isabel Allende, just to name a few. Sallis asks her interviewees 10 questions, learning their greatest fears, their advice for younger generations, and the women they most admire. The result is a fascinating gathering of ideas centered around the belief that we all have the ability to achieve our greatest ambitions and change the world for the better.
“The braver we are, the luckier we get.”
When Doyle’s mother remarks one day that she has “not seen my daughter this alive since she was 10 years old,” Doyle begins to ask herself, where did my spark go all these years? If you’ve ever found yourself wondering the same thing, or can’t put a finger on why your life hasn’t turned out as “beautiful” as you once imagined, this memoir will hit home—and hard. The author’s journey to finding herself again will make you laugh, cry, and, perhaps most of all, think about who you are and who you want to be—and what to do if those two versions don’t quite match.
“And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”
If you’ve seen Kaling as Kelly Kapoor on The Office, or as Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project, you know she’s hilarious on television. But she’s also a talented writer, having penned two best-selling memoirs (including this one), as well as being a recipient of numerous writing awards and nominations for her work on The Office. In Why Not Me? Kaling is at her best: down-to-earth, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny. She lets us in on what life is like when you’re “a little bit famous” (people sometimes send her stuff), her process for writing a show starring (who else?) herself, and where she gets her confidence (hint: it involves a lot of hard work). You’ll be able to finish this book in a day, but you’re sure to be a Kaling fan for a lifetime.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
This memoir by the former First Lady has been described as intimate, powerful, and inspiring. And we enthusiastically agree. Obama separates her life into three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More. It takes us from her childhood spent on the South Side of Chicago to the eight years her family lived in the White House, with many challenges, successes, and surprises along the way. Her story is not always pretty or perfect, but it’s real—which is why so many readers have found this book and this woman so compelling.
The Power of Reading
If you’ve been feeling stressed while coping with the pandemic this year—and who hasn’t?—reading may help you set it aside. In addition to being a pure pleasure, reading has many practical benefits, including reducing stress, improving memory, and increasing your sense of tranquility. So, why not settle in to your favorite reading nook and let these inspirational authors lift your spirits?