Today is International’s Women’s Day and I want to share with you a personal list featuring inspiring authors who have helped me in my life in some capacity. I love reading books that share knowledge on living a fuller life, as well as inspirational true stories of journeys to distant lands and into spirit. So here is my top 5 list of inspiring, helpful, wonderful, magical books written by amazing women.
An amazing travel memoir of a young Jay Griffiths, as she travels around the globe staying with tribes people in all regions and experiencing life in all its different expressions. Jay Griffiths is an amazingly strong, poetic and powerful writer. The force of her emotions pound off the pages and her powerful prose left a real impact on me, and led me to seek real wildness in my own life.
Geneen Roth has worked and helped thousands of women with her poignant, deeply moving words in all her books, but I feel this one in particular is her strongest work. She has experienced all there is in having a tense and unbalanced relationship with food. Through her own journey she has managed to touch the soul roots of women’s relationship with eating and her words are the most accurate and moving in the field of disordered eating I have ever encountered.
A very practical guide to what the title says – eating less. Gillian Riley writes clearly, with no pretence, about what is really going on with addictive desire, and how “eat when you’re hungry” and “stop when you’re full” are completely misleading and unhelpful rules when being addressed to someone with a tumultuous and emotional relationship to food. I think her helpful guide to the mentality and physiological reasoning behind overeating can support many who are struggling with their eating habits. That said, I believe her book stands strongest when combined with the words of Geneen Roth. I’m also discovering her work being reflected in ‘The Willpower Instinct’ which I mention below, and adds a new layer onto her words. Still, a wonderful companion in times of distress.
J.K. Rowling – ‘Harry Potter’ (series).
I’m sure you know this author! Her world famous Harry Potter series has brought magic into lives all around the globe. Personally, and the reason she is on this list, is because she has allowed me to fall into a wonderful fantastical story that transports me to another world; I think that is a real power. A brilliant sense of humour bounces off the pages and a real flair for relationship dynamics and drama make hearts race on each turn of a page.
You might think this is a strange addition to the list, but bear with me. Farber and Mazlish are two brilliant women who have helped many a parent with their struggles with their children. What I love about their work (they’ve written many books on the subject) is the respectful and kind way they demonstrate that parents should talk to their children. I think we need to develop empathetic parenting as so many children are dismissed and pushed aside, whereas our next generation could really flourish if we only listened to them. I will also mention here – ‘Positive Discipline’ by Jane Nelsen, as I think her kind, affirmative yet assertive framework helps guide parents and people who work with children, and demonstrates that we can listen and be kindly firm at the same time. A strong balance to bring children up with, I believe.
Currently reading, and enjoying very much indeed is ‘The Willpower Instinct’ by Kelly McGonigal. She is a scientist from Stanford University, and has bought together science research and mindfulness to show us how to improve our willpower so we can lead the life we want. I feel that her work is very important and timely. Well researched and presented – and her talks are worth watching too.
A book I have yet to read, but am eagerly awaiting to, is Malala Yousafzai’s biography. Malala is a young Pakistani activist, who in 2012 on her school bus was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Since then she has not only recovered, but has stood up for women’s rights, and for education for girls around the world. She is a true force for women today.
I also enjoyed Cheryl Strayed – ‘Wild’. Yes, another wild book! Cheryl wrote about her 1,100 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail in Western USA, which she undertook after the death of her mother. It’s a very open and honest account about facing down the tough stuff in life, and what it takes to put one foot in front of the other.
So, let us enjoy the works, and words of inspirational women – and please, let us all support young girls to grow strong, proud and determined into this world. No more concentrating on how they look – but what they do, and what they are capable of.
Happy International Women’s Day!