All posts filed under: Nonfiction

eplmmdi

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It: Life Journeys Inspired by the Bestselling Memoir

“It was never really about eating pizza in Italy or meditating in India or falling in love in Bali. It wasn’t about travel or spirituality or divorce. No, Eat Pray Love was about what happens when one human being realizes that her life doesn’t have to look like this anymore…” Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It (Introduction) Ten years after its publication, Eat Pray Love remains one of the great sensations of the 21st century. Elizabeth Gilbert’s blockbuster memoir of feeding her life’s hunger and unraveling the complex distance between fear and soul is a book that captivated readers worldwide and inspired a legion of fans. Each of us who opened the book were invited to join Liz in her quest for fullness as she sought to better understand the rhythm of her own soul. We journeyed with her from a debilitating heartbreak to an overseas adventure that was filled with wit, sorrow, and compassion. In Italy, we found the pleasures of life – that perfect pizza that was worth a trip …

questionsaboutangels

Questions About Angels: Poems by Billy Collins

“This is the only life I have and I never step out of it except to follow a character down the alleys of a novel or when love makes me want to remove my clothes and sail classical records off a cliff.” from One Life to Live by Billy Collins (Questions About Angels) Billy Collins is a New York-born, California-educated poet, and his work combines the best of both coasts. Distinctly American in their narrative style, Collins’s poems evoke wit, wonder, and whimsy from the simplistic. In his way of lyrically illuminating the magical of the everyday, Collins teaches his reader how to reach back and grasp the open-hearted experience of youth, and how to search for it in small moments of our disillusioned grown-up lives. His fourth collection, Questions About Angels, was first published in 1991, and in the twenty-plus years since it first became available, the collection has lost neither its power of observation, its relevancy, nor its ability to charm a new generation. “It is raining so hard and the Jazz on …

tws

The Wander Society by Keri Smith (Giveaway)

“Society wants you to speed up, to produce, to seek material wealth. In a system that requires never-ending growth (at the cost of limited natural resources), to slow down seems anti-progress in nature. Who are you if you are not trying to ‘get somewhere’? Who are you if you are not actively working toward something? As a wanderer, you’re not subject to the narrative forced on you by society. You do not fall prey to trends that have nothing to do with your talents and desires. You do not strive to conform, but instead follow the life that springs from inside. You walk your own path. In this sense, you’re truly free.” from Keri Smith’s The Wander Society Walt Whitman wrote to “dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.” Henry David Thoreau wrote of his wish to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.” Such profound thinkers, whose ideas feel utterly radical …

loveletters

Edgar Allan Poe’s Love Letter to Sarah Helen Whitman

Despite a lasting reputation for both the dark and delusional, Edgar Allan Poe could – on occasion – handle love with a gentle touch. This is evidenced in a letter he wrote to his once-fiance, poet Sarah Helen Whitman. She was a Transcendentalist, he was a Romantic. They met first through their love of words, when she composed a Valentine for him on the occasion of a holiday party (which he didn’t attend). Upon hearing her poem, he replied with a poem of his own; thus began a correspondence that sparked a courtship. I have already told you that some few casual words spoken of you by — —, were the first in which I had ever heard your name mentioned. She alluded to what she called your “eccentricities,” and hinted at your sorrows. Her description of the former strangely arrested – her allusion to the latter enchained and riveted my attention. She had referred to thoughts, sentiments, traits, moods, which I knew to be my own, but which, until that moment, I had believed …

firstlight

Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings of Sue Monk Kidd

“The most significant gifts are often the ones most easily overlooked. Small everyday blessings: words, health, muse, laughter, memories, books, family, friends, second chances, warm fireplaces, and all the footprints scattered through our days.” Sue Monk Kidd, Firstlight Before becoming an international sensation and household name at the age of fifty-four with the publication of her first novel, Sue Monk Kidd was a writer of personal spiritual nonfiction. And earlier yet, writing was not her primary career at all. A longtime nurse, Kidd began her writing career by surprise when a piece she submitted to a contest was published by Guideposts, an interfaith publication founded in the 1940s. She went on to write for the magazine for twelve more years; thus began a superstar bestseller’s unexpected journey. From there, Kidd went on to write and publish an array of personal nonfiction, from pieces in magazines and eventually three memoirs on spirituality before she would ultimately publish The Secret Life of Bees. Her 2006 book Firstlight gathers together these early writings from her Guideposts years and …

takingtheleap

Drop the Storyline: Pema Chodron on Learning to Stay with Difficult Emotions

“Deep down in the human spirit there is a reservoir of courage. It’s always available, always waiting to be discovered.” So writes Pema Chodron in the epilogue of her book, Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, a collection of wisdom gained from her Buddhist teachers. It is, as Pema is known for producing, an attempt at honoring her beloved instructors, passing along their teachings as a means of healing a beautiful, broken world. Yet it becomes, as her work often does, a uniquely important rendering of timeless peace-based practices into a language the modern-day Westerner will be able to quickly understand. “We are all a mixture of aggression and loving-kindness, hard-heartedness and tender open-heartedness, small-mindedness and forgiving open mind. We are not a fixed, predictable, static identity that anyone can point to and say, ‘You are always like this. You are always the same.’ Life’s energy is never static. It is as shifting, fluid, changing as the weather. Sometimes we like how we’re feeling, sometimes we don’t. Then we like it …

cslewisandhiscircle

C.S. Lewis and His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society

“So I am finding him still at this stage, and I expect still to be finding him when I’m 80, as a welcome and at the same time endearingly infuriating interlocutor. I can never quite let him go…” Malcolm Guite, Yearning for a Far-Off Country (C.S. Lewis and His Circle) Although C.S. Lewis was the author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series, he was many other men besides. A professor, an intellectual, a theologian, a philosopher, a brother, a husband, and a Christian, Lewis contributed much to the world in varying ways throughout his life. Largely considered one of the most influential thinkers of modern Christianity, he brought his profound theological insights into his fiction writing; and likewise, the imagination that gave birth to the wonders of Narnia served as his greatest resource as a philosopher. To study Lewis, whether as an academic or a devoted reader, is to uncover a world of new ideas, much in the same way the Pevensie children discovered a new world at the other end of a magical …

bigmagic

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

“I believe that enjoying your work with all your heart is the only truly subversive position left to take as a creative person these days. It’s such a gangster move, because hardly anybody ever dares to speak of creative enjoyment aloud, for fear of not being taken seriously as an artist. So say it. Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.” – Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic) One of the things I find unique – and remarkable – about Elizabeth Gilbert is her natural storytelling ability, not just through her books and public appearances, but most intriguingly through her social media outlets (especially Facebook). In person, before a crowd, she has the preternatural gift of making each of her listeners feel distinctly welcome to the party, but for this inclusiveness, this sense of intimacy, to be transmitted through text to millions of people across the globe all at once is nothing short of magic. “You might spend your whole life following your curiosity and have absolutely nothing to show for it at the end – except …