Books to Watch | December 21, 2021
December 21, 2021
We are in the homestretch of our awards season, so our Staff Picks and Books to Watch feature will be on a sort of hiatus while we buckle down on our deliberations. We are still picking the books we are most excited about for our Books to Watch each week, but we will be using the publisher’s jacket copy instead of writing our own words about the books.
This week, our choices are:
Life, Part Two: Seven Keys to Awakening with Purpose and Joy as You Age by David Chernikoff, Shambhala (DJJS)
A guide to seven essential elements that will illuminate your path to spiritual realization and wise elderhood.
What Carl Jung called “the second half of life” has the potential to be a remarkable curriculum for insight and awakening. When wisely understood, the changes inherent in the aging process become stepping-stones to the actualization of our best human qualities: wisdom, lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
Author David Chernikoff has spent decades pursuing spiritual study and practice with remarkable teachers, including Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Father Thomas Keating, and Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. In Life, Part Two, he distills lessons from across contemplative traditions to invite readers to embrace seven essential elements of conscious living: embracing the mystery, choosing a vision, cultivating intuitive wisdom, committing to inner work, suffering effectively, serving from the heart, and celebrating the journey. These elements culminate in wise elderhood—a state celebrated by indigenous cultures around the world, yet largely unacknowledged in contemporary Western society. For those of us who aspire to live fully and to love well as we age, Life, Part Two is a lucid guidebook that empowers us to personally thrive and to contribute with ever greater clarity and purpose.
The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again by Catherine Price, The Dial Press (GMC)
We think of fun as a self-indulgent luxury. But far from being frivolous, fun is critical for our well-being.
If you’re not having fun, you’re not fully living.
The Power of Fun shows why fun matters—and how to have more of it.
Journalist and screen/life balance expert Catherine Price argues persuasively that our always-on, tech-addicted lifestyles have led us to obsess over intangible concepts such as happiness while obscuring the fact that real happiness lies in the everyday experience of fun. We often think of fun as indulgent, even immature and selfish. We claim to not have time for it, even as we find hours a day for what Price calls Fake Fun—bingeing on television, doomscrolling the news, or posting photos to social media, all in hopes of filling some of the emptiness we feel inside.
In this follow-up to her hit book, How to Break Up with Your Phone, Price makes the case that True Fun—which she defines as the magical confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow—gives us the fulfillment we so desperately seek. If you use True Fun as your compass, you will be happier and healthier. You will be more productive, less resentful, and less stressed. You will have more energy. You will find community and a sense of purpose. You will stop languishing and start flourishing. And best of all? You’ll enjoy the process.
Weaving together scientific research with personal experience, Price explains the surprising mental, physical, and cognitive benefits of fun, and offers a practical, personalized plan for how we can achieve better screen/life balance and attract more True Fun into our daily lives—without feeling overwhelmed.
Groundbreaking, eye-opening, and packed with useful advice, The Power of Fun won’t just change the way you think about fun. It will bring you back to life.
Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different by Lisa Selin Davis, Hachette Go (GMC)
Based on the author’s viral New York Times op-ed, this heartfelt book is a celebration and exploration of the tomboy phenomenon and the future of girlhood.
We are in the middle of a cultural revolution, where the spectrum of gender and sexual identities is seemingly unlimited. So when author and journalist Lisa Selin Davis's six-year-old daughter first called herself a "tomboy," Davis was hesitant. Her child favored sweatpants and T-shirts over anything pink or princess-themed, just like the sporty, skinned-kneed girls Davis had played with as a kid. But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word—why use a word with "boy" in it for such girls at all?
So was it outdated? In an era where some are throwing elaborate gender reveal parties and others are embracing they/them pronouns, Davis set out to answer that question, and to find out where tomboys fit into our changing understandings of gender.
In Tomboy, Davis explores the evolution of tomboyism from a Victorian ideal to a twentyfirst century fashion statement, honoring the girls and women—and those who identify otherwise—who stomp all over archaic gender norms. She highlights the forces that have shifted what we think of as masculine and feminine, delving into everything from clothing to psychology, history to neuroscience, and the connection between tomboyism, gender identity, and sexuality. Above all else, Davis's comprehensive deep-dive inspires us to better appreciate those who defy traditional gender boundaries, and the incredible people they become.
Whether you're a grown-up tomboy or raising a gender-rebel of your own, Tomboy is the perfect companion for navigating our cultural shift. It is a celebration of both diversity and those who dare to be different, ultimately revealing how gender nonconformity is a gift.
Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You by Terri Trespicio, Atria Books (EPP)
A hilarious and honest not-quite-self-help book in the vein of Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies and I Used to Have a Plan.
Every person on the planet wants their life tomean something. The problem is that you’ve been told there’s only one way to find that meaning.
In Unfollow Your Passion, Terri Trespicio—whose TEDx talk has more than six million views—questions everything you think you need: passion (fun, but fleeting), plans (flimsy at best), and a bucket list (eye roll), to name a few.
Instead, she shows you how (and why) to flip society, culture, and the #patriarchy the bird so you can live life on your terms. Trespicio effortlessly guides you through her method of unhooking yourself from other people’s agendas, boning up on the skills to move you forward, and exploring your own creativity, memory, and intuition to unlock your unique path to meaning—while also confronting the challenges that stop you in your tracks, like boredom, loss, and fear.
Trespicio delivers a personal growth book unlike any other with insights that are “wildly funny and infinitely compelling,” (Farnoosh Torabi, host of the So Money podcast). Fans of Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and Luvvie Ajayi Jones’s Professional Troublemaker will love this fresh and fearless take on what it means to unfollow the rules you were given.