Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Non-Fiction Inspiration

Turns out I've read a lot of non-fiction and memoirs in 2017.  Too many to bore you with in one post so I've rounded up a few that I will loosely categorize as inspirational.

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love 
by Katherine and Jay Wolf 
This book came highly recommended by a reader (and all around awesome person) I trust.  I ordered a copy over the summer but then shelved it because it sounded too darn depressing -- a young wife and mother suffers a horrible stroke.  I cracked the spine early this year since I promised myself I'd stretch more with my 2017 reading.  Katherine and Jay Wolf take turns telling the story of Katherine's stroke and the many months of therapy and healing.  I was so inspired by the way this devastating, almost-fatal stroke tested and strengthened their faith.  Who can argue with the power of hope?

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear 
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love.  Never read it and don't plan to.  Gilbert, whose Eat, Pray, Love was wildly successful, was writing (and publishing) for years before that book thrust her into the spotlight.  I bought Big Magic during an ebook sale and am VERY GLAD to have read it.  Gilbert's insights into the creative life are incredible.  She writes in a conversational but confident manner.  I'd have loved to have read this book when I was writing my dissertation as she has many wise things to say about how suffering and martyrdom don't have to be a part of the process.  I never own it and say:  I'm a writer.  Were I to own it, this book would be even more valuable as it captures what is magical about creativity in a very reasonable, accessible way.

Side note:  It is possible that some big magic is happening in my life as I look back at my 2017 reading and note that I've read several books about writing or writers.  Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic:  Creating Stories that Fly is a writer's guide for young people that includes exercises and prompts.  I'm not motivated to do them, but I can see classroom applications.  I read three memoirs by writers that included discussion of, surprise, writing itself:  Jessi Klein's You'll Grow Out of It (funny, insightful), Sarah Hepola's Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget (honest, sometimes dark, inspirational), and Lee Smith's Dimestore: A Writer's Life (honest, beautifully written, rooted in place/time).  We'll see where all this writerly inspiration leads.

Settle for More
by Megyn Kelly
I'm not much of a television news viewer but since I didn't live under a rock during 2016, I was aware of Trump's attacks on Kelly and thus curious about her.  I bought Settle for More during a post-holiday ebook sale.  I have to say that I was inspired by Kelly's incredible work ethic and her willingness to make major changes in her life.  She also had some things to say about vulnerability in friendship that I am still thinking about.

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