5 Best Summer Reads
Spring is here and, hopefully, we’ve all got some lovely plans for the summer. Maybe you’re looking into flights and flats as I write this! Summer, for me, means carving out time whenever possible to sit outside to read. I’m in the fortunate position of living in Berlin, a city that doesn’t believe in mowing grass religiously. So, you’ll find me hidden away in the long grass, fully immersed in the world of another (just as an aside: I love my e-reader for when I’m traveling but something about being out in nature literally, yes literally! leafing through the actual pages of a book, well, there’s no comparison).
If you were only interested in yoga books, I must disappoint you, however. I find it far more interesting to mix things up and let them cross-fertilize each other. But enough about that, before I go off on another whim about the ins and outs of yoga and the rest of the world! Without further ado, here come my favorite 5 reads for the season:
1. Pussy – A Reclamation by Mama Gena
This, ladies, was an act of the truest, most original liberation. Mama Gena talks about that super power all women have, the best kept secret, which, unleashed, shall make not just your world but our whole world come to its senses. Literally. In this book, Mama Gena, re-introduces us to, dare I say it, our pussies. By way of practical and daring exercises that are probably unlike any coaching session you’ve ever gone to, she helps us to reawaken our pussy power. You ‘ll take one, no countless, looks at your pussy. You’ll talk to her ( I like to tell her dirty jokes but whatever). You’ll let her know you appreciate her.
My favorite part? When she makes you say the word pussy out loud. No more “down there”, “private parts”, or pet names for our favorite playground! I felt giddy with excitement and gratitude the whole time I was reading it. Pass it on to your girlfriends, and, even more, those women in your life that may challenge you here and there. We need this.
2. You’re Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen
Right after finishing it, I bought this one for my mom and my best friend and told numerous other girlfriends about it. This book lovingly and intelligently describes those subtle and repetitive mother-daughter dynamics; why we fail to communicate the way we truly want to and how to better understand this woman who is so much part of us and our lives, whether we want it or not. Tannen doesn’t take sides and writes with the empathy of a woman who understands that striking the right balance between too much intimacy and too much distance is a lifelong practice.
My favorite part? The revelation that each woman, daughter and mother, wields limitless power over the other; mothers by giving out acceptance or not, daughters by distancing themselves when things are difficult. Buy it for mom too. I know it changed my relationships to my mom forever.
3. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
I don’t read a whole lot of fiction but this one jumped out at me. Maybe it was the Oprah’s book club stamp of approval but it was definitely worth it. Mbue tells an immigration story unlike many I have read. Without spoiling the ending, suffice it to say that there are “successful” immigration narratives, tragic ones and then there’s those that take a different turn altogether. This is one of those stories, told unapologetically, compassionately but without false sentimentality.
My favorite part? Set in New York during the 2008 financial crash, this novel offers a very real and heartbreaking account of what it must have been like to live through this scary time and tell the tale.
4. The Four by Scott Galloway
Ha, bet you didn’t see this one coming! Here I swerved into another interest of mine, the evils of the digital world! I have an iphone, a facebook account, I shop at Amazon and google is my first stop in all things search, so I’m not pointing any fingers whatsoever. What I love about Galloways’s book, however, is his well-researched predictions of where Amazon, Apple, Google and facebook are taking us. Turns out it reads like science fiction, except it’s not. From Amazon’s logistic ambitions to google’s snooping capabilities, it’s all in there and far more than you thought you knew after the facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
My favorite part? There’s no moralizing here, we’re online, we’re contributing to the whole monopolization of our consumerist choices but there are ways to stay conscious and informed and maybe not put ALL our valuable data in one basket.
5. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Now I know this is not a new one for many of you but I felt the list wouldn’t be complete without it, especially because this is a book I will return to over and over again. The author is both a Jungian psychologist and a Cantadora, a story teller. By breaking down fairy tales in a way I’ve never seen done before, she reveals to us the archetype of the “Wild Woman” dormant or wide-awake in all of us. By wild woman she does not mean, we all have to grow our hair long and scraggly and live in the woods but we definitely should unleash this creature in us and find ways for her to be allowed to exist in and guide our everyday life. Estés shows us how.
My favorite part? Estés’s deep insights into how vitally important it is not to ignore the wild woman in us and to stop sacrificing her at the altar of our responsibilities, relationships and distractions.
little disclaimer: I linked all the books to amazon for convenience (ah, yes, the modern devil) but I try to order from my local bookstore as much as possible!