Thanksgiving is more than a meal
This time of year, it is easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the impending holiday season. But November is also the month of thanksgiving: both a ritualized meal and the art of giving thanks. This month’s book recommendations focus on the simple and powerful practice of gratitude.
Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey by A.J. Jacobs follows the author as he characteristically jumps in head first to find and personally thank everyone involved in producing his morning cup of coffee. His journey takes him to mines, marketers and mindfulness as he discovers his “gratitude trail” and the personal and community-wide benefits of gratefulness.
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks is a set of four personal essays written months before the neurologist author died of metastasized eye cancer. In these essays, Sacks “movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death,” according to the Amazon book description.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown gives readers ten guideposts for living more wholeheartedly. Each guideline offers practical suggestions for changing your attitude and life. Brown suggests living a more authentic life with gratitude is akin to an act of resistance in our modern society.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan. Born from a self-promise on New Year’s Eve, Kaplan decides to look on the bright side for one year, no matter what happens. The result is this book, complete with humorous personal experiences and extensive research pointing to the power of gratitude and how it can “transform every aspect of life,” as stated the back blurb.
Gratitude Is My Superpower: A children’s book about Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity by Alicia Ortego. No one is too young to recognize and practice gratitude. Part of the “My Superpower” book series by Ortego, Gratitude helps children see and understand thankfulness in the simple things in their lives and that the power is already within them to make a positive difference.
Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer by Maya Angelou is a collection of poems by the famous poetess. This volume finds celebrations in everyday living, both in public and private.
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Carlton Abrams. These two world leaders spent a week together celebrating life and discussing how, despite their individual and shared oppression and suffering, they have found lasting happiness and joy. They agree on and good-naturedly argue the finer points of joy and ultimately provide the reader with eight pillars of joy and daily joy practices.
Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas is a memoir in essay format. Thomas illustrates how he found joy in everyday life, despite often feeling like an outsider. We may stumble and fall, but Thomas argues that “it’s always worth it to pick ourselves back up and move forward with joy and confidence,” states Penguin Random House.
By Celeste McNeil