My 6 Months in Books

I have officially been back in Canada for 6 months now. At this point, I suppose I could do a month by month breakdown to share the highlights of my time at home, but let’s be real, I’d rather be in Paris.

So, I’ve been spending my time doing what all normal, non-hockey playing Canadians do to pass the long winter months.

No, not that. (Canadian boys < European boys.)

I’ve been reading ALL OF THE BOOKS.

I read as much as I could while in London over the past couple years, (my work friends can attest to how often I ducked out of work to run the few streets over to the library) but when I am at home, I am turning over a book a day, sometimes two.

So here are just a few of my faves that have gotten me through the dark, cold Canadian winter…(and two of them are even by Canadians, so you know they’re smart and sexy and wise!)

October: Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton

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Photo via LoveWarriorBook.com

Okay. So I technically read this book in the days right before I came home, but it was definitely in October and it was definitely life changing. Glennon is all honesty and wounds and scary openness and while I feel like I am in the small percentile of people who didn’t really relate to her journey, there were still lots of lessons there.

I try to always write (and live) as honestly as possible and sometimes I struggle with how much to share. I want my blog to be my happy little place of positivity and sometimes the honest stuff just isn’t that happy. Glennon doesn’t care. She writes it all anyway. Her public writing journey started when she shared an awkwardly honest post on Facebook and it went viral. Boom. So she just kept going. And it worked. At least, from what I have read of hers, it’s worked in the way that the truth really can set you free. So whenever I find myself hesitating before I press that Publish button, I think of Love Warrior and Glennon and the cycle of honesty that she set forth.

November: Vagabonding, Rolf Potts

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Photo via Vagabonding.net

I barely remember November. Legit. But I do know that my heart was filled to the absolute brim with love for the people that I left behind in London. I don’t remember how I came across Vagabonding. These books just seem to find me sometimes. At first, thinking it was a boring typical travel book, I was hesitant to dive in, but it’s a travel book unlike any I’ve read. The author basically dispels all the travel myths that your parents gave you as a reason not to travel. Travel is a lifestyle, chumps. Get used to it. And then do absolutely everything you need to do to fund it, support it, invest in it and stick with it.

December: Trust, Iyanla Vanzant

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Photo via Iyanla.co

Iyanla is one of my female heroes much like Sister Oprah and Liz Gilbert. And hey, they all run in the same circle. The one I know I will be part of one day if I keep wishing on my birthday candles. Iyanla is another truth teller, much like Glennon and unfortunately, I relate a lot more to her journey. Childhood is rough, what can I say? But carrying all the burdens of other people around for years has a way of making you stronger than you ever thought possible.

Sometimes, though? We realize we’re grown ass women who have never learned how to trust a man, a friend, our peers and our own damn selves. Iyanla’s words pry my eyes wide open and force me to look. So I do. And I heal more with every word she writes.

January: The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte

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Photo via DanielleLaporte.com

I get super overwhelmed talking about the The Desire Map because there is so much to say and I want to say the all right words. Reading this book changed my thinking, which then changed my life.

I’ve always felt odd, left out, misunderstood. I like to think that’s because I’m just firm in my beliefs and values. And sometimes those values go against what is considered normal (fuck normal) and I am left looking like a weirdo who does everything backwards. The Desire Map is the ultimate permission slip to prioritize all those thoughts and beliefs that are most important to you. Being happy is important. Feeling free is important.

Danielle (we’re on a first name basis, she’s another one in my circle of female heroes) writes that we’ve been setting our goals the wrong way our whole lives, prioritizing, aiming, trying to get things, when really, those things we are trying to reach actually represent a feeling. Aim for that feeling. Put yourself in its way. Place yourselves in situations that create THAT outcome. I couldn’t agree more.

February: Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist

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Photo via ShaunaNiequist.com

I have so much faith and yet sometimes, signs just seem like the appropriate thing to believe in.

Present Over Perfect randomly entered my life when I was browsing one day. I had just taken my sister out for a birthday brunch where I hijacked the convo and forced her to dissect my brain. She did. She cracked my skull open and peered right in. Then she flopped down in our booth and asked if she could please talk about herself for a minute.

Big sisters > Little sisters.

I dragged her to a bookstore after brunch. I grabbed a random book off a shelf, opened to a middle page and read a passage that was not only clearly talking about my life, but was talking about the exact issues my sister had just spent an hour helping me with. How to be present, how to stop rushing, how to stop comparing yourself, how to put yourself first. Basically, it’s okay to care less about where you should be and more about where you want to be. Sold.

March: Start Right Where You Are, Sam Bennett

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Photo via StartRightWhereYouAre.com

The book is all short chapters with the best advice I’ve ever read. It’s direct and sharp, but comes from someone who sounds like they care about you. I can’t explain it more than that. Sam Bennett literally wants me to do well in my life. I just know it.

The author talks about art, money, success, goals, feelings, creativity, clutter, relationships, sex, business, family, and finding your tribe. She touches on what it’s like to be weird, why it’s cool to want to make money, and how important it is to just start. Reading this was like having my super best friend whisper in my ear, “You can do it, it’s okay, take a deep breath, just keep going.”

April: How To Be A Bawse, Lilly Singh

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Photo via LillySinghBook.com

I know next to nothing about YouTube, so I had no idea who Lilly was before I grabbed this book, but I happened to see a quick interview with her on tv and heard her say that you need to schedule inspiration. That is something I have set as a personal goal of mine these last few months, so again, I followed the sign and went out and grabbed the book that same day. (And it’s SO GOOD.)

I absolutely love books that are broken down in short chapters and that’s how this one was written. Each chapter is basically just solid advice from Lilly right to you about how to be your best, most confident, creative self. This girl, (I now know) is a wildly successful and super rich (like, really rich) YouTuber, author, actress, comedian and world changer who has struggled with depression. She’s lived it. She didn’t sit down to write a silly teenage advice book with a catchy title. She’s worked super hard, has found lots of success that has come directly from her hard work AND she values kindness as she works her way to the top of her own ladder. #NewGirlCrush

If you want to talk books or tell me what to read next, leave a comment, get at me on Twitter @BryttJF or email me at letterstorayelle@hotmail.com!

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link, which means if you purchase The Desire Map via my link, I will get a tiny commission! Thanks for supporting Letters To Rayelle!

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