By Rebecca Colbert
Head of Collection and Bibliographic Services @ The Library District
Find Your Inspiration at the Library
The New Year is a time of optimism and renewal when we feel that anything is possible! Much of what I share in this column includes people, places and things that inspire me and bring me joy, so let me help you find your inspiration this season. Whether you are looking to take something on, let something go, or learn something new, you can find it at your neighborhood library.
Inspire Your Body
Tired of hearing “join a gym” every January? Why not choose your own path to fitness? “Triathlon for the Every Woman” by Meredith Atwood will show you how one woman aimed higher and tackled something that seemed insurmountable, deciding out of nowhere to become a triathlete. You will be inspired by her journey, but no need to become a world-class athlete yourself. Just find your happy place, whether it’s walking your dog or enjoying some peaceful, downloadable yoga DVDs. I like all 13 episodes of "Happy Yoga" with Sarah Starr, or for something more intense, try Jillian Michaels’ "Ten Minute Body Transformation" series. She ALWAYS inspires! If you’re up for moving to the music, join me for the Windmill Library Zumba dance fitness class, scheduled every second and fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. There are tons of fun activities to discover at the library on our website at LVCCLD.org/events/.
Changing habits is hard, but changing behavior to get healthy and perhaps save my life? That’s a motivator for me. Well-respected Doctor Dean Ornish makes it easier than you think in “UnDo It! How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases.” He will guide you through scientifically based recommendations to help you improve your physical and mental health.
Inspire Your Soul
“G’Morning, G’Night! Little Pep Talks for Me and You” by Lin-Manuel Miranda began as his charming Twitter feed and grew to a book, illustrated by artist Jonny Sun. Let me share a sample of his tone to give you an idea of how he so delightfully and honestly makes lemonade out of lemons: “Good morning! Good morning! Let’s make some new mistakes! Let’s find the things worth saving in the mess our living makes! … Good night! Good night! Let’s make some new mistakes! Let’s stumble toward success and pack some snacks for little breaks!” The tone is always positive, and the voice is unmistakably, wonderfully Lin-Manuel. Whether you’re already a fan (most notably of his Tony Award-winning play “Hamilton”) or are just discovering his groundbreaking work as an artist, you will want to keep this gem on your nightstand throughout the year.
I also highly recommend “You Deserve the Truth: Change the Stories that Shaped Your World and Build a World-Changing Life” by Erica Williams Simon. Part memoir, part self-help, this book shows you how to change your internal narratives around fear, work, money, identity, success, faith, and love. Erica is keenly aware of how over-exposure to social media and being tethered to our devices can take over our lives. She helps us to reassert control over the stories that we tell ourselves. You deserve to be inspired by her!
Inspire Your Hands
Got projects waiting to be tackled? “The Ultimate Tool Book: Every Tool You Need to Own Plus DIY Projects You Can Do” is brought to us by the helpful editors of Popular Mechanics magazine. This book not only addressed the jaw-dropping wonder of my five-year-old son, who marveled at the aisles of Home Depot (“What does that do? Why would I need it?”), it actually inspired me to understand and use these tools. Pretty nifty. I can now build a patio and rewire a light switch, which I find tremendously satisfying.
My grandma’s old-fashioned pressure cooker has been reborn as the Instant Pot, and suddenly it’s everyone’s favorite kitchen appliance. But did you know that it does more than produce a delicious one-pot roast dinner? “Instant Pot Crafts and Projects: Lip Balm, Tie Dye, Candles and Dozens of Other Amazing Pressure Cooker Ideas” by David Murphy includes recipes for fabric dye, cough syrup, soaps, and lotions galore. You will feel good, look good, and finish up in time to cook a tantalizing meal!
Inspire Your Palate
Which brings me to a topic that I never tire of exploring—food. I am a sucker for a great cookbook and even more so when it maps out an entire year of goodness for me to try! “The Modern Cook’s Year: Over 250 Vibrant Vegetable Recipes to See You Through the Seasons” by Anna Jones presents more than 250 vegetarian recipes, making the most of seasonal produce by using simple, hugely inventive flavors and ingredients. For a tantalizing taste, the year begins with maple porridge and apple butter; spring brings chickpea soup with salted lemons, and rhubarb and rose geranium frozen yogurt; summer is savory with smoked aubergine flatbreads and a tart with delish beetroot tops; you’ll “fall” for orzo with tomatoes and feta, and honey, lemon and coriander seed cake; and the year wraps up with sea salted chocolate and lemon mousse. The best part is, you don’t have to plan. Just crack open the book and dive in.
For simple, straightforward meals that appeal to everyone, try Ree Drummond’s latest, “Pioneer Woman Cooks The New Frontier: 112 Fantastic Favorites for Everyday Eating.” In fact, you can’t go wrong with any of her Pioneer Woman cookbooks. Ree plays with flavors, makes messes, makes mistakes, and still churns out yummy recipes with recognizable ingredients. Her smashed potatoes and buffalo chicken sliders are two of my family’s perennial favorites.
Throughout the year, I make a list of memoirs that sound amazing. As soon as those chilly winter evenings and weekends roll around, I transfer that list over to my “reserved bookshelf ” on our website at LVCCLD.org (all you need is a library card!). Then I curl up with a hot beverage and immerse myself in stories of fascinating, inspiring people. With the #MeToo era here, at last, I recommend Chanel Miller’s “Know My Name,” a powerful tale of surviving sexual assault. A good friend has also urged me to read Tara Westover’s story of overcoming a different set of odds, growing up homeschooled and way off the grid in “Educated: A Memoir.”
Looking for a laugh? Veteran Army Ranger Mat Best’s hilarious “Thank You for My Service” offers tales of his time in and out of the armed forces. And for dog devotees, follow mystery writer and animal lover David Rosenfelt on his heart-warming journey across America in “Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers and 3 RVs in our Canine Cross-Country Adventure.”
Not sure how to find time for all of this inspiration? Pick up Marie Forleo’s “Everything is Figureoutable.” One reviewer called it “a dazzling manifesto on self-belief and self-empowerment." Marie will train your brain to think more creatively and positively, dream big, and back it up with daily actions that create results.
Where Do I Find Them?
Your Inspiration Awaits!