Category: Books Worth Reading



The books we read reflect who we are and what’s important to us. They also represent the cutting edge of who we hope to become.


table top books
FINDING HOPE, A Book of Quotes and Inspiration has been reported to have a permanent place on many nightstands. ūüôā

This morning as I write, I have beside me an end table. It’s¬†a “modern” 50’s piece my mother purchased for her home back in the day. Without drawers or frills, it’s a style that has come full circle, and¬†still not my idea of beautiful. I ¬†love it because my mother loved it. When I touch it, or polish it, or glance at it, I feel her presence with me.

All scuffed and marred from years of traveling hither and yon, and too many moments of neglect, I toy with the idea of refinishing it. For now, it has a different purpose. It shelves my wish to read or re-read books and the working copies of my own creative endeavors. I keep them close by, like the table, to remind me of what I love and what I yearn toward. This 16″ x 24″ x 36″ space symbolizes¬†the growing edge of me, my intentions and the mystery yet to unfold.


A stack of books on the bottom shelf contain a few my favorites and¬†a few more I want to finish. ¬†On the bottom of the pile is a recent edition of American Poet, a wonderful journal of poetry I receive as a member of the Academy of American Poets.¬† I love poetry, though¬†I don’t¬†spend¬†near enough time¬†writing and reading it.

‚ÄúA poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Robert Frost

Next are a couple of old standbys and a few new ones:

Stack of booksSIMPLE ABUNDANCE, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,¬†by Sarah Ban Breathnach – Is it ever possible to get too much of this gem?¬†If you don’t have a copy, get one. The next thing you know you’ll be buying one for a friend.

DEFY GRAVITY, Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason by Caroline Myss РA synthesis the writers lifetime of work and writing as a medical intuitive, Myss shows how she sees healing, not just a physical process, but as one that requires transcending reason. She believes, in fact, that healing is a mystical phenomenon.

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP – I am forever hopeful. It is¬†a great book and has helped me pare down and simplify my life, even if it’s still a work in progress!

MY LIFE STORY SO FAR, A journal of personal history, unforgettable people, and the details — big or small — that have shaped my life. My sweet, sweet, daughter-in-law gave me this journal for Christmas this year. She knows me already. I most definitely did not lose a son. I gained a daughter, something I always wanted.

WRITING CREATIVELY & WRITING UP A STORM (Two versions of the same book) by Celia Leaman, a writing instructor become friend. This gem is packed full of need-to-know information on the practical matters of writing. Her British wit and humor turns some very dull topics into a delightful read.  I turn to her books whenever I want to work on my craft.

LEARNING TO WALK IN THE DARK by Barbara Brown Taylor¬†– ¬†Taylor’s book is the next book I intend to read as¬†part of my daily reflective reading (Lectio Divina*) practice. I will say more about it after I’ve read it!


Two¬†books on top of my armchair¬†table, books my mother never had the opportunity to read. Mine. She knew I wanted to write, and saved everything I ever wrote to her, but it wasn’t until her last days that I found the courage to go beyond the random poem or journal entry.¬†The first piece published was about my family’s struggle to manage her care. I didn’t share it with her because I didn’t want her to know our difficulties.

She would be proud of my meager attempts. She always saw the best in me, though she couldn’t begin to understand my struggles. I believe, however, that her ability to see the best in everyone provided the cornerstone of hope in my own life.

My books are still a work in progress. I see their flaws and find it difficult to set them free. I understand this is a writer’s affliction. I’m most content with Finding Hope, though I still want to re-write the first few essays. As for Midlife Pathways? I want to trash it and start over. I keep it in view to keep me honest and I make notes in it from time to time.

The question remains: WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR  END TABLE? What do they say about the cutting edge of who you are and what you yearn toward?

(Look closely at the stack of books in the picture and you will see a¬†bookmark in each. A gift from a friend, I received these bookmarks in a freshly printed copy of her new book Note to Self, A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.¬†¬†Laurie Buchanan’s book is¬†a great read! You also owe it to yourself to pay a visit to her website and read¬†her blog. Tuesdays with Laurie. Each Tuesday, without fail, she gives her readers something to think about.

*”Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, that means “divine or sacred reading”. A traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer. It the broadest sense, it is a practice of reflective reading whereby one reads inspirational literature¬†with an open mind , heart¬†and spirit with the intention¬†to listen, hear and experience a closer connection with Spirit.¬†



Audubon Socity

As part of The Women of Wisdom Series‚ĄĘ, I am introducing¬†three¬†memoirs, each¬†addressing the issue of abuse. Though the stories are different, the message is in many ways the same. ¬†Each memoir sheds light on¬†the impact of abuse on us¬†and provides¬†lessons in¬†survival. The women describe their journeys from a place of¬†strength and courage,¬†characteristics they undoubtedly honed through their difficulties.

These women are people just like you and I and what I love about memoirs. Thanks to modern technology, and the increase of Indy Publishing, we are able to see into the lives of everyday people ¬†It’s so exciting ¬†that women are stepping up, one by one, and sharing their stories. They benefit from the telling, we benefit from the listening.

We all can learn from an author with a compelling story to tell. It doesn’t matter whether or not the book is worthy of a literary award. What matters is what we take away. Memoirs by women¬†over fifty to speak to the courage, fortitude, persistence and enduring love, characteristics that¬†the women of our time, and our generation, exhibit every day¬†. These¬†stories give¬†me courage. The author’s¬†endurance¬†gives me hope. Memoirs¬†help us¬†make sense of our¬†own¬†lives.

Women have suffered enormous wounding at the hands of those who had power over them. I count myself among the survivors and like most women who carry¬†scars, we¬†continue to¬†learn a little more each day how to thrive. Like¬†Kelly Clarkson reminds us, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” … and I might add much, much wiser.

COMING NEXT WEDNESDAY: “Harvesting Wisdom” by author Joan Rough

[tweetthis]Throughout history women have been abused. It has not only made them stronger, but wiser.[/tweetthis]


abuseEVER FAITHFUL TO HIS LEAD:  My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse by Kathleen Pooler

Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse¬†is a compelling read written by a strong and courageous woman. Pooler’s story¬†drew me in from page one and held my attention to the end. ¬†She paints a clear ¬†picture of her life as a victim and the inherent quagmire of confusion, denial, hope, despair, anger, self-recrimination, and blame that naturally ensues.¬† Pooler never wallows in the angst of it all, rather draws her readers into her quest for understanding, truth and freedom from victim-hood.

Women¬†who came of age in the fifties and sixties¬†were taught to be obedient, faithful, caring, helpmates to their¬†spouse – we were taught to be “ever faithful to his lead”. We also were growing day by day in self-awareness and learning to value ourselves as intelligent, creative, capable people.

Breaking free of abusive relationships became, during our generation, more possible and doable than ever before. Kathy Pooler is one such woman and tells her story, in a clear and steady style that co-mingles her challenges with her emerging understanding.

Pooler just touches on the role her roots of faith played in her emancipation.¬†¬†I’m sure she will have much more to say about this in her next memoir, now in progress.

Connect with Kathleen Pooler.


abuse GHOST NO MORE: A True Story of Child Abuse and Rescue by Cee Cee James

Cee Cee James tells a heartbreaking story without a trace of self-pity. The account of her life as a child in a home without love will rock your world and renew your faith in the power of the human spirit to survive.

A little girl, desperate for her mother’s love, Cee Cee James brings us into the¬†day-to-day world of the child victimized by a parent. We experience¬†the¬†workings of the child’s mind struggling to survive emotional and physical¬†abuse. ¬†James reveals through the lens of her story the sad truth that¬†children¬†will suffer enormous abuse¬†at the hands of a¬†parent¬†and still strive¬†to win acceptance, approval and most of all love – even when it is never, ever forthcoming. ¬†It broke my heart to¬†see this little girl take¬†the tiniest hope and run with it, only to see it dashed against the rocks of a woman’s inability to love her child.

As difficult as this book was to read, I could not put it down. The life force in this little girl was so strong and fierce and carried me forward to the end.






abuseCONFLICTED HEARTS: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt by D.G. Kaye

A girl’s relationship with her mother lasts a lifetime, but it is often not until we reach midlife that the complexity of a difficult connection comes into focus. What we come to believe about ourselves as adults through our interactions with¬†our mother’s as¬†children, is often not an accurate reflection of who we really are. This conflict, this inner disparity, either drives us toward disintegration or the truth.

D.G. Kaye took on this battle. In her book, Conflicted Hearts, she shares her story as she struggles to come to terms with her challenging and complex relationship with a mother she both loved and despised. It is a journey that all of us can relate to in one way or another. Kaye writes with honesty, candor, humor and courage as she peels back the layers and gains understanding and perspective. In the end we not only learn about the author, we learn about ourselves and may even come to see our own mother/daughter relationship a more clearly.

Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy this journey into one woman’s world. When you put down the book, you will feel as though you’ve gained a friend.

Connect with D.G. Kaye





If you would like to be a contributor to The Voices of Wisdom Series, please check out the

Writer’s Guidelines.¬†

More Posts of Interest

You Are Not Broken

Mask of Perception – When Things Are Not As They Seem

The Silence of Morning by D.H.Hickman – A Book Review

The Silence of Morning by D.H.Hickman – A Book Review

The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time UndoneSilence of Morning ¬†is a powerful memoir of one mother’s struggle¬†to come to terms with the sudden death of her son.¬† Filled with wisdom and¬†insight, Hickman’s¬†¬†writings can only be described as a ¬†prayer, one that comes straight from the center of her broken heart.

The author dives fearlessly into the void created by her loss and does battle with herself, external reality, and all that is unseen. She knows instinctively, even if not consciously during the process, that she is not only searching for answers and some kind of palatable acceptance of her loss, but for the meaning of life itself.  She is searching for the voice of her soul.

HIckman’s¬†philosophical ¬†writing style¬†does not¬†belie the pain beneath her words, but¬†it does keep ¬†the book from being¬†voyeuristic or maudlin. In every word she honors the memory of her son. ¬†As she¬†recounts the¬†days before and after Matt’s death, she does not do so¬†in tedious detail, but in poetic reflection, and the deep¬†questioning that is her style. She writes with a heart that is strong and courageous, even when it is¬†broken wide open.

Each question the author asks of herself, of the Universe, of Life Itself, the reader needs and wants answered as well. We wrestle along with Hickman as she travels through heartbreak, anger, frustration, sorrow, longing, and the ever-present search for understanding.  She wants a reason to keep on going, to find meaning and purpose in life again.

The Silence of Morning offers a glimpse into the transformative process.

Hickman givesSilence of Morning us a glimpse into the transformative process. Unspoken in the loss of her son, was the loss of life as she knew it. One can never return to a life of innocence before loss. When the unexpected happens, when loss occurs suddenly, no matter what the preamble, we are in some manner traumatized. Something has occurred that our reasoning minds cannot understand. As we grieve we struggle to understand that which cannot be understood, and as such it becomes a spiritual matter. Hickman knew instinctively, before she knew consciously,  that she would have to follow the transformative path if she were to come through her loss and still find meaning and purpose in her life.

The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone¬†ultimately offers readers not only an opportunity to¬†explore their own losses but to do so in the context of transformation. It is hard work. It requires that we ask¬†the hard questions and seek the unexpected answers. Daisy takes her readers on this journey. It is a powerful gift to those who long to articulate the depth of their pain and to find meaning in it. If you have experienced a dark night of the soul, if you have experienced loss or trauma, and even if you haven’t, The Silence of Morning offers you an opportunity to wrestle with the hard questions that we all must ask if we are to live a life worth living.


Connect with the author:

Silence of Morning
Daisy Hickman, author of The Silence of Morning, A Memoir of Time Undone At home in The Sunny Room Studio

Facebook: The Sunny Room Studio Page

Website: The Sunny Room Studio

Twitter: @MySunnyStudio


LEAVING THE HALL LIGHTS ON, by Madeline Sharples

THE DANGEROUS OLD WOMAN, Audio Serioes by Dr. Clarissa PInkola Estés


Looking for a Good Book to Read?

Looking for a Good Book to Read?

Aging Abundantly book clubAging Abundantly Book Club Update

The Aging Abundantly Book Club on Facebook is going strong. ¬†We currently have 221 members and always welcome more! It’s a closed group and I monitor it to make sure that there¬†are no unsavory characters lurking about, or spammers. ¬†In the past we have selected a group book and collectively read and discussed it. This month we are enjoying choosing a book individually and sharing it with the group. Mini-groups¬†are forming¬†around multiple books¬†and it¬†seems to be working really well . Some¬†people¬†read faster than others, and tastes vary so there’s more involvement. Thank you all who participate it¬†and keep it a lively and interesting place to visit!

Here are a few of the books we’ve read and have been reading. Join our Facebook book club group and read what members are saying about them. (To join: Follow the link above and request membership. I will add you in!)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

You’ll Enjoy It When You Get There: The Stories of Elizabeth Taylor (New York Review Books Classics)

I Will Not Live An Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose by Dawna Markova

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Invention of Wings: With Notes (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 3)¬†by Sue Monk Kidd

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by Donna Tartt

The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel¬†by Maria Semple

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

I have followied¬†Veronica and David James of Gypsynester fame since they first flew the empty nest and ventured into the world of life ongypsynester the road. I admired there chutzpah and their sense of humor, not to mention their upbeat outlook on life. It was a breath of fresh air. Life seem more than hard from where I sat and I was curious to see how tossing all one’s cares away would all play out. A very big part of me was wishing I was doing the same thing! I so wanted to escape old age!

Back then, when boomers everywhere were trying to figure out the next phase of life, the internet created an opportunity for¬†us to be privy to some really awesome adventures, and courageous folks telling their stories in vivid detail. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to read David and Veronica’s blogs along the way, you’ll love their new book,¬†Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Humor always prevails in their world and they both have the gift of the story teller. It’s a delightful, page turning adventure complete with pictures.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Then scurry on over to their website and sign on for further adventures. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All

by David and Veronica James


FOLLOW David and Veronica on Twitter and Facebook. 



You’ll enjoy learning about Carefree RV Resorts


The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob by Sylvia Safran Resnick

The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob by Sylvia Safran Resnick


Hollywood reporter ¬†Sylvia Resnick not only writes about the evolution of Hollywood heartthrobs, she lived it! (Learn more about Sylvia’s fascinating life in my¬†review of her book, The Walton Family Cookbook.) Sylvia’s new book, The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob, offers us a perspective of Hollywood that we may not have thought about, and one I found,, particularly intriguing.

As a young woman I swooned over the likes of Clark Gable, Tyrone Power (Zorro my very first fantasy super hero), Gregory Peck, Richard Burton, Tony Curtis, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, just to name a few. Growing up in the fifties, we were given  a delightful array of charming male heartthrobs to fall in love with, while awaiting our own knight in shining armor to come along and swoop us off our feet.

The Big Screen world evolved¬†before our very eyes. Most of us took it for granted. We were drawn in, mesmerized by¬†the¬†allure of the bigger than life characters that have now become a part of every day life, oblivious to how it would change our perspective on so many aspects of life. The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob¬†lays¬†this evolution out for us in black and white. Looking through the lens of the men in our Hollywood lives, Sylvia takes us decade by decade, through the lives of¬†the most enchanting of male actors, complete with photos, biographical information,¬†facts, films, and bits of personal info that we likely did not know. An overview of the most significant world events lays the groundwork for each decade. It’s fascinating.

Sylvia’s new book is a great book to peruse on lazy¬†weekend afternoon, or a snowy day like the one we have here today.¬†I keep my copy close at hand on a table in my living room. It’s a perfect coffee table book, a conversation starter¬†and a perfect gift for anyone who loves the movies, and who doesn’t!

The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob is available on Amazon.