In today's Guest Post Series we are welcoming YBCer Kate, who's sharing seven book to help you be your best self. Hope you enjoy! xoCandace
Hello fellow YBCers! I am thrilled to be able to write a post for this site that has helped me so much.
I am a big believer in books as tools for growth. I have always been a book nerd. I have vivid memories of my mom telling me to put my book down and go outside during summer vacation. When that didn’t work she told me to take the book outside to read! As an adult with a limited travel budget, I use books to learn about the world around me and how I want to fit into it.
The following is a list of books that have helped me move toward my best self. These books have helped me define who I want to be and who I don’t want to be. They have opened my eyes to the vast differences and startling similarities humans share. This list certainly does not include all the books that have impacted my life and I know that the titles listed here will not speak to everyone but every bookish list on the internet has to have limits. I like the number 7, so let’s get started.
1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I am a big fan of Amy Poehler. I think she is funny, strong, smart and so many things that I want to be. This book is Amy’s memoir about her life and career. Her story of hard work and her determination to break into comedy are inspiring. The pieces of her personal life that she shares are brave and honest. I often re-visit this book when I need a pick me up.
2. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This collection of essays helped me vanquish my insecurities about being a feminist. I had held feminist beliefs for a long time but never felt I was good enough to proclaim myself as a feminist. Roxane Gay puts it all out there and helped me feel that I am good enough to call myself a feminist right now. I plan to keep learning and expanding my view of feminism but that does not mean I have to meet some arbitrary criteria to embrace the label.
3. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly opened my eyes to the difference between being alive and living. A noted researcher on shame and vulnerability, Brown outlines how we cannot live our fullest life unless we are willing to put ourselves out there. I don’t want to say too much about this title because I want everyone to have the same wonderful experience of discovery while reading it.
4. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
This book was a big eye opener for me. Before reading it I was aware of a few of the particular privileges I have been granted in life but blissfully ignorant of the struggle of having to convince the world of something as foundational to your identity as your gender. Janet is open and honest about her transition and it is difficult to read about another person’s pain and struggle. However, it was a rewarding read that helped me see the world through a more open and accepting point of view. Bonus: Janet’s second book Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me was just released last month.
5. The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson
The only thing I knew about Rainn Wilson before reading this book was that he was hilarious as Dwight Shrute on The Office so it may be an understatement to say I went into this one not knowing what to expect. The book had funny moments of course but this is not a “humor” title. It is the story of Rainn’s life and how he found his place in the world. Be yourself; that is the overarching message here. It is a simple message but it sure can be hard to follow. At times, Rainn’s experiences are so unusual that a fiction writer telling the same story would be accused of asking the reader to stretch disbelief too far. But at the same time his story is so relatable that it resonates on a deep level. Read this book for more evidence that your wonderful, weird self is exactly who the world needs you to be.
6. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
When her sister points out that being a big shot Hollywood writer has brought her many opportunities but she says no to all of them a light bulb turns on for Shonda Rhimes. She becomes determined to say yes to everything for a year. In this book Shonda tells her story of putting herself out there with humor, wit and honesty. Her journey of courage and self discovery is truly inspiring. And hilarious! Did I mention that she is really funny? Because she is!
7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I tore through this book during my first reading in 10th grade and have read it many times since. At the time this served as a gateway to reading more widely; it helped me realize that “serious” books could also be fun. Today when I re-read it, I am struck by the message Fitzgerald lays out through the tale of Gatsby’s life. Here it is again, that simple but difficult to follow advice: Be yourself.
Do any of the books catch your interest? What are some of your favorite inspiring books? Tell me in the comments below.
Kate Guerriere lives in Pennsylvania. She loves fitness, books and brightly colored things. You can find pictures of her mini dachshund, Peaches, and various other items of interest on Instagram.