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Natural Awakenings Boston

Books to Fall in Love With

Jan 30, 2012 09:40AM

Chocolates and flowers are lovely tokens of affection for Valentine’s Day, but how about giving someone more knowledge, adventure and inspiration this year? Since beloved books always make wonderful presents, Natural Awakenings asked its staff members about their favorite reads.

“I love Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen,” says publisher Maisie Raftery. “It’s a powerful reminder of how history is held by our elders, and a reminder to respect and learn from those who have lived full lives.” Raftery also recommends Mirror/Mirror, by Denny Richard, a new book intended to help readers understand that the lives they lead are mirror reflections of what’s going on inside them. “This book is a fun read, and packed with simple approaches to living each day to its fullest and healthiest,” says Raftery.

Editor Karen Adams votes for So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell. “This beautiful novel embraces so much human emotion and drama that it’s hard to believe it’s so short,” she says. “It portrays life in a small, rural Illinois town and the unlikely friendship between two lonely boys whose lives are touched by sorrow.” Adams also loves Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. “I dip into this book often,” she says. “It explains so many things about women’s lives, and the many undercurrents of passion and mystery that we all feel but may have lost touch with.”

Donna Markussen is an account executive who raves about Almost Isn’t Good Enough, a book proclaiming the power of individuals to relieve human suffering by Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “I bought several copies of this powerful book for friends and family,” Markussen says. “For each one sold, 10 pairs of shoes are donated to those in need.” She also recommends The Gift of Fear, by Gavin De Becker. “This book will help you to trust your gut feelings with confidence, and the results may be life-saving,” she says.

“My all-time breakthrough book is John Hargreaves’ The Christian Science Revolution in Thought,” says national editor S. Alison Chabonais. “This eloquent teacher clearly articulates the absolute truth of universal consciousness and divine being. I’ve been a student of advanced practical metaphysics for decades, and this book helped me to finally discern the essence of the kingdom of God within.”

Calendar editor Colleen Elias loves The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. “It’s short and simple, while conveying a powerful message about the happiness of giving,” she says, adding that she’s equally passionate about The Shack, by William Paul Young. “It touched me deep in my soul and reminded me that faith is a very real, very tangible way of life.”

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tops the list for copyeditor/proofreader Randy Kambic. “It’s such a vivid look at the ‘Lost Generation’ of the 1920s,” he says. “I think it set the stage for the Great Depression that followed.” Kambic also loves Lincoln, by Gore Vidal. “Vidal captures Abraham Lincoln’s private thoughts and words throughout his presidency, taking the reader behind the scenes to show the humor, sadness, political cunning, and determination that made up Lincoln’s complex nature.”

Writer and editor Kim Childs says her life was changed by The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. “It’s for anyone who wants to live more authentically and creatively, and it led me to my current career of guiding others in this powerful work,” says Childs. “On the fiction side, I adore Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson,” she adds. “It’s a sweet and surprising story about risking everything for love.”

For more information on the Artist’s Way, visit, or email [email protected].

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