Nothing opens my mind and heightens my senses quite like a good book. I love the entire experience of reading — from going to the library, to browsing endless shelves of lovingly worn books, to finding the perfect one and cracking it open. (Yes, I still go to the library. In fact, I’ve been known to give my coworkers a little flack about actually buying books. Who wants to store all of those?! And Goodness help you if you move houses. boxes are heavy. Think about it.) Anyway, the point is: while I read dozens of books each year, I only own a handful. They are my absolute favorite books that I flip through time and time again. If you’re a read-a-holic like me, check out the list below. You just may find a new addition to your own collection!

The Forest Feast (Erin Gleeson) | First up is The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. This is a vegetarian cookbook but I’ve admittedly only made two recipes so far. The real reason this book is a permanent fixture beside my bed is because it is BEAUTIFUL. Each page is a mixture of gorgeously styled photos, watercolor illustrations and hand-drawn lettering. It serves me more as an artist look book than anything else.

With that being said, I do have to mention that both of the recipes that I tried were delicious. Erin’s recipes are short, sweet and super easy to follow! For a non-vegetarian like myself, it looks like it’s going to be a great guide to help me get creative with my vegetables.

Typography Sketchbooks (Steven Heller) | This hefty book is completely filled with hand-drawn typography, something that I can’t get enough of. The book is basically snapshots from a variety of artists’ sketchbooks, each with a different approach to mapping their letters. Some measure out each curve while others go for the "wing it" approach (my personal favorite). Flipping through these pages is a great source of inspiration if you’re thinking up your own typeface.

Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy, and Broke (Off Track Planet) | A girlfriend of mine bought me this book for my birthday and my goooodness how I love it!!! This is possibly my favorite book of all time. But before I go any further – a warning: If strong language and sarcastic quips aren't your thing, you may want to steer clear. To be quite frank, the authors curse a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot. If you’re okay with that — great! Keep on reading. It's broken up into 3 main sections: Get Inspired, Get Your S*** Together, and Make Yourself Useful. Basically, it gives you a rundown of some seriously awesome things to see around the world, then gives you traveling and packing tips, and then explains some ways you can volunteer while you’re away! The whole book is full of funny but highly useful and unique facts. For example, I personally love that it has a full two pages dedicated to toilets around the world (which could have saved me some serious culture shock in the Middle East). Another thing I love is that this book constantly encourages traveling alone. This may sound lonely or scary, but speaking from experience, it's definitely worth taking what they say to heart and considering a solo trip. Whether you’re a first time traveler or a polished pro, OTP’s Young, Sexy, and Broke is sure to give you some inspiration and tips for your next vacation.

The Crossroads of Should and Must (Elle Luna) | Wow, guys. Talk about a beautiful, inspiring book. Elle discusses the difference between doing what you should do versus doing what you must do — your calling, so to speak. The ideas she presents are extremely simple but profound..I found myself thinking “Exactly! Yes! Why haven't I ever thought of it like that?" Not only are her ideas great, but the book itself is a work of art. Her use of watercolor typography to evoke emotion is simply amazing.

Happiness (Matthieu Ricard) | In the short time I’ve owned this book, I’ve already read it three times. To put it simply — it's wonderful.  Happiness is written by a Tibetan monk (Richard) on the art of happiness. Ricard writes about finding and keeping happiness in terms of Buddhism, but it's not an attempt to sell you on the philosophy of Buddhism. These principles are easy and beneficial to add regardless of your belief system. Explaining it now, it almost sounds like a self-help book but it’s so much deeper than that. Happiness examines how we interpret our feelings, why we have them and what we can do to not simply let our emotions carry us through life, but to take charge and lead ourselves to be genuinely happy and healthy.

In the queue | The next three books on my list to read were all given to me because my friends loved them so much. The first is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which Beth recently loaned me. If you recognize that name, it may be because she also wrote Eat, Pray, Love! The book explores creative living beyond fear. Um..yes, please!

Beth also gave me Rising Strong by Brené Brown. The quote on the back of the book explains it all: "The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our wholeheartedness – actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences including the falls."

The last book was given to me by my great friend, Paul. He's a go-getter if I've ever met one, so it's only natural that he gave me Executive Toughness by Dr. Jason Selk. This is what I have to look forward to: Just as an athlete needs to build his or her muscles to compete on the playing field, you have to train your mind to compete in your field. Executive Toughness is a virtual workout regimen for unleashing accountability, strengthening your focus, and supercharging your optimism in order to consistently achieve at or above your potential. 

We'll see if these make the cut! Do you have any book suggestions that you think may make my bedside stash? Let me know!

 :: Haley ::

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