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Ali's Picks

Ali is a writer, Positive Psychology & Creativity Coach, and educator, whose poetry and prose have been published in various literary journals around the country. While she's especially fond of short and long fiction, prose poetry, Zen, and self-development, she refuses to read nearly anything but middle grade fantasy at bedtime. Ali grew up on Reading Rainbow and loves getting to use her lifelong preoccupation with creative reading and writing, the power of the mind, and the magic of the imagination to help people discover new ideas--and great books! Her reading choices are all motivated by a deep sense of wonder and affection for the world and an endless curiosity about how we choose to live in it.

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

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Ali
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Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781556434303
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: North Atlantic Books - November 5th, 2002

I’ve been using this book forever! Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods is a classic of holistic health, long considered the best word on nutritional healing and wellness, and it has a ton of reliably clean, simple, and delicious recipes, to boot! I’ve been making the baked tofu with lemon sauce for almost 20 years. I am, in fact, having it again for dinner tonight! 


Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Ali
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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594634710
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Riverhead Books - September 22nd, 2015

This book is so inspiring! As soon as I finished reading Liz Gilbert's Big Magic, I wanted to start it again. A starburst, lighthouse, magic lantern, and salve for any creative soul. Beautiful writing, too! If you're a creative-living-leaning person, and definitely if you also liked her vibe in her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, you'll love this one. It's a dazzler.


You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

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Ali
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You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780762447695
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Running Press Adult - April 23rd, 2013

You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero, is a refreshing, encouraging, funny, and effective kick-in-the-pants. The format is great--easy and fun to read and apply to whatever in your life needs some inspired cheerleading.


The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr

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Ali
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The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062223074
Availability: Not in Stock. Backordered at the Warehouse.
Published: Harper Perennial - September 6th, 2016

"At unexpected points in life," Marry Karr begins in The Art of Memoir, "everyone gets waylaid by the colossal force of recollection...but there are also memories that you dig for: you start with a clear fix on a tiny instant, and pick at every knot until a thin thread comes undone that you can follow back through the mind's labyrinth to other places..."
Anyone interested in the nature of memory and storytelling, or curious about the art of reading or writing memoir will delight in this book. Karr's voice is terrifically alive with humor, wit and wisdom. A true pioneer and apostle of her genre!


Mindfulness A to Z, by Arnie Kozak, PhD

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Ali
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Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781614290575
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability.
Published: Wisdom Publications - September 22nd, 2015

Arnie Kozak's Mindfulness A to Z is a creative and friendly invitation to explore the principles and practices of mindfulness. Nicely organized and puzzled together--insightful and accessible at once. Some wonderful entries you might not expect, like "Flourishing", "Landscape", and "Joy'. Enjoy!


The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, by Catherynne M. Valente

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Ali
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The Boy Who Lost Fairyland Cover Image
By Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250023490
Availability: Not in Stock. Backordered at the Warehouse.
Published: Feiwel & Friends - March 3rd, 2015

Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series will forever be a favorite of mine: It's imaginative, meaningful, whimsical, playful, and is really--seriously--gorgeous writing. Her prose is some of the best I've seen. Next on my to-read list is this fourth book in the series, which stars (for the first time) a boy! Confession: I love Valente's writing so much that I procrastinate starting her books so I can postpone the sad situation of having to finish them. Great for: A Middle Grade reader and/or any-aged reader with an imaginative inner world who wonders, wanders, and wishes her/his way out of this one.


What Comes Next And How To Like It, by Abigail Thomas

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Ali
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What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781476785059
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability.
Published: Scribner - March 24th, 2015

This is a lovely memoir about time, family, creativity, and friendship, and I really enjoyed its somewhat-unusual-for-memoir form (prose blocks/vignettes--with titles!) and the general cadence of the story. It's woven together with memory fragments, distilled moments, and sudden(-feeling) reflections. Richly peopled, intimate, and honest, this is a narrative that's settled in the telling, like life, where the threads cross. Great for: Anyone contemplating the familial and creative implications of time and aging, and/or interested in unconventional narrative forms. Especially if you are a dog person! Lots of dogs in this one.


This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett

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Ali
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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062236685
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Harper Perennial - October 7th, 2014

This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage isn't about marriage! It's a "sparkling" (The New Yorker) collection of writings about all sorts of things, from dogs to opera to reading to the nature of truth and invention. Ann Patchett is beloved for her fiction mostly, but she's such a thoughtful and inspired writer that she can make any (every) thing interesting, relevant, and meaningful just by spinning words around it.

A great choice for fans of Patchett's fiction, for readers interested in the narrative and/or autobiographical essay, and for quiet but curious thinkers on ordinary and extraordinary things.


Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

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Ali
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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307476074
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2013

I LOVED this book. (Please read it before you see the movie! Quick! I promise you won't be sorry.) Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is a truly wholehearted, dangerously honest, and exceptionally moving memoir about a lost woman who wanders into the woods to find her way. A really engaging and beautiful read. A wonderful story for anyone looking to get lost and found at once.


The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Ali
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The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780807012390
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Beacon Press - May 1st, 1999

A blurb on the back of this book calls it "one of the best available introductions to the wisdom and beauty of the meditation practice", and I couldn't agree more. Thich Nhat Hanh's work is always affectionate, wise, bright-spirited, and accessible to anyone at any level of the practice--from a novice in her living room to in Vermont to a monk at his monastery in France. The Miracle of Mindfulness is for all of us. Peace!


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