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Four Mindful Books I’m Devouring Right Now

September 4, 2017
Four Mindful Books I'm Devouring Lately | Tiny Ambitions

I’m a huge reader. If I’m not working, eating or sleeping, you will probably find me reading. Only a couple of years ago, science fiction was my go-to genre. Who wouldn’t want to read about other worlds and wonderful adventures? Around the time I dove deep into minimalism, my reading tastes shifted from fiction to non-fiction. I think this was because I no longer found day-dreaming (and not being in the present) fun. Coincidence? Probably not.

The point is, I read a lot. What I read tends to focus on ‘life lesson’ type topics, like mindfulness, simple living, and food. I’ve read four mindful books in particular lately that I absolutely loved. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on them here, in case any of you are looking for some literary inspiration!

If you don’t want to buy them (I’ve been known to do a book ban from time to time), check out your local library – that’s how I got my hands on them!

Four Mindful Books I'm Devouring Right Now | Tiny Ambitions

 

Mindful Books I'm Devouring Lately: The Art of Frugal HedonismThe Art of Frugal Hedonism : A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More

I promise I am not exaggerating when I say that this might be the best book I have ever read. The Art of Frugal Hedonism is broken down into exceptionally short chapters with snappy titles like “Have an Open Relationship with Recipes” and “Notice When You Have Enough”. It’s basically a ‘how-to’ guide for living a life, working, consuming and needing less. Some of their tips are not for the faint of heart (i.e. foraging for food in the wild and in dumpsters). But most of their advice makes good, practical sense and can be implemented fairly easily. Like, maybe don’t buy the biggest house you can afford? And, treat everything you own with care so it has a good, long life.

All in all, I finished this book with a smile on my face and an immense optimism that a simple life is achievable. How awesome is that?

 

Mindful Books I'm Devouring Right Now: 10% Happier10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

I am a sucker for a memoir, especially if it is a comeback story. And, 10% Happier is just such a memoir. It follows the rise, fall and rise again of ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. You might know him from that time he had a panic attack on air. 10% Happier chronicles Dan’s journey with anxiety, including his habit of self-medicating with recreational drugs (leading to the aforementioned panic attack), his stint in therapy and finally, his discovery of meditation. Meditation is what he credits with giving him his mind back.

It’s incredibly honest and straightforward – no hippie mumbo jumbo. For the record, there is nothing wrong with mumbo jumbo (I am a yoga teacher, remember?), but Dan describes himself as a skeptic, which is probably an outcome of being an investigative journalist. His story was so compelling to me (in its honesty and realness) that I have since recommitted to a meditation practice as a tool in my anxiety toolbox (with promising results thus far!).

(If you’re interested, Dan also has a podcast and meditation app by the same name. Both are free, and are, in my opinion, excellent).

 

Mindful Books I'm Devouring Right Now: Animal, Vegetable, MiracleAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

In 2006, the Kingsolver family set themselves an amazing goal. They would only consume food they produced on their farm or was produced locally in their area (Virginia). Their impetus for doing this was realizing the environmental impact their ‘flown-in’ diet was having on the planet. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is not an idealized memoir of how easy it is to produce enough food to feed a family of four all year (i.e. even through winter when nothing grows). It is a brutally honest account of the whole experiment, warts and all. It even includes recipes and fun fact tidbits woven throughout the narrative written by the author’s husband and daughter.

Now, I’m predisposed to like this kind of book because I spent the majority of my B.A. and M.A. learning and researching about how truly messed up our food system is (for our health, for our economies, and for our planet). But, my bias doesn’t make the book any less awesome.

I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, utterly determined to grow some of my own food (even if it’s just a herb garden) and sourcing out local producers in our new city.

Bottom line: if you like food, this is the book for you.

 

Mindful Books I'm Devouring Right Now: Going to Pieces Without Falling ApartGoing to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness, Lessons from Meditation and Psychotherapy

Part patient biography and part Buddhist philosophy, Dr. Mark Epstein explores what Western psychotherapy can learn from traditional Buddhist practices, specifically, meditation. As it turns out, it could learn a lot! The main premise of the book is that rather than trying to eradicate negative emotions (avoiding things we don’t like), or cling to positive emotions (repeating things we do like), it may be a better strategy to experience them all and then let them go.

In a culture obsessed with instant gratification coupled with self-flagellation when you fail, this is a powerful message.

I’ve noticed lately that it takes a lot more energy for me to stamp down my emotions (good and bad) than it does to fully experience them and let them pass (which they invariably always do). So, personally, I’m inclined to believe Dr. Epstein.

Think about it this way, what sounds easier: pretending you aren’t angry about something your significant other did for HOURS, or giving yourself permission to get angry for a couple minutes and getting over it? I know which scenario I would prefer.

I finished the book thinking I wasn’t as messed up as I thought. If that’s not a ringing endorsement for a wonderful piece of writing, I don’t know what is!


I believe that books (and blogs and other creative outputs), find their way to you exactly when you need them – and that couldn’t be truer of all the above mindful books. They each presented a unique solution to a problem or issue I’ve been tackling and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read them!


I would love to know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them! Are you reading anything right now that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure here.

Image Credits: Unsplash, Tiny Ambitions, Google

  • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment September 10, 2017 at 5:59 am

    These all sound like great reads and right down my alley! I have very much been into non-fiction lately as well (I seem to go through phases where I’ll swap between mostly fiction and mostly non-fiction, not sure why, but the last little while I have been tending a lot more towards non-fiction because there are so many topics I am becoming interested in). Lately I have been reading lots of health-related stuff. I just finished The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes and The Microbiome Solution by Robynne Chutkan, and highly recommend both. My favourite mindfulness book, which has been on regular rotation on my nightstand lately (as it’s so uplifting), is The Happiness Code by Domonique Bertolucci. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books Britt. Oh how I love book talk 🙂

    • Britt September 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Oooo, I’ll have to add those three books to my list. Thanks for the recommendations, Lisa!

  • Sarah September 7, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I’ll have to grab 10% Happier from the library, I also love a good memoir and this sounds right up my alley. I read a lot of fiction but I made a deal with myself that I would listen to audiobooks on my walk to work but they had to teach me something. That has meant I’ve been reading (listening to) more non-fiction lately and it’s a good way to pass the time.

    On a sidenote…I hope everything went as smoothly as possible with the move and that you guys are settling in to your new place.

    • Britt September 8, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Thanks Sarah! This week has been a work in progress, but we’re getting there.

      I like the sound of your deal, it sounds like a good way to pass the time!

  • GYM September 7, 2017 at 1:23 am

    The first book looks interesting! I’ll have to see if they have it at the library 🙂 PS I really like your bookmark!!

    • Britt September 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

      It’s a great book! I actually asked my library to order it in and they did! And thanks! I can’t actually remember where I got it, but it’s come in pretty handy. Thanks for reading!

  • Penny (@picksuppennies) September 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I love Kingsolver, but I think I like her fiction a lot more than her nonfiction. But it did make me look at food very differently! I also like the 10% Happier podcast. So excited to check out these other two books. Headed to my library’s website now! Thanks for this post!

    • Britt September 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Woot! I didn’t actually know she wrote fiction until after I finished AVM. I might have to check it out. I love the 10% Happier podcast- I’m glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for reading Penny!

  • Leigh Alexandra September 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Britt September 5, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks for reading Leigh! I hope you find some of the books helpful. I know they’ve taught me an awful lot!

  • Cindy Walker Watson September 5, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I don’t even know how I ended up on your page (how do I get ANYWHERE on the internet? ;-)) but every single one of these looks to be exactly what I’d like to be reading right now, so I’m printing your list and wanted to say thank you for the reviews!

    • Britt September 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Haha welcome!! I’m glad you found the list useful. Everyone one of the books brought something different into my life at exactly the right time. I hope you enjoy them!

  • luxestrategist September 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Ooh, the first book looks really interesting! How do you find time to read and blog??!!!

    • Britt September 5, 2017 at 11:19 am

      It’s an amazing book! I would highly recommend it. I try and squeeze in as much reading as I can- it’s my most favourite leisure activity (besides blogging of course)!

  • rhinophile September 4, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    I’ve read ‘The Art of Frugal Hedonism’ and ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ and enjoyed both books. Adam Grubb, the co-author of the first book, lives in the same city as we do. He is also one of a group of friends that host a podcast called, ‘Greening the Apocalypse’. It’s both entertaining and informative!

    • Britt September 4, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      That’s so cool! I’ll have to check out his podcast. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy @ More Time Than Money September 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Ohhh I loved The Art of Frugal Hedonism. I didn’t know about the podcast, I’m going to check it out. Thanks.

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.

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