I have to admit, compiling my list of year end books was humbling. The truth is, I read a lot of fiction. While some of it I will enthusiastically list here, other titles I choose not to admit! For me, 2021 wasn't a huge year for non-fiction but I did read some mind-scrambling books which I most certainly recommend. This list is a mix of both, each book bringing forth a subject or character(s) rich in complexity. There's also a bit of poetry to add into the mix of prose. These books took my mind to new and interesting places. For that, I'm especially grateful.
THE HIDDEN FACE OF EVE By Nawal El Saadawi
Nawal El Saadawi passed away recently, and it was by reading her obituary that I first heard of her. I quickly realized that her reach was far and wide, and I was just new to her writing. The Hidden Face of Eve claims to deal with the treatment of women in the Arab world, but it goes far beyond that to deal with power and gender at large. It's not easy to digest but that's because she examines extremely difficult topics.
THE SECRET LIFE OF GROCERIES By Benjamin Lorr
I would guess that many of you reading this know of Benjamin Lorr. He wrote Hell-Bent which looked into competitive yoga. In this follow-up, he takes the same "all in" approach. He gets to know many in the grocery world, including a trucker and product developer. Brace yourself. It's at times brutal and disgusting, but it's well worth a look into the large and somewhat dysfunctional system that exists to feed us each and everyday.
THE BODY PROJECT by Joan Jacobs Brumberg
This is a fascinating, and at times heartbreaking book that deals with the history of the female body in areas like media and medicine. While it is geared toward girls in America, it goes far beyond that. It illuminates how policy and promotion shape the understanding of our physical appearance. Furthermore, it illuminates our ways of thinking that have nothing to do with our actual body and much to do with cultural trends.
MARY MAGDALENE: MYTH AND METAPHOR By Susan Haskins
This is an absolutely fascinating read about Mary Magdalene. It is slow and dense but packed with interesting history. Haskins background is in art history and she uses depictions of Mary Magdalene throughout time, along with early writings and devotional works to explore this historic (and perhaps quite misunderstood) character.
THE SPOILS OF PARTITION By Joya Chatterji
This book is an academic history of the partition of India following the end of British colonialism. It's not for everyone, but I recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. Chatterji writes in a very approachable way. She dissects the way in which the new land borders were drawn and what that meant for the immense amount of people who suddenly found themselves in a new country. She explains what is considered to be the largest human migration of all time in a clear and incredibly researched way.
THE FIRST FREE WOMEN By Matty Weingast
This is a lovely book to have around. It does not need to be read page by page, but rather enjoyed poem by poem. This is a translation of Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns).
WHEREABOUTS By Jhumpa Lahiri
Now for the fiction! I heard an interview with Lahiri on the radio which piqued my interest about this book. The interviewer said something like your book has no plot, nothing happens. She responded saying I wouldn't say it has no plot, a plot is just a series of of things that happen. This made me so curious! Now having read it, I understand both sides. Does it have a plot? I'm not sure. But it was funny, charming and some of the best writing I've read.
FIRE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER By Angeline Boulley
Both this book and the next one were decades in the making from what I've read. Each author let the story simmer and took the time to shape the characters with such craft that you feel you know them personally.
Fire Keeper's Daughter is just so good. The story is set not too far from where I grew up, which is what first drew me to it. However, the book gives you an immediate sense of place both in struggle and community regardless of where you are when reading it. It is labeled as a young adult read, but is definitely for all ages.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING By Delia Owens
I was so late to the Crawdads craze. All I can say now is better late than never! There is an endless amount that can be said about this book. The writing is amazing and evolves throughout the book as the characters grow. Owens has total mastery over the place, the people and the world she creates. The main character Kya is heartbreakingly lovable. Boss them pirates!
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
- The 113 Postures of Ghosh Yoga
- Make the Hamstrings Strong, Not Long
- Understanding Chair Posture
- Lock the Knee History
- It Doesn't Matter If Your Head Is On Your Knee
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- 5 Reasons To Backbend
- Origins of Standing Bow
- The Traditional Yoga In Bikram's Class
- What About the Women?!
- Through Bishnu's Eyes
- Why Teaching Is Not a Personal Practice