In recognition of World Book day the Wellness Team would like the share  some of their favorite reads with the community. May they inspire you to pick up a new story or one of your own favorite reads.

Where the Mountain Meets to Moon by Grace Lin

Book cover: young women riding a dragon.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a beautifully written fantasy-adventure children's novel inspired by Chinese folklore. I adored this book during elementary school, but even when rereading it now, it holds a timeless quality with its themes of friendship and deep courage. Highly recommended!

 

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. 

Book Cover: A diver deep beneath the water

Challenger Deep tackles mental illness in a graceful manner, as the author ties anecdotes from his son’s life into the novel’s narrative. Challenger Deep intertwines fiction and harsh realities, helping articulate the protagonist’s anguish while also keeping him relatable. I read this book in high school, and can still say it is one of my favorites—I hope to catch myself re-reading it soon. 

 

Educated by Tara Westover

Book Cover: A woman on a mountain top or a Shaved Pencil.

One of my all-time favorite books is called Educated, by Tara Westover (she actually came to Amherst to talk in recent years!) I had picked up her book one random afternoon at a Costco, while waiting for my mom to finish choosing bulk packages of fruit and finish our weekly grocery trip. Westover’s story drew me in immediately; just from reading the inside cover, I felt like she was telling the narrative of my family. Her family was survivalist, Mormon, and located in the most rural mountains of Idaho—so different from my Chinese, atheist, immigrant parents, and yet, so similar in the impact education had on their lives. She explores the opposing pulls of family and her own yearning for education, telling an incredibly comprehensive and emotional story as she leaves her town for Brigham Young University, then moves cross-country to Harvard, then across the Atlantic Ocean to Cambridge. 

"Educated tells the story of author Tara Westover, from living with her Mormon survivalist family in Idaho to graduating with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. The impact of abuse and socioeconomic status on mental health is central to Westover’s story."

 

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

Book Cover: Abstract depiction of two people embracing

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet. The Vanishing Half tells the story of two identical twin sisters who run away from their small, southern Black community at 16; one sister returns to her hometown with her Black daughter, while the other passes as white and lives with a white husband and daughter who know nothing of her past. Weaving through stories from different generations, the book deals with themes of colorism, racism, family, motherhood, and betrayal. I loved this book and hope you all will give it a read!

 

What I know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Book Cover: Simple light tan cover. There is a small tree and the title of the book framed left and right by green vertical bars.

This book offers powerful insight in bite-sized pieces. It has helped me learn to accept who I am, and be present in the moment.

 

The Art of Happiness by 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Culter

Book Cover: Portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama

This book genuinely changed my outlook on life. I read it at the beginning of the pandemic, and I think it helped me become a stronger person. 

 

 "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb

Book Cover: Yellow background with a tissue box and glass of water

I love this book because it's a therapist's perspective on her clients and her own personal struggles with mental health. It shows how everyone is human and has their own story to share.

 

Meditations: Book of Knowledge and Philosophy Handbook by Marcus Aurelius

Book Cover: Green marble background with a white and black stylized eye.

Meditations focuses on stoic philosophy, and although I would not consider myself to be a very stoic person, this book has helped me find balance and stability in my life.