Shoppers begin the new year determined to make their lives better. As much of what happens in the world appears to be out of their control, more and more of them are taking up the mantra “Heal yourself. Heal the world.” Stock your shelves with books that provide them with information that will help them make real changes in their lives and watch them come back for more. Use inspirational tomes as background decoration (they’ll come back into demand in a few months).
Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts
Suzann Pileggi Pawelski & James O. Pawelski (ISBN 978-0-14-31059-8) TarcherPerigree
More than twenty years ago, Martin Seligman spearheaded the launch of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his colleagues saw it as an “evidence-based vision of how to live well”. Soon there was MAPP (Master of Applied Positive Psychology) which was quickly embraced by the higher-level practitioners of the Mind/Body/Spirit movement. Now this husband-and-wife team, who both have deep ties to MAPP, has moved positive psychology into the realm of loving relationships. This book charts new territory for positive psychology as it shows couples how to create the “happy-ever-after” that all couples hope for, but few actually achieve. The reality, they point out, is that true love is always a combination of happy and unhappy. It’s the choices that you make in dealing with that that will ultimately make your relationship blissful or impossible. Drawing on the philosophy of Aristotle, these authors bring readers up-to-speed on the latest research in positive psychology, provide practice exercises throughout the book, and make an outstanding case for the premise that positive emotions aren’t just generated by good circumstances, they can also be the cause of good outcomes in our lives. Many of your customers already practice gratitude. This book gives them the empirical data behind that phenomenon. Then it shows them how to apply that data to their intimate relationships. Let them know that this book is timely, engaging, cutting edge, and practical.
Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith in the 21st Century
John Shelby Spong (ISBN 978-0-06-264129-8) HarperOne
Eighty-seven-year-old retired Episcopal bishop Spong has never shied away from controversy. He has always stated his mind and does so again in this latest book. For quite some time, he has believed that the language of Christianity no longer communicates adequately in current times. In this compilation of twelve theses (including Stating the Problem, Atonement Theology, Ethics, Life After Death, Universalism) he helps readers move beyond the dogma of Christian teachings and takes them back to Martin Luther’s original questioning of the Church, asking them to ponder whether or not the idea of God still has meaning. A brilliant scholar, he speaks to his audience in down-to-earth language and not from a pedestal. It’s easy to understand why his previous books have been best sellers. This one will be no exception.
From Anxiety to Love: A Radical New Approach for Letting Go of Fear and Finding Lasting Peace
Corinne Zupko (ISBN 978-1-60-868505-9) New World Library
Zupko was in college when she experienced her first panic attack. It set her on a course that led her towards healing, for herself and for others. Her journey into anxiety became her greatest teacher and she is sharing what she learned with others. Her healing journey was/is based on A Course In Miracles (Foundation for Inner Peace). It was not what I was expecting but, of course, it makes perfect sense. And Zupko’s understanding and application of the Course makes perfect sense as well. Part I describes The Descent into Anxiety, facing chaos and fear during the search for the Inner Therapist (Holy Spirit). Part II shows readers The Ascent into Peace, the climb back out of the Rabbit Hole. Part III works on Putting It All Together, armed with a set of inner tools to deal with inevitable anxiety as readers move forward through their lives. Zupko has been through it all. She admits the work requires patience but she ends the book as a true believer. “The Light in you is too bright to fail.”
The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
Sonya Renee Taylor (ISBN 978-1-62-656976-8) Berrett-Koehler Publishers
What spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson refer to as natural intelligence, Taylor calls “radical self-love”. She has a way with action-packed words. When others talk about negative body image, she responds with “the body is not an apology”. And she’s written a whole book in response to the question “How do we live our highest, most radically unapologetic lives?”. Right up front, she tells readers that this book will not fix their self-esteem issues and it won’t teach them how to have more self-confidence. Radical self-love offers “a safe harbor for self-esteem and self-confidence” but it exists as a separate entity and it’s reaching for something beyond self-esteem, self-confidence, and even self-acceptance. It is aspiring to undo the learned behavior of body shame. Humans are born with an innate, positive connection to their bodies. Society teaches us, from a very early age, to replace that with impossible expectations that create shame and discomfort with our bodies. Think for a minute about the lucrative industries that profit from that change and you will understand how powerful our connection to our bodies is. Covering topics like Body-Shame Origin Stories, Media Matters, Body Terrorism, Changing Hearts, and Unapologetic Agreements, Taylor seeks to put the history, politics, and solutions of this topic into a logical, organized, and motivating format. She postulates that if humans can relearn how to make peace with their bodies, they will remember how to make peace with each other.
White Spirit Animals: Prophets of Change
J. Zohara Meyerhoff Hieronimus (ISBN 978-0-06-243654-2) Bear & Company
This author was six years old when she first wished for the ability to talk with animals. Back then, it was fiction, represented by the likes of Doctor Doolittle and Pippi Longstocking. Today it is known as interspecies communication and that six-year-old child is now a leading professional in the field. It is no wonder that a group of White Spirit Animals, visiting her in a waking dream, chose her to gift with the task of writing this book. All-white animals, because of their rarity, have been welcomed by many indigenous populations because they are thought to speak for their whole species and thus to have great wisdom to impart. They are considered bridges between the spiritual and physical worlds. Hieronimus has given wings to their messages as she tells their stories with insight, wisdom, and great compassion. She says that they approached her with urgency and, indeed, their messages are timely for a planet in danger of extinction.
Beyond Mindfulness: The Direct Approach to Lasting Peace, Happiness, and Love
Stephan Bodian (ISBN 978-1-62-625973-7) New Harbinger Publications
Mindfulness took the Western world by storm and is now, basically, the standard for meditation practice and application. But as Houston Smith pointed out decades ago, the Western ego is not an easy egg to crack. Mindfulness techniques are intended to interrupt our fixation on the thoughts that get stuck in our minds and shift us out of habitual ways of experiencing our existence. They are not, however, intended to become a mechanical replacement which continues to separate us from the physical world. Mindfulness is a technique which has been proven to reduce stress and improve our inner emotional states. Westerners, however, don’t easily give up their drives for achievement and competition, and so mindfulness has, for many, become another thing on the check list rather than an inherent part of the larger process of awareness/enlightenment. Former Buddhist monk, and licensed psychotherapist, Bodian has developed a “direct approach” as a follow-up to mindfulness practice which will allow your customers to apply mindfulness skills in a protocol aimed at moving them forward in all areas of their lives. Rather than preach withdrawal from the world, he encourages engagement in day-to-day life using the tools of mindfulness for confidence and insightful participation. Just as there is more than one path to the top of the mountain, there is more than one way achieve a fulfilled life. Bodian has made a welcome contribution toward that goal.
Yoga for the Creative Soul: Exploring the Five Paths of Yoga to Reclaim Your Expressive Spirit
Erin Byron (ISBN 978-0-73-875218-1) Llewellyn Publications
Creativity has been one of the lost arts of modern society. As a natural outgrowth of the “hippie” Sixty’s and its fascination with Eastern spiritual philosophies, there is currently a trend toward restating it as an inherent part of the human psyche. Byron was first drawn into this movement when she discovered the power that visual expression had to surface deeply buried emotions, particularly in relation to trauma. Her studies in that field led her back to her love of movement and the body. She ended up focusing on the ability of yogic techniques to facilitate the flow of creativity. The result was Comprehensive Yoga Therapy, the subject of this book. Derived from classical yoga, it has been redesigned to be accessible to all people, regardless of their physical ability. Byron believes that as more people become reconnected to their inner creative selves, they will be more likely to spread compassion, rather than misery, around the world. Knowledgeable, realistic, and nurturing, this is a good way for your customers to start the New Year.
Sushi Art Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Kazari Sushi
Ken Kawasumi (ISBN 978-4-80-531437-1) Tuttle Publishing
Thanks to globalization, sushi has become almost as American as apple pie. Lest you think that I am being culturally insensitive, let me tell you that this cookbook, authored by a very Japanese sushi artist, has a Santa Claus roll, Christmas tree rolls, Smiley Face rolls, and Guitar rolls. There are, of course, also Samauri rolls and rolls containing Kanji characters. They are all part of Kawasumi’s trademark decorative style. These examples are very intricate, but the book contains some much simpler, starter sushi as well. Everything your customers need to know is provided in well-organized form, from basic ingredients to basic tools and techniques to instructions for arranging sushi on serving platters. Great ideas for special occasions or just to impress friends!
The Queen of the Frogs
Davide Cali & Marco Somà (illustrator) (ISBN 978-0-80-285481-0) Eerdmans Books
The pond was filled with frogs who lived an orderly frog-typical life, until one day an unexpected event created an atypical hierarchy among them. Cali’s tale of this disruption and the return to normalcy (with a twist at the end) is part political satire, part belly-laugh humor, and part human/froggy interest story.
Somà’s inventive illustrations match the creativity of the story with brilliant additional touches that will amuse both children and adults. This one is a keeper that will be treasured by generations of children.
Cultured Food in a Jar: 100+ Probiotic Recipes to Inspire and Change Your Life
Donna Schwenk (ISBN 978-1-40-195126-9) Hay House
Probiotics has become a buzzword. Everybody talks about them, everybody says they want them, but how many of your customers really understand them. Donna Schwenk rides to the rescue with everything we need to know about these new miracle workers, starting with the fact that probiotics we make ourselves are more effective than probiotics in capsules. She then goes on to acknowledge that most of us are in constant states of flux and stress which makes anything healthy too much extra effort to sustain long term. Her solution: jars of cultured food that are transportable. Yes, some effort is involved in setting up the system, but she limits the basics to three probiotics — kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables. Once your customers have invested time in learning how to keep those three things in stock, the variations are limitless, and interesting. Recipes include Chocolate Breakfast Shake, Cultured Garlic Aioli Dip, Ginger Miso Soup, Cultured Dragon Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Lemon Ginger Kraut, and Strawberry Kefir Cheesecake.