Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron
C.S. Lewis and His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society
"Deep down in the human spirit there is a reservoir of courage. It’s always available, always waiting to be discovered."
So writes Pema Chodron in the epilogue of her book, Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, a collection of wisdom gained from her Buddhist teachers. It is, as Pema is known for producing, an attempt at honoring her beloved instructors, passing along their teachings as a means of healing a beautiful, broken world. Yet it becomes, as her work often does, a uniquely important rendering of timeless peace-based practices into a language the modern-day Westerner will be able to quickly understand.
Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Born of Lewis's inspiration, the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society has for decades been an important institution in the continued study of Lewis and his ideas, as well as a tribute to the lives and works of those who shared his intellectual circle. By sustaining the ideas of the Inklings, the society stands as a guide for generations of thinkers whose visions would blossom under such influence.
This year the society released C.S. Lewis and His Circle, a new book which adds to the extensive library of publications exploring Lewis's ideas and insights. C.S. Lewis and His Circle contains many previously unpublished talks from influential speakers, giving Lewis enthusiasts a new chance to witness what the study of Lewis is like in the writer’s own home, so to speak.
Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver
With her Facebook community Gilbert shares stories of what inspires her, whether moments and conversations from her past that she holds onto or new discoveries and ideas that enchant her imagination. She worries less about hashtags and buzzwords - and, my favorite, she gives not a whit whether her stories are long or short. She writes lovingly, and that seems to be her highest priority. But beyond her stories, which often garner hundreds of responses and thousands of interactions, she encourages members of the community to make themselves at home and to share their own stories, to connect with each other and engage their curiosity. It was in many ways from this platform that her new book was born.
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Few poets capture the world with such ethereal grace and strict joy as Mary Oliver. In her 2014 collection, Blue Horses, she returns to some of her most poignant and witty moods to remark on nature, life, death, and just about everything else. In her beloved way, Oliver avoids her work becoming overly stylized by not really styling (or, at least, not visibly, earnestly styling) it at all.
Her poems become conversations with the reader, the result of the way Oliver sees life with dauntless curiosity and an open heart. Her rhetoric takes on the vivacity of a delighted child, with a child’s wisdom - a wisdom gained by being open to the world as a rule. In her commonplace subject matter she uncovers opportunity for laughter, while in her consideration of the natural world she delivers the trademark significance her readers have come to love with as much otherworldly lyricism as ever before.
Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson
On January 8, 1839, during the eighth US president's time in office, William A. Clark was born in a Pennsylvania log cabin. One hundred and seventy-two years and thirty-six presidents later, his daughter Huguette would be living in reclusion in the middle of Manhattan, the century-old heiress of an unfathomable fortune rendered from copper in the time of the Civil War. It’s an extraordinary story of rags-to-riches with several lifetimes’ worth of scandal, loss, and generosity in between – a story of a remarkable family and one of American history’s greatest fortunes, both fallen into the shadows, hidden in plain sight. The breadcrumbs of this forgotten piece of social and cultural history were stumbled upon in 2009 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman who, when fanciful curiosity led him slightly out of his price range, came across an abandoned mansion while he was house-hunting in Connecticut. He soon discovered that the house, in a shambles but still handled by a manager, was owned by a woman who had never lived in it – a woman with the unfamiliar name of Huguette Clark. Further curiosity led Dedman to find out that Huguette had yet another mansion to her name on the opposite coast, as well as three expansive apartments in Manhattan. All empty. Dedman went on to investigate these abandoned residences and their elusive owner, the relatively unknown Huguette Clark, who at one hundred and two years old was living in perfect health in a Manhattan hospital – and had been for twenty years.
Tyler Knott Gregson wrote the first poem in his popular typewriter series without ever knowing there would be a typewriter series. After stumbling across an old Remington typewriter in a used bookshop, he took a page from the $2 book he was purchasing and, without ceremony (without even taking a seat), he typed out a poem. What followed was a love affair between a poet and an unchangeable medium. Gregson, a born romantic and self-proclaimed “chaser of the light”, fell in love with the honesty of writing poetry on a typewriter, the solidity of the aesthetic and its inability to be edited. He first shared his poems online to viral acclaim, and now a selection of them are available in his book, Chasers of the Light.