The Ultimate Book Gift Guide

 

Books-Are-Magic

 

If there's one thing I love, it's books (as you might have seen my recent YouTube video: 10 Books That Changed My Life!) I believe books are, as Stephen King put it, "uniquely portable magic." I meant to simply post a list of books I would recommend, but as I was scanning my bookshelves and my GoodReads page, I couldn't help but think about all of the book beliefs I hold. Here are just a few of them...

 

I believe books can transform the way you think about the world -- and yourself. They shape your values. They provide guidance and inspiration and a safe, healthy form of escape. 

I believe a little part of every book I've ever read stays with me forever, even if I don't always remember the exact words I've read. The meanings we find in words stay etched on our souls. 

I believe a space without books is lacking not only in knowledge, but in beauty as well. Some of my favorite sights are the straight, colorful spines of books. 

I believe the best books can (and should!) be read over and over again. Every time you read a book you love, you can learn something new about who you are.

I believe the best books for you won't always be the ones topping the best-seller list. I believe there're little bits of word magic found on garage sale tables and in the nooks of used book stores.

I believe we are all book-lovers at heart, even those of us who claim not to adore them. Each of us is a story-teller, and each of us loves a story well told. 

I believe you can fall in love with characters and authors and fictional places you've never been; I believe this kind of love is just as real as the heart-pounding, palm-sweating kind. 

I believe every book we read is unique to us; the reader, as much as the writer, crafts the story or explores the knowledge with her imagination and insight.

I believe there can be nuggets of goodness even in a bad book, but I don't believe in continuing to turn the pages just to reach an end. If you hate it, put it down. 

I believe a great book can make you feel less alone;  in the words on a page, you can find compassion, love, and forgiveness. A great book can be a mirror both for who you are and who you want to be. 

I believe you shouldn't believe every word you read; just because it's in print doesn't mean it's true. Books can lead to truth, but not all of them are filled with it.

I believe reading can help you to remember, and it can also help you to forget. It's up to you to choose which mindset you happen to be in the mood for. 

I believe books are a pathway to freedom. With one in your hand, you can become and learn and see absolutely anything; there are no rules inside of a book. 

I believe the best books never actually come to an end. The words continue to be read and re-read in all the words you think and speak and feel. 

I believe there will never be an end to the list of books I want to read, but I will keep doggedly plowing through my to-read list for the rest of my life. 

(Like these words? Download I Believe Books!)

 

And, most importantly, I believe everyone -- even the "I don't really get into reading" types -- can benefit from reading a great book. So here's a list of some of my favorites, along with some thoughts on who these books might be perfect for (they might speak to you or they might make perfect gifts for that holiday season that's just around the corner!)  

I've tried to sort them in to some sort of order, but truly I recommend looking through the whole list because you never know what might spark your interest (or sound perfect for someone you know!)

  

FOR ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS

For literally anyone related to you or who has a family... 
It Didn't Start with You / Mark Wolynn

For your uber-opinionated and vocal grandfather...
The Joy of Argument / Albert Navarra

For your too tough-and-cool for self-help uncle...
10% Happier / Dan Harris

For your memory-hoarding mother... 
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up / Marie Kondo

For your self-involved (but secretly sweet) teenager... 
Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges / Lori Deschene

For your not-quite-on-the-same-page spouse...
The Five Love Languages / Gary Chapman

For your romance-novel-reading mother-in-law...
Other People's Love Letters / Bill Shapiro

For your hilarious (and a bit odd) aunt...
Furiously Happy / Jenny Lawson

For your sibling with a kid who's struggling in school...
Thinking Organized / Rhonna Gordon

For the dad who thinks feminism is for women only...
Feminism Is for Everybody / bell hooks

For your aunt and uncle who're constantly bickering...
Blamestorming / Rob Kendall

For your health-conscious, foodie brother-in-law...
In Defense of Food / Michael Pollan 

For the mother who puts everyone else first... 
Too Nice for Your Own Good / Duke Robinson

For your brother who needs a bit of inspiration...
This is How / Augusten Burroughs

For your father-in-law who loves a good mystery...
Knights in White Satin / Philip DiPirro

For your sister who's against ever marrying...
Spinster / Kate Bolick

For your aunt who's self-identifies as a dog mom...
Inside of a Dog / Alexandra Horowitz

For the cousin still working on that novel...
On Writing / Stephen King

For the niece struggling through her 20s...
It's a Wonderful Lie / Emily Franklin

For the aunt who loves daily bits of insight... 
Stay Positive / Dani DiPirro (me!)

For your spouse (read it together!)...
Love 2.0 / Barbara L. Frederickson

For the sibling you've not-so-subtly resented for years... 
Forgiveness / Dani DiPirro (me!)

For your parent who's curious about self-improvement...
The Positively Present Guide to Life / Dani DiPirro (me!)

 

FOR KIDS AND TEENAGERS

For your slightly neurotic niece or nephew...
Owl at Home / Arnold Lobel

For a teenager at odds with her mother...
The Runaway Bunny / Margaret Wise Brown

For the child who's not like his/her siblings...
The Trumpet of the Swan / E.B. White

For the teen who doesn't like standing out... 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky

For the little toddler who's always a bit grumpy...
Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? / Carol McCloud

For the little one who's always daydreaming...
Once Upon a Cloud / Claire Keane

For the middle-schooler adjusting to a new place... 
I Capture the Castle / Dodie Smith

For the teen with a potentially self-destructive friend...
Looking for Alaska / John Green

For the teenage girl who love the broody boys...
The Wind Blows Backward / Mary Downing Hahn

For the girl who needs some modern advice...
Girl Talk / Christie Young

For the little girl who wants a place of her own...
Mandy / Julie Andrews Edwards

For the creative teenager who needs a pick-me-up...
Pick Me Up / Adam J. Kurtz 

For the deep-thinking, graphic-book-loving teen...
Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi

For the teenager always snapping Insta pics...
A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book / Elsie Larson

For the super creative (and a little spooky) kid...
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick / Chris Van Allsburg

For the kid who loves animals more than people...
Guardians of Being / Eckhart Tolle

 

FOR YOUR FRIENDS

For the friend who's a (not so) secret badass...
Bad Girls Throughout History / Ann Shen

For the friend going through a really tough time...
Loving What Is / Byron Katie

For the always-judging-others friend...
Compassion / Dani DiPirro (me!)

For the friend sighing, "I should try meditating..."
You Can Master Meditation / David Fontana

For the friend who needs to dump him/her ASAP...
The No-Contact Rule / Natalie Lue

For the friend who cancels plans to read instead...
Quiet: The Power of Introverts / Susan Cain

For the friend struggling to get pregnant...
The Fairy Rebel / Lynn Reid Banks

For the friend who's scared of (but needs to) change...
Start Where You Are / Meera Lee Patel

For your super creative, artistic, cool friend...
In Progress / Jessica Hische

For the friend who constantly seeks external approval...
I Need Your Love: Is That True? / Byron Katie

For the friend who recently said goodbye to a pup...
Dog Heaven / Cynthia Rylant

For the buddy who's constantly worrying...
The Power of Now / Eckhart Tolle 

For the friend with a rocky mother/daughter relationship... 
Boundaries / Anne Katherine

For your sassy friend who needs a happiness boost...
How to Be Happy, Dammit! / Karen Salmansohn

For your whimsical friend who loves a bit of magic...
The Night Circus / Erin Morgenstern

For a friend who seems like she's really lost...
Wild / Cheryl Strayed

For the friend that still keeps a diary...
The Folded Clock / Heidi Julavits

For the pal that needs to figure out what she wants...
The Desire Map / Danielle LaPorte

For the guy who's always crying over his ex...
The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald

For your feminist friend who feels all the feels...
I Am an Emotional Creature / Eve Ensler

For your buddy who's always searching the next rush...
Hector and the Search for Happiness / François Lelord

 

FOR YOUR COLLEAGUES

For the creative-but-frazzled coworker...
Calm / Michael Acton Smith

For the coworker who needs to follow her passion...
The Crossroads of Should and Must / Elle Luna

For the too-creative-for-this place coworker...
Big Magic / Elizabeth Gilbert

For the coworker who's always super stressed...
Living in the Moment / Dani DiPirro (me!)

For the colleague always around adults...
The Little Prince / Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For someone who needs a bit of motivation...
It's Not How Good You Are... / Paul Arden

For the coworker who's always complaining...
Gratitude / Dani DiPirro (me!)

For the a stylish guy/gal who loves soul-searching...
Style Statement / Danielle LaPorte

For the coworker getting his kids a puppy...
The Puppy Primer / Patricia B. McConnell

For the guy always yelling in his office...
Emotional Agility / Susan David, PhD

For that colleague always looking for gossip...
PostSecret / Frank Warren

For that guy always looking for a project...
The Happiness of Pursuit / Chris Guillebeau

For the colleague always finding the bad stuff...
You Can Be an Optimist / Lucy MacDonald

For the coworker who should run her own business...
#GirlBoss / Sophia Amoruso

For the HR guy who loves analyzing people... 
The Social Animal / David Brooks 

For your colleague who can't choose a lunch spot...
The Paradox of Choice / Barry Schwartz

For the boss who's perpetually stressed out...
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work / Richard Carlson

For the trivia-loving data dude in IT...
The Visual Miscellaneum / David McCandless

For the admin who needs to pursue her dreams...
Now Is The Time To Do What You Love / Nancy Whitney-Reiter

 

Phew! That's quite a list, huh? I'd love to keep adding to it -- it is the Ultimate Book Gift Guide, after all -- so feel free to leave me a comment below or send me a message on social media about the books you'd include on this list. I'm always looking to add to that never-ending pile of to-read books! :)

If you liked the words above and would like a FREE PDF to download and print, click here or click the image below to download a PNG file, perfect for saving to Pinterest or keeping on your computer! :)

I-Believe-Books


7-day gratitude challenge + giveaway!

7-Day-Gratitude-Challenge

If you've been following Positively Present for awhile, you're probably familiar with the annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge that takes place every November. It's obviously not November, but this week I'm hosting a mini Gratitude Photo Challenge to promote the launch of two of my four new books from the Effortless Inspiration series

Not familiar with the Gratitude Photo Challenge? Basically it's this: you take a photo of something you're grateful for (use the prompts below or post anything you like), post it on social media with the hashtag #PositivelyGrateful, and that's it! You don't have to have any special photography skills or tools -- only a desire to be grateful and to share that gratitude with others. 

There are two differences between the annual challenge and this one: (1) this one's only seven days, and (2) every time you share a photo, you're entered to win two books: Gratitude and Living in the Moment! Yay! See below for prompts and giveaway details. 

 

THE PROMPTS

Below are prompts for the 7-Day Gratitude Challenge, but you definitely don't have to stick to these. Feel free to post photos about anything you're grateful for. Just be sure to use the #PositivelyGrateful hashtag if you want a chance to win the new books! 

 

DAY 1: WISDOM

Wisdom is such a wonderful part of life. Consider, for a moment, how much you've learned since you were born. It's amazing how much knowledge and inspiration we carry inside ourselves and, too often, we forget to be thankful for all that we've learned from others and from our experiences. For Day 1 of the challenge, share some wisdom you've learned (or maybe even some that you're still trying to master!). 

 

DAY 2: HOME

Home is where the heart is, they say. I say, home is where you feel most at ease and most like yourself. Home isn't always a place. It might be a person or a feeling that you call "home." Today, think about what home means for you. Is it a physical location in which you feel empowered? Is it a place inside yourself that makes you feel peaceful? Use today to document, and feel thankful for, where you feel most at home. 

 

DAY 3: LOVE

Love is one of the greatest experiences in life and it comes in so many forms. Each and every moment of love is deserving of your recognition and appreciation. On this third day of the challenge, think about how you share love in your life? How do you feel when you act in loving ways? How does it feel when others share love with you? What things, people, places do you love most? Share an image today of what love means to you. 

 

DAY 4: NATURE

The world we live in is a magical place, but all too often we take our surroundings for granted. Connecting with the natural world brings about feelings of inner peace and can help us be more mindful. Be thankful for your experiences with nature by sharing them today. Look around you. What kinds of nature can you see? How has nature inspired or empowered you? Are there certain aspects of nature you connect with more than others? Photograph what moves you most. 

 

DAY 5: FOOD

To survive, we all need food. At its most basic level, it provides us with nutrition and vital resources to keep our bodies and minds functioning properly, but for most of us, food also comes with a certain level of mindful joy. Today, reflect on some of your favorite dining experiences and, if you can, try to really take time to enjoy whatever you're eating today. So many of us take the amazing experience of eating for granted; today, celebrate and be thankful for it. 

 

DAY 6: WORK

Being thankful for work can sometimes be a challenge in and of itself. Not everyone has an enjoyable job and even those who do face work-related hardships. Whatever your career (or student) status, take today to be thankful for your current job situation. What are the things you enjoy about it? Are there any people there that you're happy to see each day? Are you grateful for the money your job brings you? Even if it's tough, share what you love about your work today. 

 

DAY 7: SELF

How often do you pause and reflect on how amazing it is that you're you? Consider all of the many paths you could have taken, the various roads that would have led you to different experiences and people, things that might have shaped you in entirely different ways. Everything you've ever done, said, or felt has brought you to this day, has created the person you are right now. Today, focus on your best qualities and document what you appreciate most about yourself. 

 

Now that you've got the prompts, you're ready to begin the challenge -- and enter the giveaway! Two winners will be chosen on Monday, May 9, and each winner will receive a copy of my two new books: Gratitude and Living in the Moment. See below for entry rules and details. 

 

7-Day-Gratitude-Giveaway

  

HOW TO ENTER

Enter by doing one (or all!) of the following. Each counts as an entry!   


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

  • Every follow / share / tweet / like, etc. counts as one entry
  • Enter as many times as you'd like to increase your chances
  • Two (2) winners will be chosen + notified on May 9, 2016
  • Each winner receives Gratitude and Living in the Moment

 

I'm so looking forward to seeing your gratitude-themed photos, and I can't wait to share mine this week as well. And, of course, if you don't feel like participating, you can still check out the hashtag #PositivelyGrateful to be inspired by others' gratitude!  


hooray! effortless inspiration coming soon!

New-Books

You might have already heard the news on Instagram awhile back, but today I'm officially sharing the details of my upcoming books! I'm soooo excited to announce that in 2016 I have not one, not two, but FOUR new books coming out! [Insert wide-eyed emoji face here.]

These four books are part of a series called Effortless Inspiration for a Happier Life, designed and written by me for Watkins Publishing. The goal of these compact books is to provide bite-sized inspiration and on-the-go insights on four topics that are absolutely essential for living a positively present life: living in the moment, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness. 

Creation of these little books began last year, and it's so exciting that they'll be arriving on bookshelves in 2016! Read on for more details about the series and the individual books. (And keep scrolling to see how you can download a free PDF sample!)

 

ABOUT THE EFFORTLESS INSPIRATION SERIES

What's so exciting about these books is how different they are from anything else I've created before (like Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present and The Positively Present Guide to Life)! Each little book features 18 inspirations quotes on a specific topic (Living in the MomentGratitude, Compassion, or Forgiveness) followed by an insightful explanation, a thought-provoking activity or question, and a memorable affirmation. The design and layout of these books was created with the goal of keeping inspiration accessible, providing insights that can be incorporated into day-to-day life.

Just as I strive to do here on Positively Present, these books were created with the intention of providing uplifting, inspiring content that you can actually use in your real life. Here's a sample from the Gratitude book: 

Gratitude-SampleDownload a PDF Sample Here!

Isn't it pretty?! I'm so pleased with how they turned out! (The colors pop even more in person!) Of course, looks aren't everything. The real purpose of these books is to zero in on important topics and here's a breakdown of each topic (with release dates!): 

 

LivingCover

Living in the Moment
(click to preorder!)

UK: May 19, 2016 / US: September 13, 2016

Life transpires in the present. Yet so often we let the present slip away, wasting precious seconds worrying about the future or ruminating about what's passed. Learning to live in the moment (also known as mindfulness) can have immense power to stop us focusing so much on doing and thinking and instead focus on being.

Living in the Moment inspires readers to think about mindfulness in a fresh way, while encouraging them to incorporate it into their everyday lives. Mindful people tend to feel more relaxed, less distracted, more balanced and decisive. They have increased energy and self-esteem as well as greater productivity, stronger relationships, and an enhanced immune system.

With its appealing design, uplifting content and friendly tone, this little book on living in the now provides beautiful, bite-sized inspiration for people around the world to live in the now. And, with increased awareness, we can really savor each of life's precious moments.

 

GratitudeCover

Gratitude
(click to preorder!)

UK: May 19, 2016 / US: September 13, 2016

Cultivating gratitude doesn't cost any money and doesn't take much time, but the benefits can be enormous, helping you focus on what you have rather than what you don't: friends and family, positive personal qualities, your surroundings, a healthy body, a vibrant mind, and the list goes on.

Research has shown that grateful people tend to be less envious, more relaxed, more humble, more emotionally resilient, and less materialistic. They have increased energy, greater self-esteem, increased productivity, and are able to build stronger relationships. What's more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children.

Modern design paired uplifting content make this little book on gratitude essential for anyone seeking beautiful, bite-sized inspiration to live more grateful, contented life.

 

CompassionCover 

Compassion
(click to preorder!)

UK / US: October 18, 2016

Compassion is the ability to feel sympathetic towards those who are suffering while desiring to relieve their pain. It's not just a feeling -- it's a desire to help others who are struggling or in pain. Imagine what the world would be like if we all experienced compassion on a daily basis!

Recent scientific research has shown that compassionate people tend to be more understanding, less angry, and less stressed than other people, with stronger relationships and even enhanced immune systems. People who live with compassion or show concern for others' wellbeing also tend to create a more harmonious atmosphere around them. Compassion breeds compassion, leading to all-round enhanced contentment.

Compassion is a topic that's often discussed around the world in relation to kindness and generosity, but rarely is it explored on is own. This little book, with its modern take on the subject and uplifting inspiration, brings light to a life-changing subject that will appeal to readers around the world.  

 

ForgivenessCover

Forgiveness
(click to preorder!)

UK / US: October 18, 2016

To forgive is to be free. Forgiveness is one of life's great challenges; it is so difficult to let go of anger and pain once you've been hurt. But people who forgive both themselves and others tend to feel more relaxed and open, have less risk of getting stressed or depressed, and experience stronger relationships.

Holding on to past resentments and negative energy tends to cause painful memories to fester in our subconscious, which prevents us from moving forward with joy in life. Learning forgiveness allows us to move on, to create more peace in our lives, and to release ourselves from re-experiencing painful moments. 

Tucked within the pages of this book, readers will find insights and inspiration for letting go of pain, cultivating a forgiving heart, and ultimately finding a deeper sense of awareness and peace. 

  

FABULOUS FEATURES

Each of the four books will feature a similar carefully-designed layout created with the intention of providing thought-provoking (but accessible!) content. The beauty of these little books is that, while they have a beautifully consistent layout (making them a gorgeous little collection as a whole), each one zeroes in on a very specific topic, allowing readers to really home in on the subject matter.

Though each book as a unique theme, they all share these fabulous features: 

  • Inspiring Quotes: Each book features 18 quotes on its specific subject. 18! That's a lot of quotes for one topic! It was so much fun to for me to go in search of these quotes, looking for inspiration that would spark new ways of thinking about each concept, and each one has been carefully chosen to suit each topic. 

  • Bite-Sized Wisdom: Quotes are wonderful (I can't get enough of them, as you may have seen on Instagram!), but sometimes it's nice to take them a step further and explore what they're actually saying. Each quote in each book is followed by a bit of wisdom written to provoke deeper thinking. 

  • Easy-to-Do Exercises: I know, "exercises" sounds like work, but I promise these are actually enjoyable -- and so, so worth it to create more presence, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness in your life. With each quote in the book, you'll find an activity you can do to bring inspiration into your life. 

  • Motivating Mantras: Mantras aren't something I use often, but sometimes you really just need a short phrase that you can use to remind yourself to focus your attention. Each section of each book concludes with a simple, powerful statement that you can use to remind yourself to stay present / grateful / compassionate / forgiving. 

  • Top 10 Lists: Sometimes you just need a list of actionable ideas to take what you've learned and apply it to your life. Each book features lists (like, "Top 10 Ways to Stay Present at Work") filled with inspiration to take the quotes and exercises even further in your day-to-day life. 

  • Beautiful Layouts: I designed these myself so I'm a tad bit biased, but I really think the layouts turned out beautifully. Of course the content is what's most important, but if it's beautifully packaged in bright colors with simple, inspiring illustrations, that certainly doesn't hurt, does it? 

 

If you have any desire to stay present, be grateful, cultivate compassion, or find forgiveness, these are absolutely the books for you. If you can't tell, I'm SUPER excited about these books, and I really hope you will be too! Yay for new books!