Since I have been playing so many video games lately, the books on my to-read list have been adding up. Over a year of staying home hasn’t exactly helped, either. I’ve been more and more distracted while at home, especially since I used to get most of my reading done on my commute. The adjustment has been tricky, but now it’s time to make some progress in some really helpful, entertaining titles.
While I was really into poetry collections earlier this year, now I’m turning my attention back to nonfiction, particularly in the self-help and essay variety. Over quarantine, I purchased many books that would propel my self-discovery and reflect, but I only ended up getting to a few of them. Here are the books on my to-read list that I can’t wait to sink my teeth (or eyes?) into.
Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff
I bought Self-Compassion around the same time I bought The Highly Sensitive Person and Attached, and I still haven’t gotten to it. Self-help books are a lot to ingest, so I paused for a bit to take a break and never revisited it. Now, it’s currently at the top of my list sinceI could use a little more help in the self-love department. And when I love myself, it’s much easier for me to spread some of that love to others, too.
Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose
As soon as a friend recommended this essay collection to me, I immediately added it to my Amazon cart. Not only did the title (which is a Virginia Woolf reference) win me over, but the summary did, too. It’s described as “a beautiful and surprising exploration of what it means to be a first-generation, creative young woman working today.” Sounds like I love it already.
What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky has been one of my favorite writers and columnists for a few years now, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve yet to read her essay collection. It’s honestly unacceptable, if you ask me. If it’s anywhere near as good as her Ask Polly newsletter—which I devour weekly and save to Notion, yellow with highlights—then I know I’ll just love her essay collection. I know I need it now more than ever, and I can’t wait to give it the attention it deserves.
The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz
It’s been a while since I’ve read The Four Agreements (alright, more like skimmed it), but The Fifth Agreement has been staring at me on my bookshelf for God knows how long. I’ve picked it up, reread the introduction, and thumbed through it numerous times. However, it’s one of those books I know I need to take notes for, and I haven’t been in the mindset for that—until recently.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster
I’m not going to lie—this book has been on my to-read list since a particularly difficult breakup. Why I haven’t gotten to it yet is beyond me; it sounds like a friend anyone would be happy to have. Described as “brutally honest, and often hilarious,” this book by a former VP at Comedy Central is apparently one of the self-love books everyone should read, especially around their late 20s. And since I’m already 30, there’s no time to waste.
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker
Alright, so I lied—one poetry collection did make it on this list, and it’s this one by Morgan Parker. It topped many “Best Of” lists in 2017 (including The Oprah Magazine’s), so naturally, it wound up on my radar. I was already sold from the title, but even more so by the description: “Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined…[these poems] are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.” And I’m here for that.
What books are currently on your to-read list? Are they waiting patiently beside your bed or on your shelf, or have you yet to buy them? I’d love to know!
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.