November Book Recommendations / by Deborah Clague

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Written by Elizabeth Gilbert

I've reached a point in life and career where my confidence and trust in instinct guides everything I do. Experience sharpens the blade. It has taken many (many) years of failure and self-doubt to reach this stage of nirvana though. I wish I had taken the time to read a book like this when I was first starting out and constantly comparing myself to others; Elizabeth Gilbert's advice to create just for the sake of self purpose (not wealth, prestige or any other ego-stroking distraction) is truly what it's all about. The only part of this book I didn't like was when the author talked about creative pursuits not mattering as much as, say, being a health care provider or accountant. I argue: art, whether through written word, imagery or song, has the ability to educate, influence and touch the soul in a way that is incomparable … and invaluable to life. 

Favorite line: "Most of all, though, he asked his students to be brave. Without Bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, their lives would remain small – far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be."

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Written by Mindy Kaling

Whether describing embarrassing incidents from her childhood, sharing insight gained after suffering self-esteem issues during adolescence, or writing about her curious experiences post-achieving fame and success, Mindy Kaling speaks with a relatable, engaging voice that I felt was somewhat more sophisticated than some of her peers. The book is part memoir, part sharing of knowledge gained through living an exceptional life that all started with simply believing in one's self and working hard to actualize ambition. 

Favourite line: "Getting professionally beautified was all that I dreamed about doing when I was an asexual-looking little kid. That's because my parents dressed both my brother and me according to roughly exactly the same aesthetic: Bert from Ernie and Bert."

Yes, Please
Written by Amy Poehler

A friend of mine recommended this book, describing it as a memoir by a strong, funny female that I would probably appreciate. I admit to being somewhat indifferent to Amy Poehler and most SNL alumni, skimming over a portion of the copy relating specifically to this and her early improv days. However, her advice on achieving and maintaining success was entertaining and relevant to any profession. Success is never about luck, it's about extremely hard work, and it's refreshing to hear someone be honest about that.  

Favorite line: "Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have."