What's on the Shelf?

Inspiring Books By & For Women

Everything your kindergarten teacher told you about reading is true: it bolsters your brain by expanding your vocabulary, improving your memory, and developing critical thinking skills. Beyond that, reading reduces stress and allows you to travel through space and time. Returning to a favorite book is like being embraced by an old friend; finding a new favorite book can be both surprising and exhilarating. We hope a taste of these artfully written books by women authors transports you to new and special places. 

"Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City"

by Andrea ElliottThis moving, compelling work from a writer with The New York Times tells the inspiring but heartbreaking story of a close-knit family as they wrestle with hunger and homelessness, all while yearning for a different path. We meet Dasani at age 12 caring for her seven siblings sharing a single room, as she discovers an opportunity for a new life at boarding school in Pennsylvania. Elliott originally introduced Dasani in a series of front-page features for the Times; the book continues the tale as Dasani meets the mayor of New York City and becomes a poster child for change, even as her own family continued to struggle.

Key Takeaway: From her subway dance parties to insightful late night discussions, spend some time with Dasani and be inspired by her indomitable spirit.

"The Little Book of Life Skills: Deal with Dinner, Manage Your Email, Make a Graceful Exit, and 152 Other Expert Tricks"

by Erin Zammet Ruddy

Looking for a few tips on adulting? From ironing a shirt to getting a good night's sleep to properly pumping gas (did you know it's illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey?) this quick read can help with everything from keeping a house plant alive to providing constructive feedback to your boss.

Key Takeaway: With short chapters and self-effacing humor, longtime lifestyle writer Ruddy gives bite-sized, humorous wisdom with details from her own experience, as well as tips and tricks from experts, such as Rachel Ray and Arianna Huffington.

"Transcendent Kingdom"

By Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi's sophomore book is a lyrical, character-driven story following a Ghanian family in Alabama that deals with faith, science, addiction and loss. Narrator Gifty is a fifth-year neuroscience student at Stanford, studying how the brain processes rewards in mice. She chose this path to help understand the suffering that permeates her life, especially in her own family and her roles as daughter, sister, friend and scientist.

Key Takeaway: You will be thinking about this story (and wanting to call the women you love) long after you finish this excellent book.

"The Kitchen Front"

By Jennifer Ryan

Set in the English countryside during WWII, four different women vie for a coveted spot on a BBC cooking show: a war widow raising three boys, her high society sister, a humble kitchen maid, and a French-trained chef with a secret. With changing points of view, this book weaves together the women's stories and friendships in a heartwarming, engaging style. Authentic recipes from the period are included, including fascinating ingredients that war-time rations necessitated.

Key Takeaway: If you've been bingeing the Great British Baking Show, you'll love this book.

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