New Year, New Reads

By Monica Hand – December 31, 2018


At last, 2019 is here, and so are those countless resolutions of things to do more of in the new year. If your lists include anything along the lines of laughing, learning, earning or even just reading more, then these books are the perfect fit for your new year routine. 

Feed Your Soul: Nutritional Wisdom to 
Lose Weight Permanently and Live Fulfilled 

by Carly Pollack

Carly Pollack is a certified clinical nutritionist specializing in holistic nutrition and spiritual advancement. She founded Nutritional Wisdom, a holistic health private practice and has been awarded best nutritionist in Austin five years running by AFM. Her new book blends an understanding of body science, brain wiring and heart spirit to facilitate real, long-term change. In the language of a fellow struggler, Pollack helps readers reframe their thinking and focus on long-term goals rather than immediate “gratification.” She foregoes theory and jargon to cut to the chase with “Skimmer’s Delight” chapter summations and “Make it Stick” reminders. Feed Your Soul is a holistic guide to weight loss that explores the mental, emotional and spiritual factors that support a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. The book releases February 5 and is now available for pre-order. To hear more from Carly, you can sign up for weekly newsletters and free advice at or check out her private practice at
Pollack even shared an exclusive excerpt from Feed Your Soul with us so you won’t have to wait until February: 

There’s a point in the process of dieting, usually close to the beginning, when we experience hopeful euphoria. The diet is working for us, we feel great and we feel like we’ve finally got it. It’s the point at which we think about our past behaviors and exclaim that we are never going back to that old way of eating again! We are essentially high on the diet, and we want to climb a mountain and scream from the top, “I’m cured!” A few weeks later, we leave our favorite Thai restaurant feeling disgusted (and yet somewhat impressed) with how much pad thai we were able to shove down our gullets. We think back to our mountaintop moment and wonder why and how we have fallen so far from grace. Does restricting our food intake release some special endorphins that make us appear more confident than we really are? If we were truly that happy about all the positive eating changes, then why did we go back to our old patterns?

Because I have visited the mountaintop a time or two (or 10), I have the answer to why we fall so hard from grace and directly into a bag of chips. It is also the key to understanding why diets don’t work.

Consider this formula:

Thoughts →  Emotions →  Behaviors → Reward or Consequence

Diets don’t work because they focus on behavior modification and nothing more. Eat this, don’t eat that; and if you eat that, you break the rules of the diet, and that makes you lazy, inadequate, weak, unlovable, and [insert insult] here. If we are brave and vulnerable enough to look more deeply at what truly needs to be healed, we will have success in eliminating our negative behaviors at their root. It is our minds that drive the eating bus. In fact, our thoughts drive every emotion we feel, and how we feel will dictate how we act. Unless we change the original thought/story, we will recreate the same painful pattern, a nightmarish diet-induced Groundhog Day.

You Are a Badass at Making Money 

by Jen Sincero

The New York Times best-selling author Jen Sincero has written yet another badass book to get you through the year. Her first book, You Are a Badass, gave insight on how to stop doubting yourself and just embrace who you are by focusing on the parts of your reality that are entirely up to you. Now, with a second book with the same theme of badassery, she gives you the financial advice you need to hear about taking control of your own wealth and income.

In You Are a Badass at Making Money, Sincero not only gives you all of the hard-to-hear actualities about your situation and thought processes on moving forward, but she also utilizes her uniquely entertaining voice to keep you engaged through every chapter. As she once again pulls you out from that thought of being any kind of victim of circumstances, there is no one that wouldn’t benefit from her encouraging push, no matter their situation or income. 

The Book of Joy: Lasting 
Happiness in a Changing World 

by Dalai Lama

On His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s eightieth birthday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu traveled to Dharamsala, India to not only celebrate with him but to collaborate on this masterpiece of a discussion of happiness in this world of hardship. Described as their gift to the world, the book lays the pillars, definitions, characteristics and obstacles of joy through their intimate conversations of their own struggles and individual journeys that lead them both separately to the same wisdom. 

The friendship unfolds page after page as they share tears, jokes and everything that makes us all so distinctly human — creating a narrative that is all the more real and inspiring for each of us to chase after that undying joy they both are so well known for possessing and sharing. As the book depicts the ways in which their journies to happiness included intense obstructions, it becomes much like a map to follow and learn from with their lessons intermixed in a beautifully written fashion.

Brief Answers to Big Questions 

by Stephen Hawking

Though the world lost Stephen Hawking in March 2018, his inspirational story and legacy of discoveries will never be forgotten. Many feel as if he left too soon now that some of the greatest issues are rearing their heads at humanity and coming to the foreground in debates throughout international communities. Yet, with this book, he leaves us his final opinions, characteristic wits and potential ideas on 10 of these insatiably curious questions that seem larger than life. Questions covered include: Will We Survive on Earth? Can We Predict The Future? How Do We Shape the Future? 

The book opens with an extremely touching foreword written by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his performance as Stephen Hawking matched by a heartfelt afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy. Between these pieces that exemplify how he touched lives at a personal level, each of those 10 questions receives a chapter devoted to discussing it all on its own. As a final goodbye from Hawking to the world, and in a way a goodbye to Hawking from the world, it is a must-read in 2019. 

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual 

by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, known for his writings on food and philosophy, has created a number-one New York Times best-seller with this sensible guide to navigating three burning questions in the world of food: What Should I Eat?, What Kinds of Foods Should I Eat?, and How Should I Eat? And now its the perfect addition to your reading list this January as the atmosphere becomes clouded with conflicting diet and fitness advice. 

Pollan is known for his “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” take on dieting. This book delves a little deeper by breaking it down into 64 straightforward and entertaining rules. Drawing from health and wellness traditions across generations and cultures, Pollan outlines the best-kept secrets and forgotten wisdoms into these principles, and each gets a single page devoted to it. 


by Stephen King

Like many of Stephen King’s iconic tales, Elevation takes place in his fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. However, there are unique aspects to this piece that separates it from the rest of King’s work. Not only is the novel short and small in size, especially compared to King’s It, but it also has very little dark or ominous themes throughout the storyline. Elevation follows Scott Carey as he struggles with an elusive ailment that seems otherworldly. As he accepts his possible incurable fate, his perception on the divided town shifts and he becomes unlikely partners with a lesbian couple that lives next door who were a source of conflict in his daily life. 

As Carey learns to overcome his own prejudices and attempts to leave Castle Rock better than he found it, King creates something of a parable for modern times — a commentary that maybe we all can get along no matter how deeply our differences may run. 



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