People who know me a little know that I love to read. For me, little beats a literary journey where I get completely absorbed/ lost in an entirely different world. Fortunately, buying an e-reader has allowed me to curb the actual volume my book addiction requires. Although, in my opinion, some books really need to be read on paper for even more reading pleasure (-:
I am happy to share with you here my top 10 of 2022.
1. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone - Lori Gottlieb
Topping the list is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by psychologist and author Lori Gottlieb. Translated in Dutch to Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.
This book is guaranteed to lead to a book hangover. While reading it, I couldn't put it down and now that the book is out, I long back to the time it didn't let me go.
Lori gives you in this book a (very) intimate look into her practice. She describes 4 trajectories with clients and before you know it, you can't put the book away because you have to know how it goes with John, Julie, Rita and Charlotte. Interesting detail is that Lori not only talks about her clients, but also shares her own trajectory with a psychologist with the reader.
The book reads nicely, brings you to tears, touches you to the bone and is also very informative between the lines.
This book may even be not only my No. 1 of 2022, but of the entire millennium....
2. Growing Up Unseen - Lindsay C. Gibson
Growing Up Unseen: recovery after a childhood with narcissistic, rejecting or distant parents by Lindsay C. Gibson.
I must admit, this book is a tough one... I have not finished it (by a long shot) for that reason, but every chapter read is one full of insights. Both as a coach and as a human being.
Written for children of emotionally immature parents who wonder why they felt so lonely during their childhood. Why even in their adult lives they so often adapt to others at the expense of themselves. Or why they have such difficulty admitting feeling, are perfectionists or why they are still not happy.
Unseen Growing Up helps you view your parents objectively. It helps you let go of expectations (and disappointments) and build a more mature relationship with them. It also helps you let go of destructive patterns and prevent old patterns from your system of origin from being repeated in your current relationships.
3. Permission to Feel - Marc Brackett
Permission to feel. What a ridiculous title. Right? Or isn't it? How good are we really at allowing our emotions? To even respond honestly when someone "All right!" "asks"?
Suck it up, buttercup", "don't be a pussy", "gay", "sissy", "ehw, are you such a sensitive type?". Anyone who has ever had these statements thrown at their heads knows how incredibly hurtful they are.
In this book, Yale professor Marc Brackett gently gives his reader a pithy message about the importance of being able and daring to feel and what happens when we don't, because the pain or trauma we feel continues to prevail.
It clearly explains why feelings are "messy," that we have them no-matter-what, they always find a way out, what the price of not allowing yourself to feel emotions is, and what we can do with them.
4. Emotional Agility - Susan David Phd.
A great complement to (or preceding) Permission to Feel. Prof. Susan David is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of emotions. I have been following her work for years and what has stuck with me most, and in turn may teach my clients, is the concept of "emotional granularity. I translate it as "emotional layering.
Did you know that you never have 1 emotion? That there are different emotions underneath that obvious emotion of stress, irritation, anger or joy? And that the journey of discovery into that emotional stratification is not only spicy but also enlightening, insightful and soothing?
Susan's key question: what is the function of our emotions, or in other words, what the func!?
5. Atlas of the Heart - Dr. Brené Brown
An encyclopedia of emotions of sorts. Years of research on emotions and their meaning have resulted in a list of 87 emotions, categorized by "places we go when ...". For example, when things get too much for us, when we compare to others, when we are in pain, feel inadequate, seek connection or when our hearts are open.
The beauty of this book is that you don't have to read it from A to Z, but can open it whenever you get stuck or overwhelmed by emotions.
"We can't have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same."Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someon
6. Longing for Connection - Dr. Brené Brown
We humans want nothing more than to belong to the group. What causes this, why it is so difficult to live authentically and how we can experience connection with others as well as with ourselves, is explained in this super accessible book by researcher Brené Brown.
Brené relates her own experiences in this book, weaving through years of her own research. Through this style of writing, she makes science accessible to everyone and has already written several books that are hard to put down once you start reading them.
7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow
A person sometimes just needs to be able to unwind with a book without triggering violent brain processes. This book does just that, but in the meantime takes you through endless doors to magical worlds with priceless artistic treasures.
8. Normal People - Sally Rooney
Not a book in the psychology category, the storyline is deep and the characters have body. A book with a little hangover afterwards and that's why it really earned a spot on my list!
9. The Desolations of Devil's Acre - Ransom Riggs
Why do I read books like this!!!?!? Way too exciting for my visually oriented, highly sensitive brain! This is already the sixth book I've read in the series on Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children . Great fantasy that is meant for adults (read: too horrifying for kids to read), but also definitely gives me heart palpitations.
Must ... know ... how ... it ... ends!
10. Big Panda & Little Dragon -James Norbury
Wise, loving lessons à la Winnie the Pooh, captured in little stories about getting lost, living in the moment, making peace with uncertainty and dealing with life's obstacles.
PS Of course, I could put an affiliate link to a large online bookstore here, but ... as a true lover of literature, I prefer to support small(er) bookstores where you can browse books live. Tell me, nothing beats a place where you can hold a book and browse through it before you buy it, right? Personally, I like to go to Donner bookstore in Rotterdam, but I also visit smaller bookstores in cities (Zutphen, Maastricht) or villages (Oostvoorne, Bergen, among others).
On my list for 2023 are:
- The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
- Good Enough - Lori Gottlieb. A book about finding (not) the true one.
That I am absolutely a fan of Lori, should be obvious. Along with Guy Winch, she has a great podcast, Dear Therapists, which I often share certain episodes of with my clients. They learn from this, for example, what stating boundaries sounds like, how to deal with critical parents and how to deal with a broken heart.
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: The Workbook - Lori Gottlieb
- Toxic Positivity - Whitney Goodman. Or Toxic positivity. About the impact toxic positivity, suppressing the unpleasant feelings, can have on your mental health. And about learning to manage your own emotions and those of others.
- How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain - Lisa Feldman Barrett. This one has been on my list for years. In 2023, I'm going to get it!
- The Neuroscience of You: How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours - Chantel Prat
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know - Adam Grant. Go from know-it-all to learn-it-all with the latest book from researcher and Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant.
- Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief - David Kessler. From one of the researchers on the five stages of grief (and no, they are not linear!) has come out a book on the sixth stage: finding meaning.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams. About the need to always have a towel with you and why number 42 is the answer to everything in the universe. Started this years ago and never finished due to moving. 2023 Will be the year of the Hitchhiker's Guide!
- The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan. Considering my history of heart palpitations and inability to put away exciting books, probably not a convenient place to start. But ... the high sensation-seeking hsp in me can't resist 😀
- The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd. After falling in love with her The Invention of Wings, I wanted to read more of Monk Kidd's ouvre. For now, I am skeptical because I secretly don't believe it will impress me as much as Invention. Or shall I dive into one of her other bestsellers first anyway?
- Trauma traces - Bessel van der Kolk
- Come as You Are - Emily Nagoski
Am I missing an absolute must-read here? Do let me know!