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Fantastic list!

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Thank you Alex!

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I want to be the woman in the bookstore who gave you Emily SJM books. What an angel. Station 11 is one I give friends all the time.

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I will never forget her!

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Incredible list! I added all the missing elements to my wishlist – thank you so much – I really appreciate this! I finished the year off with 'Caliban And The Witch', which was utterly mind-blowing, and am starting the New Year with 'The Myth of Normal' and Pema's latest. Wishing you the best! ❤️✨

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Pema's latest is so good! I'm halfway through it and trying to slow my roll lols. And Caliban. Ugh. Just perfect. Happy new year Tara <3

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Holly I know it took a ton of time to develop this post. Thank you so much. It’s something I’ll come back to again and again!

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Aww thank you Whitney <3

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Run by Ann Patchett. Thank you Holly xoo

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Ohhh! I haven't read any AP in years. Thank you for this!

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Jan 2, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

These Precious Days is a must read!

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Completely inappropriately busting in to say I love AP’s book of essays This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Her essay about trying out for the LAPD is so memorable. You might like it if you’re in the mood for light and fun but still meaningful

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Great list, thanks! I am THRILLED to find out you'll be talking to Angela Chan, can't wait to listen to that podcast!!

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IT IS SO GOOD. She's fucking brilliant.

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Is it going to be on the Quitted podcast?? 😍 I love your podcast!

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Oh this list is amazing and now I want to read all of them! Top of my list in the last yearish was Tarana Burke’s Unbound.

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I haven't read that yet! Adding to the list. Thank you!

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Thank you for all of your work on Recovering this year Holly, and for compiling this list, it reminded me of some of the great books I've read these past 12 months that you recommended, including The Myth of Normal and I'm Glad My Mom Died. I now have many more that I want to start! I'm also pleased that you mentioned The Copenhagen Trilogy - I devoured that one a few years back and feel it's a seriously underrated book.

And to anyone who's thinking about doing The Mantra Project, I did it a couple of months back and got a lot out of it.

Wishing you, Holly, and everyone else here a happy and healthy 2023.

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Thanks Tom for being here and supporting it. It means a lot. The Copenhagen Trilogy was just, gutting and I wanted so much more. I'm almost afraid to read any of her other stuff. If I stopped buying books now I think I'd still have enough to get me through the rest of my life with some to spare. Thanks for being here and same to you, happy happy 2023. <3

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Such a great list. I've sat reading through it and spending money buying books I can't really afford. I find myself feeling elated as a result.

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lol. Same. Always.

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I love this, thank you :-)

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<3

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Brain fog kept me from reading book-length material until just recently, and Prairie Fires was the first book that has resonated with me.

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Deb I hope that means your brain fog lifted. I had covid related bf and it was just, awful even though short lived. adding prairie fires to my list! Thank you <3

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Great list Holly, thanks for this. The best books I read between April 2021 and the end of 2022 are

bell hooks—The Will To Change

Rachel Kushner—The Hard Crowd

Rebecca Solnit—Recollections of My Nonexistence

Leslie Jamison—The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath

Dorothy Carrington's book about Corsica called Granite Island

Melissa Febos—Body Work

Carl Erik Fisher—The Urge

Brian Broome—Punch Me Up To The Gods

Grayson Perry—The Descent of Man

Kim Stanley Robinson—The High Sierra: A Love Story

Maia Szalavitz—Unbroken Brain

It's hard to pick just one, but looking back at that list, my overall favorite read is probably KSR's book about the Sierra, because of my own love the the mountains, the depth of personal experience that he manages to transmit so beautifully, and also for the fascinating insight into a totally different side of this very successful novelist and science fiction writer. All of these books have had a lasting and present impact on me. hooks' book of course was written quite some time ago, and even Grayson Perry's book isn't brand new, but both shed new light on gender, masculinity, and love.

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Thanks Bowen! I loved the will to change too, it's one of those gems I don't think enough people know about. Some really good ones here, Body Work was sensational. I'm adding The High Sierra to my list <3

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Right on Holly. I’ve added a few of the books you mentioned to my list as well. By the way, I am interviewing Kim Stanley Robinson for the next episode of my podcast! I don’t know if you’re familiar with his main body of work, but... I’d love to hear... what would you ask him?

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I loved Last Call by Elon Green, a true-crime book about a serial killer targeting gay men in 1980s/90s NYC. He really did the work of talking to the people who loved these men and painting complete portraits of who they were, vs. the focus on the killer that so many true-crime stories lean toward.

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Thanks Kat! adding...

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With regard to:

Saving the Modern Soul: Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help

I am going to be 60 in March. I was in therapy every single week from 19-49. AA and Alanon did more for me than 25 years of therapy. I was over medicated (in my view because I had excellent insurance) and it was not until I chewed my arm off from the shackle of my co-dependent relationship with the therapist and got in recovery (and off Prescribed medicines:

Ambien, Risperidone, Depakote and whatever cocktail of the antidepressant of the year) and started WALKING and meditating every single day did I get my life back. I was brainwashed into thinking I was sick. My identity was created to make me believe I was “depressed”. I was not depressed...I was grieving. The medical/psych INDUSTRY in America is whacked. I am sober now since 2000 and am happily married and happy to say off any and all medications and mood altering substances.

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Holding all of this. Thanks for sharing your experience, I've read a lot of similar stories through newsletters like Mad in America and it's so heavy; it is indeed whacked. You might find something in reading Thomas Szasz's stuff, though it's dense. In any event, thank you again. Sending you all the good things 2023 has on offer <3

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Thank you, Holly. I will look up the author. Blessings to you in 2023.

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his website is madinamerica.com, and he's written a few books, Mad In America, and Anatomy of an Epidemic. I have found all of them to be really important resources and I hope you do to. He's a fair reporter.

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Dec 31, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Hi

I totally agree with your caution about psychedelics NOT being the cure for everything that ailes us. I also agree with scientists at major medical institutions. We need more research to establish SAFETY and efficacy guidelines.

A leading neurobiologist who is terminally ill has left money to establish a research center to do just that.

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Is who you are talking about Roland Griffiths? If not, there is another terminally ill scientist doing the same named Roland Griffiths. He was on this podcast and it was really something; worth listening I think. Thanks Paula. http://rss.samharris.org/feed/1aa24f16-001c-4ad0-b62b-c53649e7e737

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Busting in again (sorry?) I also really appreciated you saying you’ve gotten more out of meditation than medicinal psychedelics. I am very pro personal frontiers but realllly don’t like substances. I’m like”oh no do I have to do mushrooms to be my best self?!” But meditating and reading Pema I can do...👍

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Yes! Thank you for this, Holly! I love seeing Norman Fischer here. Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up is on regular rotation for me. I likely discovered him through you a couple years back.

I'm pretty sure I also discovered May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude through this newsletter; it was my most recent read and felt extremely familiar.

Where the Crawdads Sing was my surprise hit of the year (all the more so since I rarely read fiction unless it's by Ursula K. Le Guin, who is magic in my eyes). I didn't expect Crawdads to feel so immediately resonant; I figured it was more of a "trendy, pop-culture" read. Maybe so, but I couldn't put it down and it still haunts me.

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He's SO GREAT and I just added that book to my list. Thank you! I just recently found him from Carl Fisher who practices zen so it was not I. Re May Sarton, not me either but I think that was mentioned in the comments somewhere? I LOVED where the crawdads sing! I wish I could read that one again for the first time.

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Fanatical about Journal of a Solitude. Give me a white house with an elegant office of my very own where I can write for seasons about my sadness? I’m in

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Right? I also love that she speaks of the tedious, unending letters that she "must" reply to by hand and which she stuffs in an actual, physical box under her desk. And her exploration of and fascination with her own rage and explosiveness. Also her questions around whether it's possible to reconcile being in a romantic relationship and showing up fully for writing and creation. For me, I'm not sure it's possible, really.

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YES. I found her relationship with her neighbor / friend fascinating. Like: I want a friend who lives in a separate house and comes over **sometimes.** I found her tracking of depression very useful and relatable. And haha early email anxiety! With her letters queue...

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