10 Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

10 Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

About a year ago, I wrote a post on what it’s like to go through a divorce in your 20s. Honestly, I never in a million years thought many people would care much about it. I anticipated a few close friends would read it and that was it.

It is – by far – the most viewed post my blog has ever had and continues to be viewed many times every day.

Obviously, my story resonates with others. Divorce is a common experience, but that doesn’t make it any easier. People are desperate for two things: 1. Healing 2. To know they aren’t alone.

One way I fulfilled both of those desires was through books. As a bibliovore and English major, maybe I’m a bit biased to the written word, but I believe in the transformative power of sharing our stories and teaching our insights.

Each of these books helped me through my divorce, and I know they can help you with yours too (or your breakup – any time a love ends, pain is there). No matter the stage you are in – thinking about divorce, in the muck of it all, or post-divorce – it’s important to invest in yourself during this time.

10 Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

1. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Hands down the best and most powerful book I read when going through my divorce. If I could afford to buy a copy and send it to every person who ever gets divorced, I would. But I can’t. So please buy it for yourself.

Pema Chodron is a buddhist monk. No matter your religious affiliation or lack thereof, it doesn’t matter. When Things Fall Apart goes way beyond religion and enters the land of, how she puts it, “heart advice.”

The lessons on grief, loss, and pain that I learned in this book changed my life. It’s beautifully and simply written. You will read the last page and feel grateful. Trust me on this one.

2. The Gifts of Imperfection

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

If you haven’t read Brené Brown’s work, do it now. Run, don’t walk! (Read all three in the order on this list). Brené is a shame researcher and offers easy to understand insights to her readers. While they aren’t specifically for dealing with divorce, they could not be more relatable to the subject!

In The Gifts of Imperfection, she really delves down deep into the important topics of worthiness, perfectionism, wholehearted living, and letting go of who you think you’re “supposed to be” in order to embrace who you are. She encourages us to cultivate courage, compassion, and connection.

This is foundational lessons for those who have just gone through an event like a divorce.

3. Daring Greatly

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

This is Brené Brown book #2, equally as impactful and important. In Daring Greatly, she enters the realm of uncertainy, risk, and emotional exposure (all the things you deal with during and after a divorce). She encourages to face those experiences head on with vulnerability and courage.

This book is about “stepping into the arena” and not allowing our fears to stop us from embracing our life wholeheartedly – even if that means we will have critics along the way. Let’s face it, who doesn’t find at least a critic or two when you’re getting a divorce?

4. Rising Strong

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Brené Brown’s must-read #3 is sort of a cheat. This came out well after my divorce, but I wish I had read it during that time. It still taught me, years later, how to own my story and write my own ending.

When we are going through a divorce, we often have moments of feeling powerless. The spouse and his/her lawyers are writing our stories. We have fallen and we sometimes feel like we can’t get up. These are the issues Brené tackles in Rising Strong.

5. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Wild is a memoir of a woman who went through a divorce, the loss of a beloved mother, and a drug addiction all at the same time. She reconnects with herself through a solo hiking trek on the Pacific Coast trail.

Cheryl Strayed is an insanely talented writer who weaves her story so beautifully that you can find yourself in the midst of her words. If you want to find inspirition in the story of a kickass, yet vulnerable woman, look no further.

(Also, watch the beautiful Wild movie with Reese Witherspoon.)

6. Codependent No More

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

I realize that not everybody who gets divorce is codependent, so this may not apply to everyone. It was a foundational book for me as a codependent. Codependent No More allowed me to realize the negative and unhealthy part I played in my relationship and helped me prevent going down that same road in my next relationship.

Talk about an eye-opener! Melody Beattie gets to the core of how to stop controlling others and start taking care of yourself in the complex world of codependency. I felt like I understood myself for the first time after reading this. It was extremely freeing.

There is also a helpful Codependent No More Workbook to go along with it.

7. Eat, Pray, Love

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

This book is like my bible. It changed my life more than once.

I originally read Eat, Pray, Love even before I was married. It opened my eyes to what it means to be yourself, the benefits of exploring the world, and the importance of sharing your story. If you’ve ever wondered why I am a writing traveler, thank Ms. Gilbert.

I re-read this after my divorce, and it brought me brand new insights. After all, this whole journey was sparked after Elizabeth Gilbert’s divorce. Reading her crying in the bathroom resonated with me deeply. I had a few of those bathroom cries myself.

8. A Thousand Mornings

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

Sometimes you just need a little beauty. That’s what Mary Oliver’s poetry is to me: sheer beauty. All of her poetry should be required reading, but this small collection in particular was balm to my wounded heart.

Just because they are beautiful does not mean there aren’t profound lessons tucked in between the words. There is plenty of wisdom for the recently divorced. I have read through each and every poem more times than I can count. Here its the first in the book:

I Go Down To The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”

9. The Four Agreements

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

I try to re-read this book every two years. I need the reminder. The Four Agreements are simple:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

These four agreements become the guideposts for dealing with others and yourself. For a more in-depth description, I have an entire post dedicated to this incredible book and its concepts.

10. Yes Please

Books To Help You Through Your Divorce

One of the first things I did after getting divorced was start a new comedy series on Netflix. The idea was I’d have something funny to go to bed with each night as I was adjusting to being alone. My choice was Parks & Rec. Amy Poehler became my hero.

In her hilarious memoir, Yes Please, she offers beautiful advice for all women (all people, really), but she also discusses her divorce from Will Arnett with grace, insight, and humor. She also quotes Louis C.K. who says “Divorce is always good news because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.”

Remember to laugh through this time!


*Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links. This means if you buy a product I suggest, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. As ALWAYS, I only recommend things I believe in or use myself. Nothing I am not crazy about will EVER be promoted on this blog.*

Book Talk: December 2015

Book Talk: December 2015

Book Talk

Here’s a recap of what I read in December.  As you can see, I didn’t get through as many books as I usually do.  You can blame this on two culprits: the holidays and discovering Homeland on Netflix.  Damn you, Netflix binging.

I did love everything I read, though.  Here’s the rundown:

book talk

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

5/5 Stars

You guys.  This book was made for me: feminism and travel.  Gloria Steinem, leader of the Women’s Movement, shares the stories of her life through the lens of all her travels.  Not only are there so many interesting chapters about her vast experiences and decades of fighting for women’s rights, you get wisdom and insight from all the places she’s been in her life – and this woman TRAVELED!

You clearly see that the negative press she’s received throughout her life as being a man-hater or excited baby killer is completely unfounded.  In fact, she spends much of the beginning of the book lovingly recounting her life with her father.  It was a delightful description of positive feminism.  It was such a joy for me to read this book.  I closed it feeling inspired and reinvigorated.  (If you are sensitive to the discussion of being pro-choice or cringe with liberal politics, it’s not for you.)

book talk

WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa Vitti

4.5/5 Stars

I first heard a podcast interview with Alisa Vitti on The Jess Lively Show (one of my favorite weekly podcasts.)  For the first time IN MY LIFE, I started to realize that we, as women, live on a 24-hour cycle of being even though our bodies are running on a 4-week cycle.  I was intrigued and bought the book.

Seriously, I learned more about my body and health as a female in this book than I’ve ever learned before.  I cannot believe all this information isn’t common knowledge.  From eating and exercising along with where we are on our cycle, to what is actually happening in our bodies. I recommend that every single woman read this (especially those between puberty and menopause.)

book talk

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

4.5/5 Stars

I discovered Kristin Hannah’s work years ago, and I’ve loved every novel I’ve read by her.  But I think this is her masterpiece (which is agreed on Amazon with a 5-star average rating and over 16,000 reviews!)

The Nightingale brings us to WWII in France and gives us a glimpse into the war the women were fighting back home.   One sister fights by doing everything she can to save her home and child; one sister fights by spying, illegally distributing literature, and bringing allies to safety.  It’s beautiful, intense, properly disturbing, haunting, and a refreshing view of the women in WWII.

What have you read recently??  Let me know in the comments!  I always love taking a peak at other people’s bookshelves (or Kindles for our generation) :)


*Affiliate disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links. This means if you buy a product I suggest through a link, I may receive a commission at no cost to you.  As ALWAYS, I only discuss or recommend things I believe in or use myself.  Nothing that I am not totally crazy about will be promoted on this blog. I feel grateful to pay bills by sharing my interests with my readers. *

Book Talk: September 2015

Book Talk

Here’s what I read over the month of September!  P.S.  I’m determined to read one business book a month to blossom my skills, but didn’t love the one I chose for September.  I would LOVE to see your business-related book recommendations in the comments!  Thanks, friends!  – Tay xo

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Book Talk: September 2015 - Rising Strong

 Rising Strong – Brené Brown

5/5 Stars

 This is the 3rd book by Brene Brown I consider to be “life-changing.”  The Gifts of Imperfection (<Kindle version on sale!) and Daring Greatly had tremendous impacts on my life – and her new book, Rising Strong, is no different.

Her research combined with her relatable storytelling helps her readers learn what to do when they’ve fallen and how to get back up!   If we’re being vulnerable and daring greatly, we will fall down, but we don’t want to stay down.

I can’t rave about this book enough. I believe every human being needs to read all three of Brené’s books. They’re vitally important to living wholehearted lives full of bravery & free of shame!

 

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Book Talk: September 2015 - What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

5/5 Stars

 I think Liane Moriarty is a great storyteller of women.  I’ve read The Husband’s Secret, which I also thought was great. She tells interesting, easy-to-read stories about the intersection of women’s lives.  And I love them.

In this novel, Alice wakes up from a head bump and can’t remember the last ten years of her life.  To her, she’s the newly-married, newly-pregnant, young, carefree,  happy 20-something.  But the life she wakes up to has gone way off course.  And for the life of her, she doesn’t know what happened.

This is a simple read, enjoyable, easy – but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in depth and insight!  How do we let our lives and our loves slip away from us?

 

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Book Talk: September 2015 - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
– Aimee Bender

5/5 Stars

 For some insane reason, Aimee Bender doesn’t get much recognition outside literary communities.  Those studying to get their various English degrees read her and love her, but she’s yet to come into the attention of the mainstream.  It’s their loss.  She’s magnificent.

I heard Aimee Bender speak in Las Vegas.  She speaks with the same magical quality that she writes.  Her work takes some deep truth about humanity and displays it in a simple and unusual way.

In this novel, the protagonist can taste the emotions of the person who makes her food.  It’s brilliant.

 
 

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Book Talk: September 2015 - Drops Like Stars Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering
– Rob Bell

4/5 Stars

 This is probably the only Rob Bell book out there that I’d not give a full 5 stars.  Rob Bell is one of my favorite people/speakers/writers/podcasters.

But my evaluation is not entirely fair.  Drops Like Stars was originally created to be an inspirational coffee table book on creativity.  If I had it in that format, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Drop Like Stars is short and sweet.  Rob encourages all people to pursue their creativity in his typical Rob Bell way.  I was inspired, not awestruck.  Normally he leaves me awestruck.

 

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Book Talk: September 2015 - The E MythThe E-Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber

3/5 Stars

The E-Myth came recommended to me, but I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone else.  It definitely did not meet my expectations.

There were a few concepts that I found value in – especially the discussion on the Technician (the person who specializes in a skill) a Manager (the person who oversees everything), and an Entrepreneur (the person who envisions everything) – and how in small business, owners have to often wear all three hats.

But I really hated the format of the book.  There was a cheesy “real-life” dialogue between the author and a small business owner.  It just didn’t do it for me.

 

 

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First on my list for October is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  Can’t wait!

Please leave your business book recommendations in the comments!!!

The Four Agreements and Me

The Four Agreements and Me

the four agreements

I first read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz over a year ago.  My life was changing in ways that ended up for the better, but I felt crappy at the time.  I knew I needed a new perspective on life, many of the old ways I’d been living just weren’t working out very well.  Been there?  Me too.

I saw lots of bloggers and writers talking about these four agreements, so I decided to read the book.  Life changer, guys, life changer.  It attacks common hangups in a simple way.   I re-read this book in between finishing my degree and starting my new career.  I wanted a reminder, and I’m so glad I did.  Without remembering these truths, the insecure, controlling Taylor might suffocate the creative, inspired Taylor.

Without further ado, The Four Agreements:

The Four Agreements

1. Be Impeccable with Your Word

I’ve always understood the importance of not lying, but I never fully grasped the idea of only saying what you actually mean.  I have discovered over the years that I am the queen of saying things I don’t really mean, or saying things passive-aggressively instead of intentionally.  This has gotten me in trouble, and has led me to being the doormat in many situations.  Being impeccable with my word means when I want to say “yes,” I say “yes” – when I want to say “no,” I say “no.”

Ruiz talks about how much power is held in words (The Bible has a lot to say on this matter too).  I love this fact as a writer, but I’m humbled by this fact as a human.  Hitler was good at using words, but he used them for lies and hate.  Being impeccable with your word means you use your words for truth and love, something I try to remember since my job is using words.

Favorite Quote from book: “Use the word to share your love…beginning with yourself.  Tell yourself how wonderful you are, how great you are…Use the word to break all those teeny, tiny agreements that make you suffer.”

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

This truth takes the cake for me, it’s the foundation of so many of my struggles.  Taking nothing personally is not only about ignoring a bad joke aimed at you.  Taking nothing personally means you realize that people live in their own worlds, or as Ruiz calls them, “dreams.”  What they think and say about you really has nothing to do with you.  It’s a projection of their own reality.

I have received such negative, hurtful feedback for years for being a more liberal, “opened-minded” Christian.  To the point of people thinking there’s no way I could be a Christian if I support gay marriage (aka “marriage”) or read teachings of Buddha.  I took that all personally for so long – “they think I’m going to hell!”  But that’s a reflection of what they believe about their religion, not a direct attack on me.

Favorite quote from book: “Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem.  It is the way you see the world.  It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me.”

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

We make assumptions all the time, don’t we?  I don’t think I realized how common this phenomenon was until I read this book.  From the tiniest things to the largest things, we assume all the time.  (My mama always told me “You know what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of and me. Love her for that!)  Ruiz warns that assumptions are what kills relationships.

I felt the true sting of assumptions when I went through my divorce.  Because I believe in being brave enough to share my own story, but kind enough not to share anyone else’s – I haven’t written about the details.  Still, I’d get email after email when it first happened with people assuming lots.  That frustration encouraged me to ask people more questions so I’m not the assumer.

Favorite quote from book: “Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems.  Often we make the assumption that our partners know what we think and that we don’t have to say what we want.  We assume they are going to do what we want, because they know us so well.  If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel hurt.”

4. Always Do Your Best

As a perfectionist with a mad case of people-pleasing, this one is important in my life.  We hear “always do your best” a lot in life, but typically it means you have to crack your back to achieve everything we expect of you.  That’s not what it means in this book.  Doing your best means doing no less than your best, but also NO MORE than your best.  All while knowing your best will change from day to day and year to year as circumstances change.

I would drive myself to sickness for many years trying to juggle everything perfectly.  To me, my “best” meant giving every single ounce of myself.  But that was a faulty sense of my best.  Without self-care, rest, doing what I love, or saying “no” to things that did not serve me, I was too run down to actually give my best.

Favorite quote: “If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough.  When you overdo, you deplete your body and go aginast yourself.”

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Ruiz develops these four agreements even more deeply and profoundly.  He also discusses “domestication,” the process where we start making agreements with ourselves as children, and not all of them healthy.  Ruiz bases most of his work in the Toltec tradition.  Know that I highly recommend The Four Agreements; it’s made a huge difference in my life.  It can in yours too, I’m sure.

Amy Poehler (my friend) and her book: Yes Please.

Amy Poehler (my friend) and her book: Yes Please.

Before I talk about her book Yes Please, I must confess I am a true blue Amy Poehler fangirl.  Girl crush.  If I were to receive the opportunity to have lunch with any celebrity I would choose Amy Poehler.   If the world was ending and I got to choose one thing to take with me, I would save Amy Poehler.  Sorry, family and dear friends.

Amy (we are on a first name basis) made a name for herself on Saturday Night Live, but found her way into my heart through her character on Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope. Knope is smart, quirky, ambitious, silly, loving, lively – but mostly funny.  Those sad folks saying women aren’t funny, simply aren’t paying attention.  Poehler plays a humble Parks department director who is a true feminist – with no bitchiness and plenty of humor.  A rare, but terrific female character to find on TV.

LeslieKnope(source)

There is no show on TV written more perfectly suited for my liking, which I’m sure they were considering while producing it.  All this to say, Amy P and I are really the greatest of chums in my head.

Then she went about writing a book.  And it was exactly as great as I wanted it to be.

Book review of Yes Please by Amy Poehler ~ www.taylorduvall.com ~ #book #bookreview #amypoehler #yesplease

In Yes Please, Poehler is quirky, charming, hilarious and smart.  She discusses her adventure into the world of comedy and improv and her time on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation.  She also throws in her thoughts on topics from pregnancy to divorce to drugs to parents and how women hate their bodies.  All of this is done candidly and hysterically with just enough cuss words and sex jokes to make it only the best book since Anna Karenina.

There’s also a silly amount of true wisdom and insight.  One of my favorite moments is when Amy shares her motto: “Good for her! Not for me.  That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again.  Good for her! Not for me.” As women we often think we have got it figured out and sometimes feel that we need to share how awesomely figured-out we really got it with everyone who OBVIOUSLY didn’t figure it out yet.  This leads to a lot of shaming, fighting, and competition.  Instead, I love the idea of celebrating what works for other women (Good for her) and also knowing what works for our own lives (not for me).

As a young women entering the world in creative self-employed fields, I also valued her thoughts on careers and creativity: “You have to care about your work but not about the result.  You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.

I can’t recommend this book more highly to my lady friends, whether or not your BFFs with Amy Poehler like I am.  Her thoughts on body image and children and love and career are important, but also fun.  You will laugh and feel empowered.  It’s good to do both frequently.  I can also recommend it to my guy friends with the warning that the word “vagina” comes up regularly, and it’s not in the sexy way you’d be hoping for: “Trying to get pregnant is the most vulnerable thing in the world.  You have to openly decide you are ready and then you have to put sperm in your vagina and elevate your legs like you are an upside-down coffee table.  It’s all ridiculous and incredibly sci-fi.”

Love me some Amy Poehler…and Yes Please truly delivered

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