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Life-Changing Books (Fiction and Nonfiction Works and Words to Live By)

I love books. My love of reading goes back to my childhood, I have fond memories of the annual Scholastic Book Fair at my grammar school, I worked in bookstores (where I met my husband!), studied English Literature in undergraduate and graduate school, and became an author myself. I don’t love books for their own sake but for how they deepen my understanding of the world around me as well as my commitment to living a meaningful life. I’m not a particularly FAST reader, but I am a PICKY reader and have developed a very strong relationship with certain books that have shaped the way I think, work, and live. In today’s episode, I share WHAT those books are and WHY they are life-changing.

Pregnant with a New Book Baby!

I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I sold a book to a publisher, and just having done so again just means so much. I’m currently writing In Defense of Compassion: The Joyful Vegan’s Guide to Life in a Non-Vegan World, which will be released sometime in 2019 or 2020 (TBD) by BenBella Books, publisher of such bestselling books as The China Study.

It’s been a long and painful road to get back here, and though I never stopped writing (podcast episodes, self-published works, talks, radio editorials, opinion pieces, blog posts, letters to the editor, articles), somehow being contracted to write a book feels more real. It’s not. But it feels that way.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. More than that, I’ve always wanted to be an author. And even if I never wrote another book, I’d still be that. For sure. And I’m proud of each and every one of my babies.

But having something to say, organizing those thoughts into a proposal, and selling your idea to editors who think the world would want it…it feeds me so much.

The process of wordsmithing my ideas so that they’re succinct and understandable and absorbable and inspirational and actionable (while remaining unattached to the outcome! Ha!) is both maddening and exhilarating! Working toward to goal of birthing these ideas into the world just nourishes my very cells.

Symbolically, I feel like “I’m back,” even though I never went anywhere. But I did go somewhere. And better than being “back,” I’m on the other side. And I’m pregnant with so many books I can’t wait to follow this one with.

And yet, that is just one form of the content that lives in so many other ways: in my podcast, my articles, blog posts, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and radio editorials. I strive to remain unattached to form, but I guess I’m just not there yet.

I’m just a practicing human. With another book to write!


How (and Why) to Celebrate A Vegan Thanksgiving

For those who have never met them, turkeys are magnificent animals, full of spunk and spark, each with individual personalities and concerns. I was amazed the first time I visited rescued turkeys at a sanctuary for farmed animals, birds who had been abused, whose beak tips had been cut off and whose toes had been mutilated, but who still displayed immense affection for humans. A special turkey lady climbed into my lap and cooed as she fell asleep in my arms, while I stroked her soft chest and beautiful feathers. The next year, a special turkey named Lydia became very famous for hugging anyone who squatted down and held out his or her arms. Extraordinary animals they are.

If we claim to be a compassionate society—a compassionate species—don’t we have a duty to foster solutions that do not harm others? The great humanitarian Albert Schweitzer certainly thought so when he wrote, “The thinking [person] must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.”

Try a turkey-free Thanksgiving this year. It will be a Happy Turkey Day for Turkeys indeed. Take advantage of all of the audio and video resources below for lots of reasons and ideas for celebrating this holiday without turkeys. Oodles of recipes, of course, can be found in my cookbooks.