This is my second annual “Year of Inspirational Reading” blog post.  For this year’s edition I’ve also included a category of poems and websites that were sent to me, in addition to hard copy books.  Here are this year’s submissions:


Mine: Wangari Matthai’s book Unbowed (and here’s a podcast I did on ‘her story ’). I was inspired by Wangari’s courage but also how she stayed humble. She knew that the honors were about the work, not just about her, and she didn’t hesitate to continue to work directly with Green Belt Movement members in the field, often literally digging in the dirt.

In the Name of Salome by Julia Lavarez – a professor finds her way among cultures (Cuban, the Dominican Republic and the U.S.) and family generations.

Daring Greatly, Bene Brown from Erika Hines Erika writes that this is a “great book about relationships; whether those relationship are professional or personal in nature, Brene Brown is talking about the ‘dirty little secret’ that is a key ingredient to those relationships: vulnerability. It’s a powerful act to not only seek vulnerability but be vulnerable as well. Brene help takes the sheer terror out of being “truly” seen.”

From Roxanne Krystalli – Susan Sontag’s diaries, edited by David Rieff into a volume called “Reborn” were telling and fascinating. Aciman’s “Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere” was a great collection of thoughts on home and wandering. I also loved Marianne Elliott’s Zen Under Fire, a book about her experiences with the UN in Afghanistan.

From Weh Yeoh: A classic – Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Weh calls it “an incredibly powerful story, well told. It makes you think about topics a lot deeper than you would. It makes you want to question the nature of things that we take for granted.”

From Zoely Mamizaka  Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running


Here are some poems that were curated by Amanda Fenton who asked on Twitter” what are your favorite poems?”


Loida Garcia-Febo recommends Impatient Optimists  “The models & concepts featured motivate me to continue serving multicultural populations and those in need in different countries.”

Caroline Mailloux suggested honoring honoring Saundra Schimmelpfennig’s blog Good Intentions which for years focused on providing donors with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed funding decisions and closed this year

Thanks to everyone who sent a recommendation! (Here’s the 2011 version for more ideas).  Please do share what reading inspired you this year in the comments below: