In a year where we all sought comfort, so many of us turned to books for the particular kind of solace you can only glean from chapters of stirring words.

Whether or not you picked up a robust reading habit during the pandemic, or turned to tried and true favorites, it's safe to say books might be one of the things that got you through this year.

To celebrate the transformative power of words, we asked members of the Shine community and staff to share a bit about the books that changed them this year and helped them reconnect with themselves.

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown

"I'm digging adrienne maree brown's Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. It's been a life changer, teaching me to value, prioritize, and cultivate loving myself. I also like that It's easy to read just a page or two at a time." — Jessica R.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

"Having always been open with her mental health struggles, this book is Brosh’s way of processing the pain and tragedies that she endured during her hiatus from work. I love this book for its humor and quirkiness—even when we dive into tough topics such as divorce and death." — Sandy M.

You Can Do All Things by Kate Allan

"I have this on my depression plan to turn to for comfort. It’s cute illustrations with positive affirmations and reminders that you’re doing what you can and that’s enough. There’s also coping tips and everything is split up based on how you’re feeling and what type of messages will be most helpful." — Abby C.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle "It's written almost as if you are pulling pages from Glennon’s personal journal—which I love since I often have a hard time staying focused in a specific timeline of a book. Each chapter has a minimum of one quotable or noteworthy moment,(and it's) super empowering and inspiring." — Shauna P.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia and Emily Nagoski

"This book is a guide based on research on how to take care of our minds and bodies and how if we do not manage both stressors and the stress response, it will begin to manage us." — Kerri T.

Wise as F—: Simple Truths to Guide You Through the Sh–storms of Life by Gary John Bishop

"I've read all his books and their urban philosophy really strikes a chord with me. They've provided a lot for me." — Gordon M.

Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker

"I quit drinking in June and this book is EVERYTHING." — Kara J.

The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor

"This book is about radical self love and how we need this to dismantle systems of oppression. They also have a website and foundation with additional resources." — Kerri T.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates "I've found (this book) really powerful and inspiring and shows how when you invest in women, you really invest in society." — Anna N.

How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong "I love this book for its stories and models of community care and human connections. A quote I love from Mia Birdsong: We need a vision of community that is relevant and future-facing. A vision that brings us closer to one another, allows us to be vulnerable and imperfect, to grieve and stumble, to be held accountable and loved deeply. We need models of success and leadership that fundamentally value love, care, and generosity of resources and spirit.” -Sandy M.

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., and Elyse Resch, M.S. "I’ve learned so much from this book and it has changed my relationship with food. I have reconnected with my body and now am able to listen to what it needs to be healthy." — Kim M.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl "I read this book for the first time this year—and know it's one I'll return to again and again. It reminds me about the power of knowing your 'why' during challenging times, and how we can find meaning and purpose in moments of suffering." - Haley G.


Read Next: 4 Books that Will Inspire You to Do the Inner Work (Without the Self-Helpy-ness)

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