In 1986's I, Tina legendary singer and performer Tina Turner recalled how she left her abusive husband in Dallas, turning up a local hotel—bloodied and in pain—where she told the man at reception that she was Tina Turner, had thiry-six cents in her pocket, and would pay him back if he would just let her have a room. How she went from that to rebuilding her life and her music career is one of the most awe-inspiring comeback stories in the history of the music industry.
Recently she told Amazon editor Seira Wilson: "Changing poison into medicine is the optimistic theme of my life, and I’m delighted to show readers how to transform their own lives with this powerful principle." Her latest book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, which explores her own decades-long faith in Buddhism and introduces its principles to readers, was written to help readers transform their lives and find peace during a difficult year.
Here's what she told us about the joy of books in her own life, and in particular, the books that brought her joy in 2020: "I love books. There is an Eastern proverb that 'a book is like a garden carried in one’s pocket.' I totally agree. Although I wasn’t a great student in my younger years, I was a curious person who enjoyed learning. And as I grew older, books became good friends to me, transporting me to other places and introducing me to new ideas. Whether I’m reading about science, fashion, the history of ancient Egypt, or Buddhist philosophy, I’ve found that exploring books is a wonderful way to improve myself. I hope you’re experiencing the joy of books in your life, too."
A Baptist Preacher's Buddhist Teacher: How My Interfaith Journey with Daisaku Ikeda Made Me a Better Christian by Lawrence Edward Carter Sr.
This fascinating story is from my favorite Baptist voice of our time—Rev. Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr., who counts Martin Luther King Jr. among his mentors. Here, Dr. Carter shares the moving details of his interfaith journey, revealing how Buddhist principles enrich his path as a Christian. He shows that, when we keep an open mind and heart, we can see people have more similarities than differences, and that interfaith encounters are essential to creating peace in our world today.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Did you know that every single atom in our bodies is traceable to the big bang? I didn’t, before reading this book, which uses playful language to bring complex astrophysical concepts down to earth, respects the spiritual as well as the scientific (some chapter titles are nods to scripture), and has an extra supply of heart. Neil deGrasse Tyson brilliantly explains the universe like no one else can these days.
If you’re looking for greater meaning in your life, comfort in tough times, or solace after losing a loved one, this book is for you. In fact, this book is for all of us, because demystifying death and realizing our purpose is essential to living a truly fulfilling life. As the author, Daisaku Ikeda, says: “No lives are nobler than those of individuals dedicated to something they believe in and working toward it wholeheartedly, who give their lives selflessly to their beliefs.”
What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
What I know for sure is that Oprah is extraordinarily inspiring. When you read her book, you’ll feel like you’re basking in sunlight that warms you from the inside out. Open to any page and find a gem of insight, hopefully just what you needed to read at that moment. When it’s time to close the book, I’m sure you’ll do so with a smile, knowing that this lovely collection is there to galvanize you whenever you want to step again into that sunlight.
Photo credit: Nathan Beck.
The legendary singer, and author of Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, tells us about the books that brought her joy in 2020.