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Nadea's Book Recommendations for 2023

For me, 2022 was a big reading year (both traditional reading and audiobooks). I’m mostly a non-fiction kind of person (though I did sprinkle in some classic literature and a bit of Ann Cleeves), and I managed to finish quite a few books in my sizeable -- and always growing -- “To Read” pile.

Many of these books have now made it to our studio library shelf, both because I've found them personally informative and helpful as a movement teacher (and also just as a person with a body) and because I feel like they could be helpful and useful to a number of the folks who come into our studio.

If you’re looking for books to read in 2023, here are my top 5 most enthusiastic recommendations:

I think everyone should read this book, regardless of your size, gender, age — anything. I already embraced body positivity and size acceptance many years ago now, but I felt like I learned a lot from this book that I could have never learned without taking the time to listen to someone who has had a very different life experience from me. There is no question that diet culture and fatphobia hurt everyone in our society, but the experiences and the treatment of fat people that Audrey candidly shares in her book truly shocked and saddened me — even though I was already expecting it to be bad — but they also woke me up to new perspectives. Audrey goes into the “obesity epidemic”, dieting, health policing, medical care, and so much more. If you’re already in a fat body, this book is probably going to be validating and affirming. If you’re not in a fat body, you should be reading this book, because I can guarantee it will make you think about very important things differently.

Audrey has a new book coming out in the next month, which I will be reading in 2023: “‘You Just Need to Lose Weight’ and 19 Other Myths About Fat People”.

A thought-provoking read about how our life experiences and personalities can affect our bodies, minds, and health. As Joseph Pilates said, it’s not “mind OR body; it’s mind AND body”, and if you only try to pursue health by focussing on your physical body and not your mental health, you are likely doing yourself a disservice. As uncomfortable as it can be to hear, it’s almost impossible to feel truly well and healthy if we are neglecting our minds and hearts.

Other book recommendations for mind/body and trauma recovery:

  • Waking the Tiger - Peter. A. Levine

  • The Body Keeps the Score - Bessel Van Der Kolk

  • The Body Never Lies - Alice Miller

  • What My Bones Know - Stephanie Foo

If you’re a person who doesn’t shy away from heavy intellectualism and scientific concepts, this is a really cool read. Learning about how the brain works and what it can adapt to was really exciting, inspiring, and fun. If you’re managing an injury or neurological condition, this could be a great read, and if you’re a movement instructor working with complex bodies (and really, what body ISN’T complex?), I think this is worth reading.

I learned so much from this relatively short book. This is not a fun or uplifting read by any means, but it is an important one. Sabrina deftly, efficiently, and meticulously explains how fatphobia and our society’s current obsession with thinness is inextricably linked with racism. If you’re a person who has aspirations of having an “ideal” body or if you’re part of the “health and fitness” community, I kindly (but strongly) suggest picking up Sabrina's book.

Other book recommendations regarding health, wellness, diversity, and inclusivity:

  • Who Is Wellness For? - Fara Róisin

  • Invisible Women - Caroline Criado Perez

  • What My Bones Know - Stephanie Foo

This beautiful book could be put in the same category as #4, but I loved it so much (I read it twice) that I don’t want it to be a footnote. It’s hard for me to know how to categorize Braiding Sweetgrass, so I don’t think I’ll try. In a way, it’s about wellness and being alive from an indigenous lens. Robin’s book is warm, thoughtful, playful, and grounding, but also a pointed and sobering call to action on a personal and ecological level. The audiobook is like honeyed tea. If you’re looking for a slow, gentle, thoughtful read, this is the one.

Did you read any good books in 2022? Do you have a list for 2023? I’d love to hear about them!

This January, I’ve just started “The Body is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor, and even though I’m only on chapter 3, it’s already incredible and I can promise it will be on my next recommendation list!

Happy reading!

- Nadea


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