Books to Help Through a Tumultuous Time
by Rhonna Hargett, Associate Director
It is a time of transition. We just found out about a week ago that the library could open again soon, giving managers the go-ahead to make schedules and refine our plans to restore services in a way that is as safe as possible for staff and patrons. While some in our community are planning for reopening, some are recovering from illness, others are looking for jobs, and all of us continue to adjust to the new normal of regularly wearing masks, attending Zoom gatherings, and increased hand-washing. No matter what changes we face in the next few months, we can all use a little help to navigate them.
We’ve all heard the common phrase “put on your own oxygen mask first.” Before we can navigate the challenges ahead, we have to take care of ourselves. ”The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking teaches us how to be more mindful of what we need to feel safe and comfortable. The Danes have been shown to be the happiest people in the world and Wiking proposes that it is due to the Danish concept of hygge. Hygge is about being mindful of the small treasures in life: a good bowl of soup, coffee with friends, or a candle burning in the midst of a family dinner. The long months of long nights in Denmark have forced the people to become experts on how to keep themselves content, a lesson particularly helpful to us now as we learn to work with limitations in our social environment.
This has been an especially stressful time for many parents, adjusting to working from home, while helping kids that are learning in an entirely new way. In “The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less,” Tonya Dalton helps parents to clarify priorities and identify what can be set aside. Named a “Top 10 Business Book of the Year” in 2019 by Fortune magazine, Dalton’s book has strategies and tools to help readers incorporate her ideas into their own lives.
One thing that has become abundantly clear during the shut-down is that working or learning at home requires a new level of self-motivation. In “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones,” James Clear gives simple, easy-to-follow advice to help us shift our habits in a more effective direction. He tells us that our failure to achieve success is often not because of lack of will, but instead due to an inadequate system. He shares steps to create systems and design an environment that leads to fulfilled goals.
The virus has affected different people in different ways, and there isn’t one right way to respond. We are all having to make it up as we go along. Kristen Neff helps to process some of the negative feelings we may be experiencing with her book “Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” By sharing experiences from her own life to illustrate Buddhist principals, Neff shows readers how being as kind to ourselves as we are to others can lead to a happier and more productive life.
The above titles are all available as digital titles from Manhattan Public Library, but hopefully, if all goes well, you’ll be able to get print books from us again in the coming weeks. If you would like to receive an email newsletter with the latest developments and more book recommendations, call us at 785-776-4741 or go to our website,
www. MHKlibrary.org. The newsletter link is located at the bottom of the page, along with other ways to connect with the library.