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11 Books From The Past 5 Years That Are Worth Reading For Every Woman

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11 Books From The Past 5 Years That Are Worth Reading For Every Woman

Thousands of books are published every year. You enter a bookstore and you can surely get lost in all this variety. If you love to read, I bet you always face this problem of too little time and too many books. You constantly confront the challenge of picking the next piece of work to read among hundreds of new novels, memoirs, sequels, professional books, short stories, etc.

The lists of books can be endless as writers all over the world are super active now. We have numerous lists of books for students, for kids, for businessmen, science books, marketing books, etc. I decided to make a list of recent books that are perfect for a woman of any age to read. Of course, every woman has her own taste and reading preferences, but we all are united by the love for emotional, thought-provoking, heart-warming, life-changing, captivating and inspiring books. Those were my criteria while making this list. It is fair to notice that it is only a drop in the sea of great books available now, but it is a great drop to start with. Enjoy!

The Goldfinch written by Donna Tartt

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    Donna Tartt spent more than 10 years writing this novel. The main character is a 13-year old boy, who saw his mother die in the blast in a museum. The book got many positive reviews and the author received the Pulitzer Prize for it in 2014. Her writing was compared to Dickenson and Bradbury and Steven King said that he could barely name 5 good books that were as good as this one in the last 10 years. They say there is going to be a movie, so hurry up and read it before.

    Bad Feminist written by Roxane Gay

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      It is a great collection of witty, funny and sincere essays revealing many different questions, clichés, problems and facts about feminism. Roxane Gay explains why she is a “bad feminist”, what feminism looks like these days and how it can and should look.

      Until I Say Goodbye written by Susan Spencer-Wendel and Bret Witter

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        This is an inspiring autobiographical story of fighting. Susan finds out that she has a deadly disease and starts to live her life to make it worth. Her intention now is to prove that every day is better if it is filled with joy and no one can fill your days with joy but you. This book is truly inspiring; it makes you think about your life and how many great things you can do now.

        Everything I Never Told You written by Celeste Ng

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          Family tragedies happen every day all over the world. Celeste Ng decided to write about one of the most terrible ones – death of a kid. It is hard to believe that this is the first novel written by Celeste, as her descriptions are so live and believable that you feel like you are a reading a book of a very experienced writer.  The book touches many serious social and personal questions and definitely will not leave anyone indifferent.

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          Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy written by Helen fielding

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            Bridget Jones is a famous character known and loved all over the world. We’ve already read two books and seen two movies with this charming and hilarious girl. Now she is older, she is a widow and has two kids. But she still manages to get into silly situations and desperately look for the ways out. Everyone who has missed this lovable character has to read this book!

            Me Before You written by Jojo Moyes

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              We all enjoy a good and emotional novel, right? “Me before you” is a bestselling book that would be perfect for every woman to read. It is a story about an active businessman who has to be in a wheelchair after an accident and a simple woman who enters his world and changes it drastically. The novel strikes with its sincerity and touching nature and reminds everyone that all people have the right and the choice to keep their dignity no matter what the situation is.

              The Lifeboat written by Charlotte Rogan

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                This is a 2012 novel that became a bestseller right away. The story is extraordinary and captivating making you want to read it all at once. A big ship is wrecked and a group of people is stuck on a lifeboat searching for a rescue. The plot will keep you strained and make you feel like you are there, on that lifeboat trying to survive among the people you can barely trust.

                Wild written by Cheryl Strayed

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                  If you want to read something inspiring, this is it. This is an actual story that touches you deeply. It is the story of a woman who hit the bottom, losing her mother, cheating on her husband and using drugs.  Her way out of this mess is truly inspiring: she decides to solo hike and chooses an incredibly difficult 1,100 mile trail. On her way she overcomes physical and mental troubles, takes a deep look at her life and thinks about the solutions. It is truly an amazing book for every woman to read.

                  Secret Garden written by Johanna Basford

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                    This is not an actual book as we know it. But it is a great way to relax and to say goodbye to stress. Johanna Basford created this unique coloring craze for adults that has been incredibly successful all over the world. It awakes your creative side and allows you to spend some time in peace and quiet creating something beautiful.

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                    Room written by Emma Donoghue

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                      This is a heartbreaking story about a five year old boy who has been living his whole life in one room and his mother who has been kidnapped by a cruel maniac and kept in a soundproofed shed by his house. The story is described by the boy who has no idea that there is the whole world out there. The book is unique and sometimes quite hard to read, but it is definitely a worthy story to be told.

                      Act like a lady, think like a man written by Steve Harvey

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                        Surely, the times when women saw their main purpose in pleasing their men are long gone. However, I bet that every woman wants to know men, their way of thinking, their reasons, etc. better. Famous comedian Steve Harvey decided to cast some light on these questions for women in a very witty and clever way. It is not a book on how to get a man and please a man; it is a book on how to understand them and see the difference between men’s and women’s perception of the world.

                        Featured photo credit: Beach reading/Anne Adrian via flickr.com

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                        Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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                        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                        You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                        Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                        Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                        1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                        According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                        “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                        Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                        Warming up

                        If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                        If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                        Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                        1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                        2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                        3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                        Stay hydrated

                        Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                        To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                        Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                        Meditate

                        Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                        Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                        Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                        Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                        2. Focus on your goal

                        One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                        Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                        Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                        Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                        If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                        3. Convert negativity to positivity

                        There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                        ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                        It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                        Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                        Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                        Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                        4. Understand your content

                        Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                        However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                        “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                        Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                        Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                        One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                        5. Practice makes perfect

                        Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                        In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                        Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                        6. Be authentic

                        There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                        Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                        Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                        To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                        With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                        Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                        7. Post speech evaluation

                        Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                        Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                        We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                        You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                        Improve your next speech

                        As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                        Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                        • How did I do?
                        • Are there any areas for improvement?
                        • Did I sound or look stressed?
                        • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                        • Was I saying “um” too often?
                        • How was the flow of the speech?

                        Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                        If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                        Reference

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