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

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 January 15, 2021

                        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                        Posture

                        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                        Facial Expressions

                        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                        2. Relax Your Face

                        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                        3. Smile More

                        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                        4. Hand Gestures

                        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                        5. Enhance Your Handshake

                        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                        Final Takeaways

                        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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