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On a mildly sunny afternoon, somewhere in California.

Nine days into the new year and everything seems right. I know, the use of the verb ‘to seem’ is nothing but the shadow of my propensity to negativity, despite the very happy and auspicious moment I am living now. For those of you who know me well, the use of the adjective ‘happy’ is also rare in my repertoire.

But I am very happy, I must admit. I haven’t gotten fired from my job, and I am getting along with everyone. I also continue being active at Rotary, which is incredibly fulfilling, and I am diligently working on the sequel to My First Transgressions, while also editing a couple of stories that need some polishing.

And I am also in love. But that’s a story for another day.

For now, I want to talk about books (don’t I always?), and particularly the books I want to start the year with. I was planning to start off with Craig Clevenger’s the contortionist’s handbook, since it was a highly recommended book, due to my taste for trashy novels about people who want to send the world to hell in a handbasket, but I decided to try a different venue and read books from people I know. Writers I have drunk coffee with and eaten pasta and pizza with at one of the local restaurants after our Toastmaster meeting on Tuesdays. Books written by close friends.

The Grace of Crows by Tracy Shawn: I am gonna start with this book, a novel “about how an anxiety-ridden woman finds happiness through the most unexpected ways and characters.” In her novel, Tracy Shawn is not planning to destroy the world, but instead, she is looking for ways to make it all better. And that’s pretty much who Tracy is, a woman who likes to see people grow and become better.

Your Best Health By Friday by Elizabeth Gould, M.S.: A nonfiction book about, well, health, in every sense of the word. Elizabeth is an angel that some dude named God sent down to earth so she could write this book and I can read it to become a genius; the ‘genius’ part is a joke, ok? I’ve learned a lot from her, and I will always be thankful for the advice she’s given me.

Give Yourself Permission by Priya R. Kapoor: Just like Elizabeth, Priya penned this wonderful nonfiction book which, in a way, focuses on the same idea: YOU. In Give Yourself Permission, Priya tackles important questions about the life we think we live and makes us ask ourselves, “Are we really happy?” Priya, along with her husband James, has been in our club for over a year, and we are so lucky to have them.

Bullseye By Mia Ruiz: This is my cup of tea, a sort of a naughty, long and dense novel that is gonna make me feel things. I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard things. Very cool things. Mia just came into our Toastmaster club late last October, and she is a great storyteller.

I’m starting off with Tracy’s book and work my way down the list. What book are you reading first?

Gabriel Lucatero

Author Gabriel Lucatero

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