Maybe after 2012 you won't have to worry if you're overweight or otherwise unhealthy, since we'll all be enlightened with the coming of a new era of consciousness. But until then, you can knit, try a new diet, or simply read all about the evolution of human awareness.
If there's a theme for fall, it's "something old, something new." Bernie Siegel (of the very bestselling Love, Medicine, and Miracles) is back and still a believer in miracles, with A Book of Miracles. Earlier this year, Siegel was named to the first-ever list of 100 Most Spiritually Influential People (he was #20), an international list that appeared in the Watkins Review.
Mark Nepo appeared on a different list recently—the bestsellers list—thanks to, who else, Oprah Winfrey, who liked an earlier book (The Book of Awakening) by the poet-philosopher. As Far as the Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul is Nepo's newest, and the author, a cancer survivor who has been teaching and writing for decades, has always had fans.
A look at the spiritual backstory of Josh Radnor, star of the CBS hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, is the promise of One Big Blissful Thing, written by the actor, who is branching into writing books after branching into filmmaking and scriptwriting with Happythankyoumoreplease, an indie film released earlier this year. The publisher isn't giving many hints yet, but it involves ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic brew used by Amazonian shamans.
Beyond food for new thought, there's food for the stomach. Veganism isn't new, but its rapid growth is apparent in health books, cookbooks, and grocery store shelves. The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau looks like a successor to Kathy Freston's Veganist; Patrick-Goudreau became a vegan more than 20 years ago. But if you can't bear the thought of never eating pigs again, Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool by Martin Cizmar might be a better pick. Cizmar, the music critic at the alt-weekly Phoenix New Times, lost 100 pounds in eight months. More conventionally, the South Beach diet franchise rolls on, with The South Beach Wake-Up Call: Dr. Agatston's Real-Life Program for Reversing Our Toxic Lifestyle. Cardiologist Agatston developed his famous diet as a way of preventing heart disease, the #1 killer of Americans. His aim with the new book is even more ambitious.
The locavore food movement finds an ally in crafts. Knit Local: Celebrating America's Homegrown Yarns by Tanis Gray presents 30 projects made with yarns manufactured and sold in North America, along with their journey from sheep to skein. Knitters can have fashionable clothes and a good conscience. Bust, the quirky and raw magazine for women, redefines DIY with 250 projects from its 15-year history, for Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day.
Those who heart Jane Austen can curl up with a book or a crochet hook (or both) thanks to Austentatious Crochet: 32 Contemporary Designs from the World of Jane Austen by Melissa Horozewski. The author is a crochet designer and book lover; Lizzy Bennett would doubtless be pleased.
This subcategory of books also brings a clear contender for title of the season: Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva by sexologist Debby Herbenick and social psychologist Vanessa Schick. Eve Ensler, move over.
PW's Top 10 Lifestyle
A Book of Miracles: Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love
Bernie S. Siegel. New World Library, Sept.
As Far as the Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul
Mark Nepo. HCI, Sept.
One Big Blissful Thing
Josh Radnor. Atria, Oct.
The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Ballantine, Aug.
Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool
Martin Cizmar. HMH/Mariner, Jan.
The South Beach Wake-Up Call: Dr. Agatston's Real-Life Program for Reversing Our Toxic Lifestyle
Arthur Agatston. Rodale, Oct.
Knit Local: Celebrating America's Homegrown Yarns
Tanis Gray. Sixth & Spring, Oct.
Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day
Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel. Abrams, Oct.
Austentatious Crochet: 32 Contemporary Designs from the World of Jane Austen
Melissa Horozewski. Running Press, Oct.
Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva
Debby Herbenick and Vanessa Schick. Rowman & Littlefield, Nov.