Four Empowering Winter Reads

It’s easy to get a little down during the winter months. Pick one or all of these books to get you motivated again. From mind-opening to inspiring, these novels are sure to get you thinking and possibly, even moving.


Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

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Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic feels more like listening as, page by page, Gilbert explains her own creativity to herself. That however, is why it works. It’s genuine. She wrote Big Magic to work through her own ideas about what living a creative life means, how to do it and why.

Why we love this book: At the very beginning Elizabeth Gilbert throws out an idea, that ideas are not our own, but rather, living beings swirling around in the cosmos looking for a soul to bring them into our realm of living. She says if we aren’t receptive to the idea, it will find someone else. That is why we love Big Magic. It gives you permission to run away with your inspiration and it also gives words of encouragement if you get stuck along the way.

Our Favorite quotes:

“I’ve noticed that when people try to kill off their fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process.”

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

“Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”

The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings, Evergreen Girls, Good Read, Good Book, Empowering Book

Sue Monk Kidd weaves together the stories of Charleston socialite, Sarah, and a slave girl named Hetty. Sarah detests slavery but is “gifted” Hetty on her 11th birthday. Beautiful, sorrowful and eye-opening, The Invention of Wings takes you through their lives as the girls grow up together.

Why we love this book: At its heart, this is a tale of two women who live in the same place but come from different worlds. They ultimately come together to help one-another in various ways. For us, by taking us back in time, this book showed us the broken world we still live in today. However, it left us with hope that through female resilience and strength, we will one day overcome – it also taught us that it’s okay to break the “rules” to do what you know is right.

Our favorite quotes:

“The sorry truth is you can walk your feet to blisters, walk till kingdom come, and you never will outpace your grief”

“Be consoled knowing the world depends upon the small beating in your heart”

“Who am I to do this, a woman? But that voice was not mine. It was Father’s voice. It was Thomas’ voice. It belonged to Israel, to Catherine, and to mother. It belonged to the church in Charleston and the Quakers in Philadelphia. It would not, If I could help it, belong to me.”

Lab Girl – Hope Jahren

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Hope Jahren taught me to look at plants in a whole new light through her memoir Lab Girl. She discusses her place, struggles and successes as a woman in science. Jahren shows us how she learned the true meaning of loyalty through her friendship with her lab partner, Bill. Her honestly about being a high-functioning woman struggling with mental health will help many feel like they’re not alone. Most impressively, she weaves the stories of plants with her own. She relates plants to us and the level of understanding you’ll feel after reading this book is powerful – if you’re like us you might just need to go outside and put your hand on a tree just to feel it and understand.

Why we love it: Some books you read all the way through without putting down. Jahren’s book was so good and so thought provoking, that after a few chapters I had to set her book in my lap and stare at the plants around me as I processed it all.

Our favorite quotes:

“They accepted me despite the fact that I was just a girl, and assured me of what I already suspected: that my true potential had more to do with my willingness to struggle than with my past and present circumstances.”

“People are like plants: they grow toward the light.”

“Something so hard can be so easy if just have a little help. In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you’re supposed to be.”

“Each beginning is the end of waiting. We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.”

A Terrible Virtue – Ellen Feldman

A Terrible Virtue, Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, Women's Health, Empowering Reads

A Terrible Virtue is about Margaret Sanger, the woman behind Planned Parenthood. It’s a polarizing topic – we get that. But at Evergreen Girls we believe in exposing yourself to things you’re for and things you’re against to understand the whole picture. This story goes into why Margaret believed the things she did and shows you what she saw to give her that perspective. She’s a woman who fought to teach women about women’s health – and for that, her story is important.

Why we love it: This book gives context behind a revolution that’s taking place in our country right now. When in reality it’s been going on long before women fought for and won the vote. More than just sexual equality this book dives deep into the historical struggles of being female.

Our Favorite Quotes:

“A woman’s duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in her eyes, to have an ideal, to speak and act in defiance of convention.”

“Here I was just a wife and mother with a seething but ill-defined rage against injustice.”

Have a great book recommendation? Put it in the comments!