Monday, 22 July 2019

Ten Meghan Recommended Books for Your Summer Reading

I have long intended to work on a series of posts inspired by reader requests since I began this blog. With the Duchess on maternity leave and the royal summer break in the offing, it seems like the perfect time to cover several topics of interest. I've often been asked about Meghan's favourite authors, books and reading lists, and if you're searching for a duchess-approved read for your summer break, you're in luck. Thanks to Meghan's now defunct lifestyle website the Tig, we have insights into a number of the Duchess' favourite page turners...


Whether it’s to escape, to inform, to inspire, or to just turn off the world while you sit by a pool, I love getting lost in a good book. - Meghan

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom is a bestselling book that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs. The four agreements are these: be impeccable with your word; don't take anything personally; don't make assumptions; and always do your best. In a piece for the Tig, Meghan wrote: "My mom gave me a copy of this book when I was 13 years old, and to this day, I constantly circle back to the classic for the simplest ways to simplify your life. Don't make assumptions gets me every time."


Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese? is a timeless business classic with over 28 million print copies sold. It uses a simple parable to reveal truths about leading a less stressful and more successful life. Meghan first read the book whilst studying: "A professor at Northwestern University had this book on our list of required reading for an Industrial Engineering class I took my junior year of college. It was a seemingly odd choice, but at the end of the day, the takeaway was a self-empowerment and motivational bent that I apply to decision making in my life to this very day. It's an invaluable quick read."


The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Charming, witty and funny, The Dud Avocado follows the adventures of a young American in Paris. It's Meghan's go to-book for summer reading: "I always go back to this book for summer reading because it's light and fun, and exactly what I want when I'm lying on a beach. I love opening the pages and finding little flecks of sand from vacations past. It's set in the 1950s and about an American girl in Paris who lives wildly and fully, and runs amok. The main character Sally Jay Gorce is everything - a little Carrie Bradshaw, a little Holly Golightly, a lot of likable. One of my faves."


The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of Loneliness is a series of heartfelt essays by Marina Keegan. The author tragically lost her life five days after she graduated from Yale. The book deeply moved Meghan: "I am undone by this book. It’s a collection of essays written by Marina Keegan, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale in 2012, had a job lined up at the New Yorker, and tragically died in a car accident just five days after graduation. Her stories are raw and real, funny and relatable. And she writes with a fluid conversational tone that makes you feel like you know her. I truly wish I had been able to. Get this book – I couldn’t put it down."


Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a smart, funny, cant-put-it-down, must-read about the disappearance of matriarch Bernadette Fox. Meghan wrote: "My friend, Benita, recommended this one to me and Sarah (Rafferty). Benita is an avid reader, and knows that during the summer it’s nice to escape with a book that just makes you laugh. Guffaw, even. This is that book." Benitta Litt is one of  Meghan's closest friends; her daughters Remi and Rylan are Meghan's goddaughters and were bridesmaids at the royal wedding.

The Motivation Manefesto by Brendon Burchard

With a reference to channeling her inner BeyoncΓ©, Meghan very much enjoyed The Motivation Manifesto: "Annoyed by your self-doubt and distractions? The noise that keeps you from reaching your potential? Okay, so yeah. Me too. Even on my most Sasha Fierce days there’s a mean little voice in there going, 'Hmmm… I’m not sure if you can, or should, or if you’re good enough to."


Unsaid by Neil Abramson

Unsaid is a modern day masterpiece exploring the power of our relationships with animals. "As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena lingers, a silent observer haunted by the life she left behind."


Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

With hours spent flying and at airports (including many a trip to London whilst dating Harry) Meghan loved to indulge in a good way during her travels. Lean In by Facebook chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg was credited with reigniting the conversation around women in the workplace. "In 2010, she gave an electrifying TED talk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which has been viewed more than six million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto. Lean In continues that conversation, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. Sandberg provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career. She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment, and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women both in the workplace and at home."


We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

When Meghan was sent an advance copy of We Are Not Ourselves she was entranced. "I would really like to sleep. But this book simply won't let me," she wrote on Instagram. Meghan later shared a review: "A stunning portrayal of a multi-generational Irish family in New York – this book really captures so much of our quotidian routines and struggles. But beyond that, what will resonate is the story of illness and how the deterioration of someone’s mind and body affects the every aspect of the family unit. Man, do I wish we could say more than that! It’s a masterful debut novel from Thomas and you may remember my gushing about it when I read an advance copy. It’s now available everywhere, and it’s truly a must-read."


The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Meghan recommended this bestseller about a widow and her daughter who take in a married couple as tenants for fans of Downton Abbey. "If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey (and if you’re not, add that to your binge-watch list), you’ll love the new novel by the talented writer Sarah Waters. Set in England in 1922 right after WWI, the story begins with a mother and a daughter who must take in a married couple as their “paying guests” (tenants), much to the chagrin of the previously well-to-do (but no longer) mother-daughter pair. The book may lag a bit at first, but if you’re patient, you’ll be drawn into a page-turning crime thriller and an enrapturing love story that’s one for the ages."


Have you read any of the books? Do you plan to add any to your summer reading list?

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We have one other quick news update to share before signing off today. Harry and Meghan's new foundation, which is set to launch this autumn, will be called Sussex Royal, the foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan are listed as directors by their communications secretary Sara Lathan and Natalia Campbell, a key member of the Royal Foundation's team who is set to take on a senior role with the blossoming charitable vehicle. Gerrard Tyrrell is listed as the foundation's secretary. I understand he's a senior partner specialising in privacy and defamation at Harbottle & Lewis who provide legal counsel and services to the Royal family.


Click here to view the listing. It's understood the foundation's first projects are in the planning stages with an initiative led by Harry to protect lions due to launch during the tour.

We leave you with a look at Harry and Meghan's sweet birthday message for Prince George. Hope the Prince is having a fantastic day!

49 comments:

  1. One of the things I have liked about Meghan is that she is a reader of fiction. The list of books here are diverse, but very serious, I wonder if she also reads for "fun"? After reading a few of these books I had to not read for a few days and then pick up something light. I wept after reading Marina Keegan's essays, her's was a terrible loss.
    I'm reading Jenny Colgan's new book, whatcha you all reading on your summer holidays?

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    1. I love Jenny Colgan! Her books are the perfect summer reading!

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    2. Mel in SoCal22 July 2019 at 20:35...I bet these are fun for her

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    3. The pleasure of reading "serious" books truly IS fun.

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    4. Well Philly My idea of fun is something that puts a smile on my face or causes laughter. Serious reading imho is intellectual enrichment.

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    5. Have any of you heard of the New York Times Bestselling Author (& my friend) Mary Alice Monroe? Lovely books of fiction, mostly set in South Carolina & the outer banks. Her book (which I highly recommend) "The Beach House, was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie with Andie MacDowell! I just finished her latest book "The Summer Guests" & it was an utter delight! It was also fun having her breeze through our city on her national Book Tour & to see her & have her write a special message in my book! :) xx

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    6. I get that, Mel in SoCal. However. Intellectual enrichment is cotton candy for the mind to me. One huge buzz.

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    7. Becca, thanks for the recommendation. Her books sounds like something I would enjoy. My friend goes to Captiva Island a few times each year, and they sound like good reading for her, too.

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    8. @Becca: My Mom loved MAM's latest The Beach House.

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  2. I just put these on hold at my public library. Thank you for the recommendations!

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  3. Sarah Waters is an excellent writer. I have read all of her books and I highly recommend them.

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  4. Meghan has excellent taste in literature for all taste.

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  5. I have read The Four Agreements....EXCELLENT read! Thanks Charlotte, love the post!

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  6. Becca H in Colorado23 July 2019 at 02:08

    I'll have to put some of these on my Goodreads list! I'm always looking for more new books to read. Thanks for this fun post, Charlotte.

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  7. These sound like really good books, I'm going to put some on hold at my library as well! Have you read any of these yourself Charlotte? On a side note - I think a literary or reading related patronage would be excellent for Meghan given her love for writing and reading =)

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  8. I bought The Four Agreements several months ago based on Meghan's recommendation. My thought process is in a much better place since acquiring that book of common sense. I even bought the miniature book which I carry in my purse.

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  9. The Dud Avocado sounds good; it reminds me vaguely of another fun book. There was a great little book from the 50s, I think, or maybe earlier, called Footloose and Fancy Free. It was written about a group of women friends who went to Europe in their 20s on an adventure – not sure if it was before or after college. The writer based it on her experiences and then wrote another book about 40 years later when the women went to Europe again, after having careers and/or raising their children and/or getting divorced or losing their husbands. It’s a great view into that time period and it’s a lot of fun. I used to read my mother’s copy when I was pretty young.

    I really prefer fiction and I'm going to search for all of these. Thanks very much for posting them!

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    1. The story sounds very much like the Cornelia Otis Skinner / Emily Kimbrough book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay written in 1942 - about their European travels after graduating from Bryn Mawr in the 1920's. A very funny book if you can find it. I couldn't find anything on your recommendation as there are many books using Footloose and Fancy Free in their title.

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    2. Helena, thank you so much for knowing what I was talking about when all I gave was an incorrect title!! I don't know where I got the false title, but you are correct in the information you gave. I loved this book and I'm pretty sure that there was a follow-up. It was loads of fun and gave me an insight into what my mother and aunt liked to read before I was born. Thanks again!!

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    3. Helena, you helped me find the second book by Kimbrough -- Forty Plus and Fancy Free, which is where I got my erroneous title. She returns to Europe with a small group of friends in the early 1950s.

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  10. I am reading Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming”. It’s excellent! Of course I am prejudiced, I just love her. The style of writing is so warm and honest. Also just finished a quick read of an older Sydney Sheldon thriller.

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    1. Barbara U.S.23 July 2019 at 03:47...we have the same taste. I also read Becoming and all of Sidney Sheldon's books

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  11. oh i love the book i personally love we are not ourselves i bough it in bookstore near when first read it interest me all those books i will have on my reading list now

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  12. As Meghan I love to read I have 2 the same at home and I really want to read the book of Maria Semple and plan b of Sheryl Sandberg thank you for this article Charlotte. Our Meghan is full of good resource,i would have liked to know her in real lol

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    1. I just read Option B - it really resonated with me. One of my best friends bought it for me as a gift after my husband died of cancer in February. I hope you get to read it!

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    2. Alison Murray, I'm sorry about your husband. Books can be so powerful. I would have had a horrible childhood if Jane Austen had not lived. And CS Lewis.

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  13. I really want to read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom. I have seen someone else recommend it. I love really on the kindle and hard copy from the library or i buy myself. I have so many books i have and i always do the annual reading challenge on goodreads. will put some of these on my list. Thank you Charlotte.

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  14. What a great post Charlotte! I have always enjoyed reading, as my young children well know, since we read quite a few books (children's books usually, although sometimes they want me to read to them from a "grown-up" book) together throughout each day.

    Here are some personal favorites:

    "Becoming" (by Michelle Obama - I'm past ready for her husband to complete his, as I really want to read it too!)

    "The Soul of America" and "Franklin and Winston" (by Jon Meacham - Jon is my favorite presidential historian and I highly recommend all of his books)

    "Tuesdays with Morrie" (by Mitch Albom)

    "The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House" (by Kate Brower - this is like a Downton Abbey for the White House, except that all of the stories told are true/real.)

    "When Breath Becomes Air" (by Paul Kalanithi - this is a #1 New York Times Bestseller)

    "The Good Neighbor:The Life and Work of Fred Rogers" (by Maxwell King - Fred Rogers is a hero in my book and for those living in the US, I hope you will consider seeing the upcoming biopic on Fred in theaters November 22. I realize that many in the UK may know little about him and his deeply important children's television show. But, I hope that many in the UK will consider going to see the same movie when it arrives in your cinemas on December 6th. For many US children who grew up in the 70's, 80's, 90's, and the very first couple of years of the 21st century, Fred Rogers was a safe place. He taught children how to express and manage their feelings. He taught us how to care, love, learn, play, and be our truest selves. He did much to help our emotional and mental health as we grew and developed. And, he was a genuinely kind and compassionate person, who was always authentic and caring toward all.)

    "The Wounded Healer", "Return of the Prodigal Son", and "Life of the Beloved" (by Henri Nouwen)

    Some of My Favorite Children's (some for younger and older children) Books: These are often even more meaningful when we read them as adults:

    "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (by Judith Viorst)

    "The Giving Tree" (by Shel Silverstein)

    "Where the Wild Things Are" (by Maurice Sendak)

    "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (by Eric Carle)

    "Winnie the Pooh" (by A.A. Milne)

    All books by Dr. Seuss

    "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" (by Judy Blume)

    "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" (by Mildred Taylor)

    The "Ramona" books (by Beverly Cleary)

    "Anne of Green Gables" (by L.M. Montgomery)

    "Little House on the Prairie" books (by Laura I. Wilder)

    "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny" (by Margaret Wise Brown)

    "Charlotte's Web" (by E.B. White)

    "Madeline" (by Ludwig Bemelmans)

    "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (by Judi Barrett)

    "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" (by Laura Numeroff)

    "Mouseton Abbey: The Missing Diamond" (by Joanna Bicknell and Nick Page - this is a cute take on "Downton Abbey")



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    1. That's a really good list, I think I'll put some of those on hold as well. I love the Ramona books, I read ALL of them during the summer when I was in junior high school. Charlotte's web is also a really good one, I read it a long time ago, but I think I'll give it a read again! The Giving Tree is an interesting choice - I think in an interview for Suits Meghan said it was her favourite childhood book? I haven't read The Giving Tree, but I am interested in everyone's thoughts about it. What's your take on it? Also, some of my favourite books:

      The Giver by Lois Lowry

      The entire Graceling series by Kristin Cashore (all of them have strong female leads in them! They were my absolute favourite during high school)

      The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

      Still Alice by Lisa Genova

      Matilda by Roald Dahl

      1984 - George Orwell (a classic). I think its a good read right now given the political environment right now in the world (if you are into reading some serious stuff right now though)

      Brave New World by Aldous Huxely (a good read after reading about the dystopian world in 1984).

      Life of Pi - Yann Martel

      Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

      The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (my guilty pleasure)

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    2. Excellent lists here! Excellent post, Charlotte! -op

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  15. I started reading The Paying Guests last night and am really enjoying it. I am always looking for good books so thanks, Charlotte, for the recommendation. This was a great idea. Marla from New Hampshire

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  16. Angelina Bucket23 July 2019 at 15:42

    Don't make assumptions - maybe the Press should read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It makes me so sad what I constantly read in the tabloids. I mean things like "the renovation was so expensive, she even has a yoga room" - a blank room with a yoga mat in it - honestly?

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  17. Such an amazing variety! Never knew Meghan was a bookworm, that's so endearing to me.

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  18. Lucille in Tn.23 July 2019 at 17:00

    Well now I just feel terribly shallow. My summer reading? I have been devouring a literary fast-food feast of historical fiction and time-travel novels. Ha!
    With summer nearly gone, I will soon return to my meat and potatoes with a snippet of broccoli reading: a lengthy, scholarly biography of FOR during his White House years ( by the way, Churchill was a regular guest there during the war years); a novel about CS Lewis's friendship with the woman who later became his wife.

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    1. Lucille! A fast-food feast of historical fiction is my catnip! And a juicy time travel story with a brawny highlander can be SO much fun.
      I read some serious stuff and crazy-sauce is sometimes "just what the doctor ordered".

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    2. My time-travel reading melds nicely with my historical fiction interests-with a heavy emphasis on the British Isles from the War of the Roses to the London Blitz.Yes, Mel, a kilt or two to spice things up, along with the crazy-sauce.

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    3. I'm with you both... but some of Meghan's titles do sound great for the fall & winter months! :)

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    4. Lucille in Tn.24 July 2019 at 18:04

      The daily news is enough serious reading for me these days, other than the biographies I enjoy. And self-help books make me itchy. However, there are a couple of light-hearted sounding books on that list that caught my eye, Becca. As a younger woman I would have been all over that list. I was very in to Women's Lib and humanitarian causes, as well as the political scene. I think I was involved in a "Ban the U.N." group at Uni, among others. Gloria Steinham and Albert Schweitzer were my heros and " I Am Woman" was my anthem. Youth! Now, I just try to brighten the corner where I am. ;)

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    5. I love it Lucille!!! lol lol lol :) "I Am Woman" is still my anthem!! :) xx I haven't read a self-improvement book in some time.... & I realized I needed some self-improvement.... so far no itching... but I'll keep you posted!! lol :) xx

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  19. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher23 July 2019 at 20:42

    I always wondered how Meghan had grown up so sane with her Father and his family being the way that they are. It could not have been easy. I can see now that Meghan's Mother Doria has been great influence, as has her university education. It is obvious that Meghan has done some extensive internal work in order to grow spiritually and become the reflective, thoughtful. open and successful person that she is today. Great choice of books. I think Princess Diana and Meghan would have become firm friends.
    Does anyone know why the listing states KP and not BP? Was it all prepared before the move maybe?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing?

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    2. The Sussex offices haven’t actually moved from Kensington Palace, they have just separated the staff. The Court Circular still lists them at KP. Buckingham Palace is undergoing renovations and there is nowhere for them to move to. Anne, Andrew and the Wessexes have all moved out for the renovations.

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    3. Meghan actually credited her father with some of her cultural/life knowledge (I don't remember the exact wording, she wrote it on her Instagram back in the day). So it makes me think that things were probably not always as black and white as they seem now. However, I agree that after certain events it is admirable that Meghan seems not to lose her calm and sanity and also a positive approach to life. I think both Doria and Harry play(ed) a big role in it.
      Ella

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  20. I'm loving this post!! I'm always looking for fun or inspiring reads. This is the perfect summer round up.

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  21. Great post! How do you still have access to content from The Tig?

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  22. I just began "The Four Agreements" today & it's really good! :)

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  23. I love a good summer read - as in getting lost in a lighthearted story. I save the more "heady" reading for the winter months. I just finished The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash that I found in the Barnes & Noble bargain section. I'm sure I'd enjoy several on Meghan's list. I'm also noting several recommendations found in the Comments.

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  24. I have read “Who Moved My Cheese”. Like Duchess Meghan, I thought it was a quick & easy read for self-empowerment for personal & work life. Other books that I’ve read recently, have different approaches, but are still of a motivating theme.

    Boris Starling’s, ‘Unconquerable: The Invictus Spirit’‬ with foreword by Prince Harry. Book about the Invictus Games & stories from courageous wounded warriors. Left me in tears at times, but definitely inspires to never give up & lift up others around you.

    Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ is really good. I laughed & cried my way through this one. Very inspirational. I also bought the audiobook, Michelle narrates it, it’s lovely to listen to her tell her own story.

    I think I’ll try “The Four Agreements” next.

    Happy Reading! Dena

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  25. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for this post. Books are treasures. It is difficult for me to throw away any books. I have soooo many books (that I HAVE read). After this post, I’ll have even more. Wonderful and informative post. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)