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Shelf Care at The Blue Bench: January's Books

Welcome to the Shelf Care reading list by The Blue Bench! Every month, we curate a reading list of books showcasing powerful voices and talented storytelling. These books delve into topics related to sexual assault, identity, trauma, healing, hope, community, and resilience.

January reminds us all that we need and deserve a refreshed start and outlook, so the books on this month’s list are all about self-love, healing, self-reflection, and learning and understanding trauma and abuse.   

[TW/CW: These books may contain topics related to sexual assault, domestic violence, drug use, racism, violence, and other topics that may be triggering]

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

By Lundy Bancroft

This book is written by a counselor who specializes in working with abusive men. The author uses this knowledge and experience to help people recognize when they are being manipulated, devalued, and controlled, as well as how to free yourself from an abusive relationship. This book dives into the nature of abusive thinking, the warning signs, myths about abuse, the roles that drugs and alcohol may play, and many other topics about domestic abuse.

Lundy Bancroft is an author, workshop leader, and consultant on domestic abuse and child abuse and neglect. He has worked as an intervention counselor and clinical supervisor, as well as an expert witness for cases involving domestic abuse.

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence- From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

By Judith Lewis Herman

This groundbreaking book explains how the issues around the topic of trauma have shifted in the clinical community, and draws on research to discuss how personal trauma, like sexual and domestic abuse, have unique parallels with public trauma, like war and political violence. Meticulously researched, this book uses the voices of survivors as well as draws from classic literary works and research, this book is sure to impact our understanding and thinking about trauma.

Judith Lewis Herman is an author, psychiatrist, researcher, and teacher. Her work deals with understanding and treating the effects of trauma. Herman specializes in incest and intimate partner violence.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

By Brené Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown is known for her work on courage, shame, vulnerability, and worthiness. Her work discusses how vulnerability is the only path to more love, more belonging, creativity, and ultimately, joy. Brown talks about how examining our feelings of hurt can feel uncomfortable and dangerous. But the process of understating our struggle is where our true courage lies. Regardless of magnitude, the process or rising strong remains the same—we reckon with our emotions and walk into our feelings. Finding truth through vulnerability is a key to strength.

Brené Brown is a professor, lecturer, author, and podcase host. She is well known for her lectures on shame and healing.

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

By Tarana Burke and Brené Brown

This is a collection of essays edited by Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too Movement, and Brené Brown, a renowned writer and researcher. The essays in this book reflect on the trauma of white supremacy, what vulnerability looks like for Black Americans, understanding shame, and connecting with the Black experience in America. Contributions in this book include essays and stories from Imani Perry, Laverne Cox, Jason Reynolds, and more.

Tarana Burke is an activist from New York who started the Me Too Movement. She is a writer, activist, speaker, and advocate. Brené Brown is a professor, lecturer, author, and podcase host. She is well known for her lectures on shame and healing.

What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

By Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

This book includes deeply personal conversations and stories from Oprah Winfrey and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry, as they shift how we think from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”. Winfrey shares experiences from her past that includes facing trauma and adversity as a child/young adult. She and Dr. Perry spend the book focusing on understanding other people, behavior, and ourselves. This is an approach to understanding trauma that opens the door to healing and growth.

Dr. Bruce Perry is an American psychiatrist and professor. He is currently a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy is Houston, Texas. Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist.

The Strength In Our Scars

By Bianca Sparacino

This book is a collection of poetry and prose that encourages strength along a healing journey. The author’s mission is to write in a way that reminds you that you are not alone while processing your trauma, no matter the level of harm you’re moving forward from.

Bianca Sparacino is a poet, author, and podcast host. She has three published books that are all poetry and prose.

  • Cliff Stricklin
    Cliff Stricklin
  • Karen and Brian Adkins
    Karen and Brian Adkins
  • Donal and Lindsay Grogan
    Donal and Lindsay Grogan
  • Amy Gaines & Ron Litvak
    Amy Gaines & Ron Litvak
  • Wana Brands Foundation
    Wana Brands Foundation
  • Rose Medical Center
  • King & Spalding LLC.
    King & Spalding LLC.
  • Illegal Petes
    Illegal Petes
  • Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
    Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
  • Kulture Music Hall
    Kulture Music Hall
  • MPLX
  • Old Barrel Tea Company
    Old Barrel Tea Company
  • Native Roots
    Native Roots

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