By: Zenia Lei Cruz

Can you imagine we’re at the tail end of 2020 already? And with everything going on, 2020 has forced us to stay at home more than usual and reading has helped me maintain a sense of normalcy.  Whether your goal is to get through your days, learn something new, upskill, or finetune your habits, there’s a book out there for you.  If you are looking for stories to stick your nose into, have a quiet, screen-free activity that will help bring out that #GirlBoss in you, here are 13 books that I love – and hopefully, you will, too.   

“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.” — Jo March

Big Magic 

Written By: Elizabeth Gilbert

No matter what kind of creative projects or dream you’re working on, this book will shift your mindset and debunk misconceptions you might have about the creative process. Gone are the days when we romanticize the starving artist scenario or the idea that all good art comes from suffering. Gilbert paints us a picture of how living a creative life can look for you — and how you can start living it.

The Power of Vulnerability

Written By: Brene Brown  

Like some of you, I got introduce to Brene Brown when I saw her viral TED Talk. In this book, Brown gets deep into our emotions, helps us unearth them, and helps us realize the beauty that lies in being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is difficult, but it’s an essential step to becoming our truest selves. This book is full of breadth and depth that makes it not only a pleasure to read but intensely thought-provoking and inspiring too.   “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

 – Theodore Roosevelt

You’re a Badass

Written By: Jen Sincero

In case you need reminding – you are a badass! This book will help you identify the self-limiting beliefs holding you back from achieving your goals, making money, or whatever it is you’re after. It’s packed with bite-sized, actionable tips to help you create a life you love.  The bonus? The author’s humor will keep you flipping through its pages.

The Wisdom of Sundays 

Written By: Oprah Winfrey

This is a collection of interviews with some of the known spiritual thinkers of our day. Oprah compiles them in a book to give us a picture of her journey of discovery. One of the most fundamental takeaways from this book is gratitude. When you acknowledge and are grateful for whatever you have, it allows more to be drawn to you and changes the way you experience life. Being grateful is transformative. When you go through your day staying conscious about the things you are grateful for, it completely shifts the lens through which you see the world.  This is a meditative and reflective read, something you would like to keep and return from time to time to help you re-center yourself.   Pro tip:  Consume this content via audiobook to make it easier to digest as most of these are conversations.

Little Women 

Written By: Louisa May Alcott  

This one is classic non-fiction. With sensitivity and charm, this book will remind you of something good. Through the journey of the March Sisters, you’ll learn lessons about friendship, love, family, and even pursuing passion and accepting differences.   “Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.” — Jo March  Now, that’s women empowerment! You might also want to check the film version adapted and directed by Greta Gerwig. You’ll love it! 

Girl Boss 

Written By: Sophia Amoruso

With the right blend of entertainment, sarcasm, sass, and wit, Sophia Amoruso managed to bring her honest personality onto these pages while seriously teaching us what it takes to start your own business and become a girl boss. Give this book a chance if you feel like you need a motivational push no matter what area of your life you need a push for.  This book is about confidence, knowing your value, and being the next best version of yourself! Kudos to all female entrepreneurs!


Written By: Michelle Obama  

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” — Michelle Obama This book needs no introduction. In her memoir, Michelle Obama opens up about the experiences that shaped her along the way to the White House and beyond it, forging her status as an icon for women across the world.  

Minimal: How to Simplify your life and live sustainably 

Written By: Madeleine Olivia 

If you’re considering using your quarantine days to change your daily habits, make more sustainable choices, and have a minimalist lifestyle, Minimal is the perfect guideline to help you get started. Written by minimalism and sustainability Youtuber Madeline Olivia, it is jam-packed full of plastic-free living, plant-based food swaps, DIY Beauty recipes, decluttering tips, and much more.   

Trick Mirror 

Written By: Jia Tolentino 

 A recommendation to those Millennial/Gen-Z women trying to make sense of this modern culture. This is a compilation of literary essays on self-awareness, internet culture, modern feminism, and fake news contributing to politics. She unpacks various forms of self-delusion present in our day to day lives and how a young woman develops her identity in today’s social media era.  Sharp and interesting, you’ll love how Jia Tolentino casually throws around real talks on millennial culture!   


Written By: Tara Westover 

“You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it an education.” One of the most powerful aspects of this memoir is Westover’s acknowledgment of how access to formal education is a necessity as well as the importance to have a desire to educate oneself.  Tara’s experiences growing up in an extremist family who spend their days preparing for the end of the world and believing that doctors and teachers are part of a brainwashing, poisoning conspiracy only prove us the immense power of education. How it allows us to be able to consciously examine the world and act accordingly. How striving to learn ultimately gives us the strength of having our voice. The story is inspiring, terrifying, psychologically complex, and never judgmental.  Trust me: if there’s one book you read from this list, make it this one.

The Little Book of Hygge 

Written By: Meik Wiking 

An easy read about a warm and fuzzy topic. Hygge (pronounced hooga) is a Danish art of living well. It is a concept that promotes taking pleasure from simple things. Wiking, the CEO of ‘The Happiness Research Institute’, gives us an insight into how the Danish people create a platform for a happier lifestyle.  Spoiler alert! It has something to do with candles, your favorite blanket, dinners cooked together, and a life spent outdoors.   

The Collected Schizophrenias 

Written By: Esme Weijun Wang   

Wang uses these essays to shed light on the dark corners of mental illness by describing her own experience with Schizophrenia and Lyme disease. It’s deeply personal but at the same time filled with extensive topics relevant to health and illness, ranging from how the mentally ill are institutionalized in a way that removes their agency, how mental illness is misdiagnosed, to how people with illnesses are portrayed on mass media and not taken seriously at times.  Though the book does not aim to give clear cut answers among its pages, it is full of perspective about erasing stigmas and opening up a discussion about how we handle and view mental illnesses. 

How to Fail 

Written By: Elizabeth Day  

This is a well-written reminder that failure is nothing to be feared – everyone experiences setbacks on their journey, and it’s important to share these stories to paint an honest picture of reality and set realistic expectations. Mistakes are some of the richest learning resources, and success is almost impossible without them. As Elizabeth Day herself puts it, “learning how to fail in life means learning how to succeed better.” If you feel the need for reassurance that failure is okay, now more than ever, read this book.

Whoever said you can’t live a hundred different lives in this lifetime must not have read enough. Books are a sure-way to learn and vicariously experience hundreds of life learnings, perspectives, wisdom, and realizations from the people who wrote them.  If you’re ready to unleash your inner #GirlBoss, take a stroll down someone else’s memory lane and come out better starting with these 13 books!
Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia is a multi-potentialite: A certified bookkeeper and registered cost accountant by profession and a creative and growth mindset purveyor by passion. She is independently insightful and creatively sensual. Her feminine side is her strength, a combination of delicate intellect and high-class intuitiveness. Her toughness is neither loud nor provoking. She embodies sweet confidence –– truly charismatic with an aura that resonates quality and serenity.