Dirt in your skirt blog

Female Authors to Super Charge Your 2018

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Margaret Schlachter

It feels like there are so many books and not nearly enough time to read all of them. Sometimes it’s hard not to order every new book you hear about on a podcast (ours included) or hear on your favorite show. I pulled a few books that for various reasons might be good to add to your 2018 reading list and a few audio books as well.

Many of the authors have been featured on the Dirt in Your Skirt podcast. I have linked up their interviews in the about section of each book below if you want to learn more about them and their work before picking up the book.


Get Moving

Want to move more in 2018? I pulled three books off my shelves to help you do that and maybe learn a little history in the process.


OFF COURSE: Inside the Mad, Muddy World fo Obstacle Course Racing

While this book isn’t a how-to obstacle race (if you want that you can check out my book or one of the many others) it is a quick history lesson of some of the beginnings of Obstacle Racing from an outside point of view. For the obstacle racing fan who has already read both Joe De Sena’s Spartan books or Will Dean’s It Takes a Tribe. This story offers a different view and follows some of the key players and athletes in the early days of obstacle course racing.




Move Your DNA: Restore Health Through Natural Movement

Katy Bowman writes in a humorous, fascinating, and scientific way about movement. This is the bestselling book that she recently expanded and added in the latest addition. Katy has been on the podcast twice (Episode 28 & Episode 76). Her work is revolutionary if you are used to being an “exerciser”. As someone who was an athlete their whole life, her book made me reevaluate how I looked at the intersection of movement and exercise.

In addition to the science behind movement Katy also includes easy to follow exercises to incorporate more movement into your life.



Backpacker Long Trails: Mastering the Art of Thru-Hiking

Liz Thomas (episode 78) is one of the most accomplished thru-hikers in the world. Name a really long trail system in North America she has either hiked it or is planning to hike it. If you are already a hiker and looking to go the distance this year and dip your toes into thru-hiking Thomas wrote the book for you. She offers the basic how-to’s and also some lessons she learned on the trails to help you have a fun and safe experience.

Not ready for a Thru-hike but want to get into trail running more check out the book accomplished trail runner Meghan Hicks (episode 14) co-authored Where the Road Ends.



Feed Your Body Right


The next set of books are ones that have over the years influenced my choices when it comes to food and nutrition. While there are many different approaches to living a healthy lifestyle from a fat-fueled lifestyle like Leanne Vogel and Nina Teischolz advocate to the Vegan raw-plant-based diet we have talked with Liz Patnode. There are lots of options out there. I tend to move towards an ancestral diet but that’s my preference.


What to Eat

What to Eat is an oldie but goodie in the world of food. Written over ten years ago there is a reason it still sits on my shelf today. Actually, this is the second copy of the book I have owned over the years. Marion Nestle is heralded by many as a definitive voice in food. She has been in more documentaries than I can count.

But what makes What to Eat standout is she dissects the grocery store. The book is a bit dry at points but the knowledge learned from the book I refer to almost every trip to the grocery store. Some of it is outdated but still, the overall cannon is worth the read. If you really want to see the grocery store in a different light and need help in figuring out which is better, local conventionally grown, organically grown, conventionally grown, naturally grown, and the various other food labels out there you might find this one interesting.



Primal Fat Burner: Live Longer, Slow Aging, Super-Power Your Brain, and Save Your Life with a High-Fat, Low-Carb Paleo Diet

Keto, Paleo, Primal are buzz words these days around food. As the western diet is coming off the low-fat hangover we are looking back at our ancestors, some like Nora Gedgaudas (episode 36) looking way back to find ways for us to eat better and feel better. Gedgaudas is a wealth of information and this book draws on her first book Primal Body, Primal Mind and makes it much more digestible (pun intended) for the mainstream reader. Without being too sciency she explores the high-fat, low-carb diet and lays out it’s known health benefits.

Even if you are not interested in going keto or even if you are a vegetarian it’s a good read and will make you think about including natural fats into your diet whether they be in the form of avocado and coconut or duck fat and ghee.



Deep Nutrition

Dr. Cate Shanahan is the person Kobe Bryant got to drink bone broth. Bryant and probably a million other people. Shanahan lays out the foundation of a solid nutrient dense diet and why it is more important than ever in Deep Nutrition. She dives into the habits of our ancestors in the attempt to answer the question why they did not get sick like we do today. She outlines four nutritional strategies for a better life and longevity after studying cultures around the world. They are―fresh food, fermented and sprouted foods, meat cooked on the bone, and organ meats―form the basis of what Dr. Cate calls “The Human Diet.”

It’s a big book with a lot of information and will definitely give you “food for thought” or more in this case “thought for food”.


Examine Relationships

2018 is a great time to examine those relationships both with yourself and those around you. While there are tons of relationship and self-help books out there a few stood out either one I have listened to or read. Whether you are looking to improve upon yourself or your relationship with your loved ones these books will definitely broaden your spectrum.


Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide)

If the title alone did not draw you in than I am not sure what will. This is one of those books I listened to in basically one long car ride and found myself getting angry because the author was preaching the truth at times I did not want to hear. Sarah Knight writes about navigating life in a brutally honest way with adult language. But get through the quirky use of profanity to draw you in and what she lays out is a brilliant guide to get your life on track.

Couple this one with her book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and her newest You Do You and you will be on in self-help heaven with a series of anti-self-help books that might just help you in life.


The Missing Element: Inspiring Compassion for the Human Condition

Ever wonder why you always are putting your foot in your mouth at parties, or are stuck in the corner unable to mingle. Well, Debra Silverman (episode 59), the famed astrologer with a background in Psychology & Dance from York University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology marries the ideas of both the esoteric and modern world in her look at people and how we fit into the four directions, four noble truths, or four elements. She goes beyond the elements and talks about the missing element for many today of the observer.

Basically, she wrote a woo-woo book for the non-woo woo. There is no astrology in this book but more a book talking about the various elements of the human condition and gives us tools to recognize our own patterns and start to change them.


Sex at Dawn: How We Mate Why We Stray and What it Means

If you want to blow the barn doors off of everything you thought you knew about relationships this is the book for you. Ever wonder why we see certain patterns in relationships repeating themselves? Wonder why certain people seem to always attack all the attention from suiters? Why are the boss and secretary cheating scenario so cliche? Dr. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá (okay so this book is only co-written by a woman but it’s worth reading still) bring together some research and ancestral data in rewriting how we think about the relationships we have and offer some bold ideas for a healthy relationship.





This book probably could have gone up in the list above but Brene Brown’s work really stands on its own. I am a latecomer to her work but even without finishing her latest work Braving the Wilderness it is worth putting on this list.


Braving the Wilderness

Brene Brown draws you in without even getting past the introduction. In the world today it’s so easy to just try to fit in. However, Brown challenges us to break free of that ideal and instead charge ahead being our authentic and true self. The book helps you gain the courage to live out your own life on your own terms. It is not a unique snowflake type book but instead lets you embrace all your quarks and without compromising.

“In a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity.” 



The Heroines Journey


If you have taken one high school English class you have probably learned about The Heros Journey. You know the one that is basically every movie and retold countless times throughout history. Yeah that sorry, the two books below flip the switch and tell the story of the Heroines Journey, the woman’s journey.


Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild

Dawn Again is the deeply personal account of Doniga Markegard’s life thus far (episode 73). If you are familiar with Tom Brown Jr. she almost feels like a modern day female version of him. She tells her sometimes turbulent journey through life and her deep connection with natural and wilderness. The former animal tracker now regenerative rancher weaves a story that cuts deep within the female soul and will make you want to get outside and connect with your land, ancestors, and people.

There are not many books that physically have made me cry but this is one of them due to Doniga’s beautiful storytelling of her life.



If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging

Sharon Blackie looks for the stories and mythology that make up the heroine’s story. She draws on Celtic and other European mythology to spin the stories often forgotten of the female narrative.  It is a book for any woman who has ever lost her way and who sees a wasteland at the heart of modern existence and longs to live a more authentic, rooted life once again.

Her stories have so many themes that are planted in our society today if you are looking for more information on women’s roles in mythology other than being a temptress or witch this is a book for you to learn digest and take in.



Fiction to Make You Think of a Better World


The last book on this seemingly never-ending list of books is by Starhawk. It’s actually just one in the series and honestly, I suggest you read all three (although the third is still in my to read stack). Starhawk writes with honesty and gives us another version of a future and offers through her fiction a new way to look at the world.


The Fifth Sacred Thing

Starhawk uses fiction to explore alternative ways of living this thing we call life in her book The Fifth Sacred Thing. The book is nowhere near new. In fact, it is over thirty years old. Everyone I share this book with either seems to have read it and rank it among their favorite books of all time or conversely, have never heard of it. Starhawk lays out an alternative future for us, an alternative belief system, and basically wraps into a fictional narrative two very different futures we could have in front of us.

This is just the first in the trilogy with the third book just coming out in 2016. If you are looking for a fictional book that will make you think, this is a great start. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the current state of affairs in our world and want hope for an alternative future Starhawk offers up one alternative. I both listened and read this book so whichever if your preferred way to consume a book I welcome this one to your collection.