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Hungry Hearts: Essays on Courage, Desire, and Belonging

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Sixteen innovators, creatives, and thought leaders--Austin Channing Brown, Sue Monk Kidd, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, among others--share intimate stories of uncovering beauty and potential through moments of fear, loss, heartbreak, and uncertainty. "If you are looking for a little bit of gentleness, a warm word from writers you can trust, well, here it is."--Glamour Over th Sixteen innovators, creatives, and thought leaders--Austin Channing Brown, Sue Monk Kidd, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, among others--share intimate stories of uncovering beauty and potential through moments of fear, loss, heartbreak, and uncertainty. "If you are looking for a little bit of gentleness, a warm word from writers you can trust, well, here it is."--Glamour Over the course of four years, the traveling love rally called Together Live brought together diverse storytellers for epic evenings of laughter, music, and hard-won wisdom to huge audiences across the country. Well-known womxn (and the occasional man) from all walks of life shared their most vulnerable truths in a radical act of love, paving the way for healing in the face of adversity. Now, off the stage and on the pages of Hungry Hearts, sixteen of these beloved speakers offer moving, inspiring, deeply personal essays as a reminder that we can heal from grief and that divisions can be repaired. Bozoma Saint John opens herself up to love after loss; Cameron Esposito confronts the limits of self-reliance in the wake of divorce; Ashley C. Ford learns to trust herself for the first time. A heartfelt anthology of transformation, self-discovery, and courage that also includes essays by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Amena Brown, Austin Channing Brown, Natalie Guerrero, Sue Monk Kidd, Connie Lim (MILCK), Nkosingiphile Mabaso, Jillian Mercado, Priya Parker, Geena Rocero, Michael Trotter and Tanya-Blount Trotter of The War and Treaty, and Maysoon Zayid, Hungry Hearts shows how reconnecting with our own burning, undeniable intuition points us toward our unique purpose and the communities where we most belong.


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Sixteen innovators, creatives, and thought leaders--Austin Channing Brown, Sue Monk Kidd, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, among others--share intimate stories of uncovering beauty and potential through moments of fear, loss, heartbreak, and uncertainty. "If you are looking for a little bit of gentleness, a warm word from writers you can trust, well, here it is."--Glamour Over th Sixteen innovators, creatives, and thought leaders--Austin Channing Brown, Sue Monk Kidd, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, among others--share intimate stories of uncovering beauty and potential through moments of fear, loss, heartbreak, and uncertainty. "If you are looking for a little bit of gentleness, a warm word from writers you can trust, well, here it is."--Glamour Over the course of four years, the traveling love rally called Together Live brought together diverse storytellers for epic evenings of laughter, music, and hard-won wisdom to huge audiences across the country. Well-known womxn (and the occasional man) from all walks of life shared their most vulnerable truths in a radical act of love, paving the way for healing in the face of adversity. Now, off the stage and on the pages of Hungry Hearts, sixteen of these beloved speakers offer moving, inspiring, deeply personal essays as a reminder that we can heal from grief and that divisions can be repaired. Bozoma Saint John opens herself up to love after loss; Cameron Esposito confronts the limits of self-reliance in the wake of divorce; Ashley C. Ford learns to trust herself for the first time. A heartfelt anthology of transformation, self-discovery, and courage that also includes essays by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Amena Brown, Austin Channing Brown, Natalie Guerrero, Sue Monk Kidd, Connie Lim (MILCK), Nkosingiphile Mabaso, Jillian Mercado, Priya Parker, Geena Rocero, Michael Trotter and Tanya-Blount Trotter of The War and Treaty, and Maysoon Zayid, Hungry Hearts shows how reconnecting with our own burning, undeniable intuition points us toward our unique purpose and the communities where we most belong.

30 review for Hungry Hearts: Essays on Courage, Desire, and Belonging

  1. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    {Thank you to Dial Press for my gifted copy} Hungry Hearts is a powerful collection of essay-style writing from some of the most well-known names in writing and storytelling - ultimately sharing their journeys through times of uncertainty. Outside of the pandemic, this diverse group has shared these types of narratives live and in front of an audience for a number of years now. This written Hungry Hearts format, while different, still feels like an evening with close friends, sharing vulnerabilit {Thank you to Dial Press for my gifted copy} Hungry Hearts is a powerful collection of essay-style writing from some of the most well-known names in writing and storytelling - ultimately sharing their journeys through times of uncertainty. Outside of the pandemic, this diverse group has shared these types of narratives live and in front of an audience for a number of years now. This written Hungry Hearts format, while different, still feels like an evening with close friends, sharing vulnerabilities, times of struggles, and the power of community. We need stories and connections like this and now many of us are feeling this more than ever. Whether you are looking for a book to escape into or to read one story at a time, this collection has something for everyone. Thank you to Dial Press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Poonam

    This is a delightful read! These essays examine ways the contributors had to step up, face themselves, and recover back to themselves. The essays are short, light reads, relatively speaking. I could see this book being gifted to friends/family. Thanks to Random House for the review copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Frederking

    Some really incredible writers. I’ve been in the middle of a lot of books recently. This felt accessible and refreshing and reminds me of the power of story-telling.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    This was exactly the book I needed to read at this point in the pandemic, when I am feeling isolated, lonely, disconnected and...sad. This was a beautiful, beautiful collection of stories of people sharing their most vulnerable, open, brave, heartbroken selves. It made me feel connected, understood, seen. I loved how diverse the storytellers were, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, able-bodied, etc, but also in terms of story. It really reminded me, everybody is going through something really This was exactly the book I needed to read at this point in the pandemic, when I am feeling isolated, lonely, disconnected and...sad. This was a beautiful, beautiful collection of stories of people sharing their most vulnerable, open, brave, heartbroken selves. It made me feel connected, understood, seen. I loved how diverse the storytellers were, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, able-bodied, etc, but also in terms of story. It really reminded me, everybody is going through something really fucking hard, all the time, and we just don't know each other's pain. But when we share and are vulnerable and tell our stories, we invite others to be brave and courageous, and that's where we feel love and connection. I really empathized with so many powerful stories in here, but my favorite was Bozoma Saint John's, about waking up with unspeakable grief after the death of her husband. Her writing is so beautiful and so painful, the pain and sadness is palpable, it truly moved me: "The air is as cool as the other side of the bed, and it's a visceral reminder that I am alone. Alone. Alone though I don't wish to be. Alone though my heart aches in these small hours of the day when no one else moves...My spirit starts to fight against my rib cage because holding my breath hurts almost more than breathing. I have no peace in my nothingness. So I breathe in my singular breaths, calming my racing heart, which threatens to explode under the pressure of its sadness" (105). But I loved that this story, as painful as it was, ends on a note of choosing love. So many of these stories do. People brought together by feelings of lack of belonging, of being different, of staying silent, CHOOSE to love and carry on. I also loved the hilarious piece by Amena Brown, on period playlists. Reading "ATENCHUN" and hearing Bone Crusher's jam *sent me* in the best way possible. I definitely need to create my own playlist now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Malissa

    Quick listen. A great collection of women (and one man) telling their stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I bought this book on the strength of the list of contributors, and I wish I'd saved the money. The writing seemed lazy and rushed, each chapter felt like an undergrad admissions essay written by someone who already had their MBA. Yuck. I bought this book on the strength of the list of contributors, and I wish I'd saved the money. The writing seemed lazy and rushed, each chapter felt like an undergrad admissions essay written by someone who already had their MBA. Yuck.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This is a compilation of essays from great authors that focus on perseverance. In the introduction, the author says she couldn't find a more receptive audience for her stories. She said, "If I told you that my parents got divorced when I was nine years old, it would communicate a fact, but it wouldn't help you know me better. What if instead, I told this?" Then she goes on to tell the story of what exactly happened. Immediately, I was engaged because she's proven her point that the story isn't i This is a compilation of essays from great authors that focus on perseverance. In the introduction, the author says she couldn't find a more receptive audience for her stories. She said, "If I told you that my parents got divorced when I was nine years old, it would communicate a fact, but it wouldn't help you know me better. What if instead, I told this?" Then she goes on to tell the story of what exactly happened. Immediately, I was engaged because she's proven her point that the story isn't in the facts; it's in the details. Advice has a powerful role, but storytelling is more profound because it's more about the show, not tell. It's only when we show ourselves that we can really be seen. Sue Monk Kidd's essay stood out to me because it was so inspirational, not just for writers but for women. She said (paraphrase), "Every day, I would pause and read a quote by Emile Zola and try to take the words in where she says, 'If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you, I am here to live out loud." Then Sue asked herself the question, "What if I substitute 'artist' with the word 'woman' instead?" Sue talked about how she had to get through her fear and "face down insidious voices in my head that told me I shouldn't write because it was too big a risk. I didn't have an MFA. The sinister twins don't and can't..." I loved it. "Hungry Hearts" is absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so glad I read it. To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/jen...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    In 2021, many are feeling disconnected, lonely, and uncertain of the future. This essay collection comes at just the right time, featuring stories of when these writers and inspirational figures took the difficult things that were thrown at them and used them as an opportunity to grow and learn. The vulnerability and realness in these essays really stands out, showing how connecting with our truest selves and the people who love us can propel us forward. Reading this book felt like the warm hugs In 2021, many are feeling disconnected, lonely, and uncertain of the future. This essay collection comes at just the right time, featuring stories of when these writers and inspirational figures took the difficult things that were thrown at them and used them as an opportunity to grow and learn. The vulnerability and realness in these essays really stands out, showing how connecting with our truest selves and the people who love us can propel us forward. Reading this book felt like the warm hugs and coffees with friends that have been so hard to come by during the pandemic. If you're feeling alone or in need of a pep talk, Hungry Hearts is the perfect medicine!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I loved this wonderful collection! These pieces bring insight, laughter and some sobering looks at life from the perspectives of some people not in “the norm” or those who see life differently. I don’t typically read collections of short stories, but this was a terrific collection that I will excerpt for discussion, reread and think about deeply. While the authors are mostly women, there is a male voice- and his thoughts about what it means to be and feel sexy was really unusual, fresh and candi I loved this wonderful collection! These pieces bring insight, laughter and some sobering looks at life from the perspectives of some people not in “the norm” or those who see life differently. I don’t typically read collections of short stories, but this was a terrific collection that I will excerpt for discussion, reread and think about deeply. While the authors are mostly women, there is a male voice- and his thoughts about what it means to be and feel sexy was really unusual, fresh and candid. There are so many voices that need to heard.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Gibbons

    I loved this book! Each story felt like Mana for my heart and soul. At first, I wanted to binge-read it but knew I'd be super bummed if it was over too soon. So I only read one story at a time and strung it out as long as possible. Jennifer Rudolph-Walsh has woven together a beautiful expression of love, courage, and inspiration in co-creation with each author. Don't walk, run to buy this book. Because to be perfectly honest after the year humanity has just had, we need to feed our hungry hearts I loved this book! Each story felt like Mana for my heart and soul. At first, I wanted to binge-read it but knew I'd be super bummed if it was over too soon. So I only read one story at a time and strung it out as long as possible. Jennifer Rudolph-Walsh has woven together a beautiful expression of love, courage, and inspiration in co-creation with each author. Don't walk, run to buy this book. Because to be perfectly honest after the year humanity has just had, we need to feed our hungry hearts more than ever with as much healthy nourishment as possible. Now you have it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    A collection of personal essays, written mostly by women, sharing stories of the moments that have shaped them into the people they are now. I enoyed the second half of this collection much more than the first. The writing in those last 9 essays felt more pointed/cohesive/purposeful and thus came across as more compelling to me. They had a thrust that carried/pushed me along. The writing of the essays of the first half of the collection didn't feel as strong to me; I struggled to push through t A collection of personal essays, written mostly by women, sharing stories of the moments that have shaped them into the people they are now. I enoyed the second half of this collection much more than the first. The writing in those last 9 essays felt more pointed/cohesive/purposeful and thus came across as more compelling to me. They had a thrust that carried/pushed me along. The writing of the essays of the first half of the collection didn't feel as strong to me; I struggled to push through them but am glad I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maria Chiper

    I saw the book recommended by Jennifer Aniston (yes) on her insta stories and it caught my eye because of the title and the subjects that were the main focus of these essays. And I liked it a lot! The stories and thoughts of these women on love, self love, courage, silence and breaking it and so much more were a breath of fresh air for me. Lovely reading and very practical too, as you can enjoy an essay while waiting for a doctor appointment or on the metro ride.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Rice

    I enjoyed this. Some of the essays were true power punches, and there were a few I didn't connect with. BUT I appreciated all the different experiences of belonging and courage, and love that this compilation has something for everyone. Sue Monk Kidd, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and MILCK's pieces were absolutely stunning and poignant for me. Given that it was a compilation, it read more like a podcast, so my mind tended to wander if I listened without breaks between stories. I enjoyed this. Some of the essays were true power punches, and there were a few I didn't connect with. BUT I appreciated all the different experiences of belonging and courage, and love that this compilation has something for everyone. Sue Monk Kidd, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and MILCK's pieces were absolutely stunning and poignant for me. Given that it was a compilation, it read more like a podcast, so my mind tended to wander if I listened without breaks between stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Quinn

    Each personal essay has a distinct voice, dilemma, resolution. Too many of the essays tied up too neatly with a generalized happy ever after, or I am not invincible feel. That aside, nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to the readers' own life were plentiful. I appreciated the emphasis on brave decisions and the importance of mentors/sisters/connection, regardless of one's challenge or race. Each personal essay has a distinct voice, dilemma, resolution. Too many of the essays tied up too neatly with a generalized happy ever after, or I am not invincible feel. That aside, nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to the readers' own life were plentiful. I appreciated the emphasis on brave decisions and the importance of mentors/sisters/connection, regardless of one's challenge or race.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gail Barnett

    I received this book as a gift and it was very inspirational and a quick read. These essays will brighten your day and motivate you to live your best life. We all have a story to share! Maybe you could write your own essay to help someone else?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jen Craun

    Fabulously curated selection of essays, primarily authorized by women. A loose focus on story, and the power to both overcome and connect through the medium. Many familiar voices, as well as some I had not read before — which was an added bonus, as I now have a short list of new authors to pursue.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Bolender

    This was a good collection of personal essays on important topics. I think because I have already read books from the majority of these authors, there wasn’t anything revolutionary for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catalina Gardescu

    Maybe I expected too much after hearing the author speak about the book ...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Mathews

    A book that speaks to all I want to do in the world and the importance of story-telling. I will come back to it again and again for inspiration.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Harker

    Such beautiful and courageous stories! I would highly recommend the audiobook since most of the essays are read by their authors.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Oddie

    Some of the essays in this were unforgettable, others I wish I hadn’t read...inconsistent quality overall, but Sue Monk Kidd and Natalie Guerrero made it worth it for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Reader

    I related in different ways with each story. Impressive work!

  23. 5 out of 5

    #TUVIDAESINCREIBLE

    ¡Todos queremos pertenecer! Qué rico es saber que muchas cosas y sentimientos nos unen...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    3.5=Actual Rating Great essays with wonderful messages!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynnette

    3.5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    These vignettes were delightful and moving to listen to. I especially love hearing the different voices sharing them.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bibliobabe

    Wow! Moving, inspiring, eye opening! A very diverse group of authors sharing heartfelt perspectives!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Hazen

    Beautiful collection of stories and poems from famous authors about the situation we are currently we are living in. Well written. Highly recommend. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel A. Dawson

    Thanks to @randomhouse for this one! I was excited to pick up this collection from a few authors I know and love, and so many new voices, too. They are innovators, storytellers, thought leaders, and warm, wise womxn, and each essay was beautiful and heartfelt in its own way. The description read that this collection “shows how reconnecting with our own burning, undeniable intuition points us toward our unique purpose and the communities where we most belong” which sums it up well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matt

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