Looking Ahead: A Manifesto and New Recommended Reads

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Inspirations, Reading, and My Manifesto

I have always loved quotes and photographs. All the way back in middle and high school, I hung quotes and photographs at my desk for inspiration. There is something about being in a place–a normal place, whether it’s a windowless office or a place with an ordinary view–and having access to something that inspires us to keep doing our best, being our best all year long. Deep down, I’m someone who needs a visual to cue back to what is most important.

My Manifesto

On January 1, 2012, I sat in our tiny family room in Prague and wrote my own manifesto, inspired by one of my favorite websites, brainpickings.org, and the Holstee Manifesto they have posted there.

My manifesto encapsulates what is important to me, what I believe to be true, and what I hope to remember each new day and each new year. As I look ahead into 2014, I’m remembering it, as well as my hope to encourage others more, and my usual annual goals in the areas of physical fitness, reading and writing, spiritual and faith, and art. They’re all related here, in my manifesto:

Jennifer's Manifesto
Jennifer’s Manifesto


Other New Year Inspirations


I’m always deeply moved by the Proctor & Gamble Olympics ads honoring moms. This one for the Sochi Olympics moves me to tears. It’s a beautiful tribute in every way. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It’s worth the 2 minutes.

P&G Thank You, Mom | Sochi Olympics

Also, Bing has a stunning ad remembering the heroic and strong women of 2013. Thanks, Lindsey Mead, for pointing the way to it!

Bing Heroic Women

New Recommended Reads:

I’ve read some really great books recently, and it makes me really happy, because what can be better than being pulled into a really good book and not being able to put it down?

I’m staying with my ’11, ’12, and ’13 reading goals, of reading 50 books in 2014. Here are some of my favorites from the start:

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen TessaroLast week, my recommendation of recent favorite book, THE PERFUME COLLECTOR by Kathleen Tessaro, was the weekly book rec at GreatNewBooks.org.


If you’re looking for great books to read, GreatNewBooks will have 52 new book recommendations for 2014, each Wednesday of the year, as well as our books from 2013. We believe great books help to make the world a better place, and that reading helps us all to become our very best. So please stop over and browse our favorites, stop back often for giveaways, and share your favorite books with us.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithTHE CUCKOO’S CALLING by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling):

I picked this book up as a Christmas present for my husband, who I knew would love The Cuckoo’s Calling. It turns out, though, that I opened the cover to read a few pages after he’d opened it, and kept right on reading. I loved it for the writing style, for the characterizations, and for the mystery that unfolds as the story goes on. It’s a literary mystery that would make a great book club book; there’s a lightness to it that whispers J.K. Rowling’s name. The Cuckoo’s Calling is totally different than Harry Potter, obvious in the excessive use of profanity, but she’s done a great job with this one.


The House Girl by Tara ConklinTHE HOUSE GIRL by Tara Conklin:

THE HOUSE GIRL is an excellent debut novel with two compelling stories, one in the present, one in the past. I loved the author’s style of writing, her choice of words and details which depicted the stories of Josephine (the house girl) and Lina (the young lawyer researching Josephine’s story). The novel is a page-turner about art, the things we suppress, and the things we need most in life. I highly recommend it, as The House Girl would be a great book to discuss with others.


Fall of Marigolds by Susan MeissnerFALL OF MARIGOLDS by Susan Meissner:

FALL OF MARIGOLDS is a historical novel connecting similarities and characters in two time periods in New York City, and the events of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire with the catastrophic time surrounding the World Trade Towers collapse in 2011. The characters, an immigration nurse on Ellis Island, Clara, and a 9/11 widow and mother, Taryn, are connected through a common object, an unusual scarf. It’s a story of love, of taking risks, and of pursuing life and love despite horrific circumstances. It’s a beautiful book. I have the tremendous privilege of knowing Susan, and this novel is my favorite of all of her books out so far. It is simply outstanding. Published by NAL/Penguin and on shelves in only a couple weeks, February 4, 2014. Highly recommend, also a great book for book club discussion.



If you haven’t started your own bookshelf at Goodreads.com yet, you must. It’s a wonderful way to keep track of what you’ve read, and to research and find out about books you might want to read in the future. My bookshelf at Goodreads can be found here, as well as the GreatNewBooks bookshelf by clicking here. And finally, set your own reading goals for 2014 at the Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Reading and books, they are the best way to grow as a human being, and to enrich your world and your life.

Here’s to a great year ahead in 2014!

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

6 thoughts on “Looking Ahead: A Manifesto and New Recommended Reads

  1. I love this, Jennifer! I NEVER watch video on the computer, but both of the ones to which you linked compelled me to do so and I am so glad. I need to check out some of the books you recommend … and I love your manifesto. xoxo

    1. Thanks to you for pointing me to the 2013 heroes video! And, thank you, about my manifesto. šŸ™‚ I’ve vowed to have a canvas wrap printed of it to hang in my studio. Thank you, Lindsey!

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