Epiphany Book Recommendations

Lately, people have been asking me for recommendations of books for summer reading…I recently have completely two amazing autobiographical accounts that, yes, happen to deal with epiphanies…

Oddly enough, both of these authors are from Austin (Austin has been my home off and on for years). One lives there now and the other was raised there but now lives in New York. Both books have films based on them as well – coming out very soon in fact!

The first book is The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson. This is an incredible story of parental love and the quest these parents go on to heal their autistic son. I laughed out loud, gasped, cried, and could not put it down. The documentary they shot while on their journey, primarily on horseback in Outer Mongolia, meeting with shamans who could possibly heal their son, is going to be released in September. It was a huge hit on the festival film circuit, including the big ones – Sundance and South By Southwest. Rupert is now adapting the book for a narrative film as well. For me, this book is an example of the human capacity for exceptional, boundless love and the endless possibilities and opportunities that can occur because of it. I have met Rupert in Austin and he is quite dashing, fun and definitely extraordinary. His wife, Kristin is amazing, too, and hopefully I will be interviewing them for the book. They have set up a foundation and school for children with autism with proceeds from these projects and individual donations.

The second book I just finished, which actually made me brave enough to give in and write a blog is Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I have had the book since the summer of 2006 when I picked up a hardback signed copy in BookPeople, my favorite indie bookstore in Austin, the day after Ms. Powell had a booksigning…I’m so bummed I missed her now. Obviously, I was an idiot and never even read it, but because there is such a hoopla about the new Nora Ephron film with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams (and also Chris Messina, who plays Julie’s husband and might not be as famous but is an incredible actor and great guy), I looked for it on my shelf the other day and decided I needed to sit down with it. Again – couldn’t put it down. Girl has epiphany that her life is stagnant and dead end-ish and she needs to create a project that stimulates her before she turns 30. She swipes her mother’s copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and decides to cook all 524 recipes in it over the course of a year and blogs about it, having no idea what she’s doing in either the kitchen or the blog. Cut to…she is now a big-time author, writes full-time, still blogs, and has a BIG-time movie out based on her book. And we all live happily ever after…gotta love stories like this, especially when they’re true! Funny, smart, real, actually makes you want to cook (which is beyond odd for me) and wear pearls (ditto) and brings back childhood memories of watching Julia Child on TV which was made no sense and was completely over my head at the time (and probably still is) but mesmerized nonetheless, and I can’t wait for the film which opens August 7.

About Elise Ballard

Elise Ballard is the author of Epiphany! a book of inspirational stories, aha moments and exclusive interviews from Random House Publishing
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