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Publication date: May 25, 2021

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A Memoir of Finding Joy When Your World Goes Dark


This inspirational memoir is a deeply personal exploration of what can sustain us through our darkest moments--from the op-ed contributor for The New York Times and author of Victoria: The Queen.

After surviving a difficult heartbreak and battle with cancer, acclaimed author and columnist Julia Baird began thinking deeply about how she and others persevere through the most challenging circumstances. She started to wonder, when our world goes dark, when we are overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, tragedy outside our control, how can we survive, stay alive, and even bloom? So she went in search of "the magic that will sustain us and fuel the light within--our own phosphorescence."

Phosphorescence is a natural phenomenon that allows some creatures--glow worms, fireflies, flashlight fish, even entire oceans--to give off light amidst darkness. Inspired by their simple beauty, Baird writes about the things that lit her way through the darkness: a connection to nature, friendships, her faith, her mother's example, deliberately experiencing awe and wonder, and other habits that changed her life. She also explores how others nurture their inner light, interviewing the founder of the modern forest therapy movement in Tokyo, a jellyfish scientist in Tasmania, and a tattooed priest from Colorado, among others.

Weaving together candid and moving memoir with deep research and reflections on nature, Baird inspires readers to embrace new habits and adopt a phosphorescent outlook on life, to illuminate ourselves and our days--even in the darkest times.

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