20 (or so) Books I Highly Recommend

09/7/2013

As you *may* have ordained from last week’s post, I am a rather enthusiastic reader. Books and I have been having a grand and enduring love affair since I can remember (before that, even). And I don’t know about you, but I LOVE having a bit of a perve on other people’s book shelves.

So I’ve done a quick scan of my own to proffer a small collection of my highest recommendations, across a few categories. And because I’m a reading junkie after your own heart, all you need to do is click on the title’s link to be taken straight to your supply.

I feel a compulsion to tell you this is not an exhaustive list. Because it’s not. At all. In fact I have definitely left out many gems. I imagine that picking favourite books is kind of like picking favourite children – difficult to do and ends in tears. So I will likely trot a post or two of this type every so often, so the other beauties don’t feel neglected.

Fellow bibliophiles, I’d LOVE to hear any book recommendations you have for me, please pop them in the comments.

Empowerment, Spirituality

The Power of Now

 

The Power of Now + A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle. I have to put them together because they’re both fantastic, but definitely read the Power of Now first. These books will make you conscious of the importance of mindfulness and being truly present in your life. Not digging in the past, or future-tripping, but well and truly present. These are books that keep on giving, you’ll be picking them up off the shelf for a re-read for years to come.

Anatomy of the Spirit – Caroline Myss. An excellent overview of the chakras and their corresponding effects on emotional and physical wellbeing, from a highly skilled medical intuitive.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho. This is a super easy but amazingly profound read. I read it for the first time at school, and have since revisited it numerous times. Its messages reveal themselves as and when you’re ready to receive them – and how I read it at school differs significantly to how I read it now.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin. A really fun and super interesting book describing Gretchen’s challenge to herself to do everything that is rumoured to ‘make people happy’. Something for the practical among us – there’s plenty of ideas for you to employ in your own life. Also littered with mega wisdom bombs throughout.

Spirit Junkie – Gabrielle Bernstein. For anyone who has come across A Course in Miracles and is keen for a younger (but no less profound) perspective on the spiritual lessons within it, Gabby’s book makes it all highly relatable and really easy to digest. I pick it up off  my shelf all the time to have a quick re-read.

Fun, Funnier, Funniest

Marieke Hardy

You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead – Marieke Hardy. This woman is hilarity personified. I follow on her twitter and frankly can’t get enough. So when she released her book, it was a mad dash to the book store to absorb more Marieke goodness. She writes beautifully, poignantly and hilariously – a winning combination for me.

How to Be a Woman – Caitlyn Moran. If you don’t want to be the person laughing out loud by yourself on public transport – do not take this book with you. Because you will laugh so hard that tears will stream down your face. Caitlyn’s book is a modern meditation on feminism, using some hilarious anecdotes from her own life. Not just for women-folk either, I highly recommend it to men too.

The Family Law – Benjamin Law. A Queensland boy who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, Ben’s book is about the hilarious goings on within his family home. Another laugh out loud book. It’s been made in to a musical and I’m pretty sure it’s also going to be a movie.

Bossypants – Tina Fey. Tina needs no introduction – many would have seen her comic genius on Saturday Night Live, or 30 Rock. She is FUN-NAE. Love this book.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris. David got a shout out a few weeks ago on a Thrilling Me post, because he is brilliant. This book is a series of vignettes taken from his life – and in the hands of David the most simple interactions are made  comical. There’s a reason why he’s been described as the man who, “Can make Woody Allen appear ham-tongued, (and) Oscar Wilde a drag”.

Easy reads

Emergency Sex

Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures – Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, Andrew Thomson. My copy of this book is so dog-eared I have no idea how many people I’ve lent in to. Written from three people’s perspectives, if you’ve ever been curious about what goes on in the humanitarian aid industry and want some entertaining protagonists – this book’s for you.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series – Alexander McCall Smith. These books are just delightful. Following the adventures of one ‘traditionally-built’ Mma Precious Ramotswe, a Private Investigator, in Botswana, these tales have such a warmth and simplicity yet resounding depth, they keep me coming back for more at every release.

My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell. I don’t think anything can compare to the descriptive prose that Gerald uses to bring you right on to the island of Corfu with his family, who impulsively decide to up and move to this colourful Greek Island from dreary old England. Probably the most re-read book I have on my shelf

Born to Run – Christopher McDougall. A great read for anyone interested in running (or reading about it). Lots of really entertaining tales about ultra-marathoners, I was especially taken with the story of the Tarahumara indians who run hundreds of miles in flat leather sandals, fueled only by a mix of chia seeds and corn flour water.

Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel. A beautiful and poignant love story that also combines cooking and recipes within its pages. It’s such a multidimensional book, it definitely needs to be experienced.

Gripping Novels

Caroline Overington

I Came to Say Goodbye – Caroline Overington. I love all of the books of Caroline’s that I’ve read, but this one had me particularly enthralled. Her writing is compelling, and this story takes you through a mysterious family court case that unfolds through the eyes of an elderly grandfather.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl. This book is a work of art, and took Marisha many years to write. It has shades of Donna Tartt’s A Secret History to it, but a bit more contemporised. I wanted to gobble up each of her delectable sentences. Such an awesome read.

Possession – A.S. Byatt. Beautiful and haunting – another person whose words I just want to eat up. It’s a romance novel that combines historical and contemporary fiction – and won the Booker Prize in 1990. Love love love this book.

Atonement – Ian McEwen. I know it was made in to a movie and many people went to see it, but I urge you, if you haven’t already, to read this book. It’s so beautifully crafted, and this simply cannot be captured on film.

One Day – David Nicholls. This book revisits a man and a woman on the same day every year for many years. Hemming the story in this tightly does wonders for the unfolding plot – and the character development over the narrative arc is just breathtaking. A complete wonder of a novel, but do have a tissue handy.

What are some of your favourite books? I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments below!

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