As 2017 comes to a close, I reflect upon the year that was AND upon the 12 books that got me through this year! Below you’ll find the list of books, but more importantly I’ve added what they taught me and I hope (for some of the books) it will encourage you to read them and to enjoy them just as much as I did.
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I started reading Eat Pray Love about 8 months prior to Jan 2017, but couldn’t finish it. When I started reading for the first time I got about a quarter way through and just couldn’t do it – I was going through some personal challenges and this book made me feel like I needed to change them, instead I wanted to just sit and feel sorry for myself. Eight months later, with those same challenges but ready to tackle them, I read the whole book! I really encourage anyone who feels trapped by something, whether that is a job or a relationship or even a state of mind, to read Eat Pray Love. I wasn’t ready the first time, but are we ever fully ready to change our lives?
The Kindness Pact – Domonique Bertolucci
The Kindness Pact, just like The Kindness Effect is all about being kind to yourself first, in order for your world to change. This book was the perfect way to begin my year after reading Eat Pray Love; it is gentle yet grounded in truth. It’s pages are filled with 8 promises you must make to yourself, to feel good about who you are and the life you live. Of course, you don’t have to make these promises to yourself, but after you read each one, you will want to!
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
A story about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny! I think I under lined almost every second sentence in this little treasure of a book. A story about a hotshot lawyer who is work-obsessed, unhealthy and unhappy, decides to leave it all behind after having a heart attack in court and being told he is close to death. He changes everything about his life, from the food he eats to the meditation he practices, the way we connects with others and he shares these lessons with a young lawyer who is going down the same dangerous path he once was. A book of transformation, but in an attainable way! And with ‘how-to’ sections along the way, I learnt that we all have the choice to change.
Town – James Roy
Town, is a book that is taught throughout many secondary schools; I was tutoring a family cousin in English and had to read it, which for me always takes the fun out of reading. However, this book surprised me. Town, is a collection of thirteen linked stories, and what it reminded me of, is how connected and intertwined we all are. Even those we don’t really know, we are all part of one community and are connected in ways we couldn’t possibly understand.
This is Water – David Foster Wallace
While sitting on a couch in a holiday house just outside of Anglesea with my two sisters, I read this short story aloud. It is a story of two fish swimming, through life. The story then takes a turn, and another turn until you are reading about life and all its intricacies, and then just like that after being in the depth of life, you are back with the two fish. A powerful little story, that reminded me that life is all around, here and now and in every moment.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
A truly special story of a young mans journey across his country to discover his ‘personal legend’. Written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho in 1988 – it is a book that many have drawn quotes from and use today widely. The book is written as a fable and teaches about the Soul of the World, the Language of the World, and about your one true path. A quote to sum it up… “When you want something the whole universe will conspire together to help you get it?”.
My Life on the Road – Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem!!!! If you haven’t heard of her, stop reading this post and Google the shit out of her!! She’s an 83-year-old journalist, activist, feminist and fearless leader! What she has accomplished throughout her life is truly remarkable. This book is the story of her life, in her own words, from being a 10 year old year in the back of her father vans driving around America selling odds and ends, to working with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Gloria’s story is one of listening, deeply listening to people, especially women for years and years and how she learnt through her listening, and how she created change with those stories. She paints the world in a way that is hard to pretend isn’t accurate – because it will leave you with such anger! Then just when you want to place that anger somewhere, she gives you hope and regains your faith in humanity. This is by far my favourite book (on equal par as the last book of the list) I have EVER read. I will be re-reading this in 2018 and then probably in 2019 and then probably every year after.
The Dangers of Truffle Hunting – Sunni Overend
I don’t normally pick up books like this, I am more of a memoir, true story or self-help/lessons kind of girl but, to be honest, I picked this book up because I liked what it looked like. Soft pinks and greens grace its cover, and as such was visually appealing to me. And just like the outside appealed to my taste, so did the story. Let me sum it up by saying, sexy, food, longhaired man, wine, Fitzroy, sex! It was a lot of fun and I really couldn’t put it down! What did it teach me?, that sometimes books are just here to help you have a good time.
Elinor & Park – Rianbow Rowell
Oh, take me back to being a young naive but clever 16 year-old, in love for the first time! Oh wait, that’s exactly what this book did. It reminded me of what it feels like to be young and in love. I smiled through reading the whole book – and that is a lesson within itself.
The Sun and her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
If you haven’t heard of Rupi Kaur, I don’t know what you’ve been doing the last couple of years. Rupi is a young 25-year-old poet from Canada with her first book of poems called Milk and Honey published in 2014 (which I also read). The Sun and her Flowers, is about the abuse she survived as a child, growing up with Indian parents, sexuality, love, brokenness and finding the courage to open up and love again. Every poem will dig at something deep within you (as it did me) and make you question if you could ever write about your life so honestly.
One Italian Summer – Pip Williams
This year I have been searching for ‘the good life’ – My partner and I bought a house, planted a veggie garden, I started a new job but still something within felt missing. I longed for more. Pip, writes about the exact same thing! A true story, Pip dives into her unhappiness despite having a rather seemingly wonderful life. Pips married to a wonderful man, they grow veggies in their garden, they have two sons and she works part-time, but she still isn’t happy – so naturally they packed up and moved to Italy to work as WOOFERS (volunteers on farms – your work pays for your stay and food). Her story is one of finding happiness in the little moments, in the Italian families they boarded with and fell in love with and in rediscovering what actually makes her happy compared to what she think is ‘meant’ to make her happy. This book taught me a lot and showed me part of what I want from and for my life, but at the core of it is this; you don’t need to change what your life looks like to be happy, only what it feels like.
The Courage to be Disliked – Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
I just finished this book, literally this evening (January 30th) – this Japanese phenomenon that sold over 3 million copies, only recently was translated into English! This truth bomb, took me about 2 months to read; I am normally a fast reader, but I could only read about 6-10 pages at a time before having to put it down. Everything I read challenged my thoughts and beliefs, but at the very same time it felt like I was reading my own words and thoughts – I felt deeply connected yet felt challenged with every page. I underlined, re-read sections, reflected, put it down, started again and now I have finished I am aware I didn’t grasp all the content covered and will aim to re-read it again in 2018. The basis of the book is this: people choose not to change, their suffering serves them. Which is what our January 2018 workshop is based on (check out the Workshops tab) – it’s about the courage to be happy and the things we must let go of to attain such happiness.