BOOKS I’VE READ THIS MONTH:
My Mother’s Daughter – Irene Zahava
I discovered this book on a mini holiday in Dorset, it was in the book shelf in the accommodation we were staying in. Published in 1992, this book is full of different short stories, excerpts and memoirs by women reflecting on their own mother-daughter relationships. Through this book I also discovered the author Ntozake Shange as an excerpt from her novel Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo that focuses on a mother/daughter relationship. It’s amazing to read so many different and honest depictions of how people view and learn from their mothers.
The Obstacle Is The Way – Ryan Holiday
I really enjoy Ryan Holiday’s writing over on his website and on the New York Observer (where he is a columnist.) I devoured his other best-seller Trust Me I’m Lying. He’s a very clever guy – I read everything he writes, and he’s really great on podcasts too. I especially enjoy the way he talks about marketing books – and using the Internet to its advantage. This book is particular is brilliant, modern take on the philosophy of Stoicism that Ryan Holiday practices in his daily life. The title of the book is inspired by the musings of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” The NFL have been said to read this book religiously – it’s great for anyone that wants to find ways to achieve their goals.
The Art of Memoir – Mary Karr
This book is amazing, especially for anyone that wants to find their true authentic writing voice. It’s a really fun read, as well as feeling like you are learning a lot. Through this book you learn from Mary Karr herself how to shake off your worries; the fear of being pretentious and how to tell a narrative, learning to leave bits of the story out if necessary (however hard that be). I love how she allows the reader to let go of feeling constrained. “A fierce urge to try re-experiencing your own mind and body and throbbing heart alive inside the most vivid stories from your past is Step 1,” she says.
The Year Of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
The full title of Shonda Rhimes’ memoir is “How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” – who wouldn’t want to read a book called that? I was gripped from the very opening chapter where she explains why she decided to try being a “Yes” person. Very uplifting, inspiring, a must-read for #girlbosses all over the world.
Romantic Outlaws – Charlotte Gordon
I haven’t actually quite finished this book yet, but I absolutely LOVE the premise of it, exploring the extraordinary lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. A review in the Guardian said that the book makes it clear that “Shelley’s life was inextricably bound to the mother she never knew.”
Girl Waits With Gun – Amy Stewart
This book caught my eye after Liz Gilbert endorsed it as ‘a smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I’ve seen in print for a long time.’ I LOVE reading about women who were ahead of their time, and broke the rules of the society around them. Set in the early 1900’s surrounding a crime scene, it’s thrilling, dark in places – a brilliant read about a woman who stood up for herself even if it was extremely dangerous to do so at the time.
Still Writing – Dani Shapiro
I think this (and Big Magic) are my fave books on creativity. Dani addresses so many of my own worries about writing – what happens if I run out of ideas? What if I have a bad day of procrastination? How do I get in the mind set to carry on? What happens if people criticise you? It’s a beautifully written guide book and you get to learn about Dani’s interesting life as you go along.
Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson
The author of the brilliant book This Book is Gay James Dawson is now writing as Juno Dawson; I really enjoy Juno’s column about being transgender in GLAMOUR magazine, like all her work, it’s beautifully written. This book is something Juno should be so proud of – she writes and admits all sorts of courageous things under the umbrella of mental health, offering factual and funny advice. One minute I was laughing, the next I had a lump in my throat. It’s clear this book will be helpful for so many.
Room – Emma Donoghue
I watched the film first, then ran out to Waterstones to get the book. It did not disappoint, I raced through it and re-lived all the emotions I got from the film all over again. Massive respect for Emma Donoghue, I’m so incredibly inspired by the fact she wrote this book in 6 months!!
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
‘Not giving a fuck’ is officially on trend. The full title of this book is: “How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do.” I loved it. It’s simple, funny, to the point, and a parody of Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It helps the reader rid themselves of unwanted guilt, shame and feeling trapped -and instead give a fuck about the things in life that make you feel alive.
All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
I’ve just started this book, which is now out in paper back. The blurb sells it straight away: “Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.” It’s a NY Times bestseller and about to be a film starring Elle Fanning.