It’s my belief that you should never abandon your mind and reading is one of the most efficient way to continue evolving mentally and emotionally. I have always loved to read and books have been such a pleasurable part of my life. In lots of ways my writing is informed by everything I’ve ever read; it challenges and forms thoughts, distracts and deepens my mind and broadens my perspectives and creativity. In case you’re interested I’ve included a list of some of my favourite books here, in no particular order or category. I’ll never stop reading so this list will never stop growing.
If you are a woman The Female Brain is a MUST READ. Without the knowledge that Brizendine provides us with, we’re all running around without the manual to ourselves. Before I read this book I thought that men and women being from different planets was a mere humorous sentiment. But holy shit – when you delve into the world of science and explore how our brains ACTUALLY work and begin to understand the hormones and chemicals critical to our mental make up the very tectonic plates of the earth shift. Brizendeine makes the whole thing both accessible and interesting for everyone too, I may be a nerd but I’m not up to scratch with the finite anatomy of the brain. Regardless I struggled to put this book down.
Shantaram is a true writers treasure and undoubtedly a text of our time. The relationship that Gregory David Roberts has with words is a gift to witness. His fluidity and poetry in prose is magnetic and seduces you further with every twist. Categorised as fiction, the 2003 novel is a loose account of (real) events taking place in Bombay as well as an exploration of love, friendship, poverty, addiction and tragedy. It moves you to the core in both story and delivery and I could barely turn a page without needing to scribble down quotes.
Textbook Romance was a major catalyst and fundamental pillar of knowledge in conceptualising ideas for my own writing (and book). It’s relevant, charismatic and encouraging. All young women should read it at least once. Flagged as the contemporary (Australian) version of The Rules, (ancient dating warfare manifesto) Textbook Romance delivers straightforward advice about everyday brain farts like ‘When should I text back?’, ‘What to do when he does nothing?’ and ‘When should I move in with my boyfriend?’ Foster gives a fantastic overview of the big picture (mental, emotional, spiritual and romantic) and poignant insight into the way women think and feel. She’s a strict purveyor of her modern day dating rules but it’s not without relevance, as she smoothly (and humorously) guides the reader into knowing her worth, elegantly bagging a date, boyfriend and eventually, life partner.
In my eyes Esther Perrel is a goddess. She’s intelligent, articulate, savvy and transcends all preconceived notions of everything we’ve ever believed about men, women and our individual types of desire. A contemporary ad educational authority on topics like sexuality, eroticism, desire, love and distance she paints a unique picture of partnership. Mating in Captivity focuses on the two contraindicating issues of eroticism and intimacy and how we struggle to straddle the internal demands for security whilst indulging our inherent sexuality. She discusses how humans strive to fulfil our needs for closeness and security but in doing so smother our inherently animalistic and fundamental desire for eroticism as played out via sex.
There are a zillion self help books out there and everybody has an opinion of their worthiness. In the end you either dig them or you don’t. Fact is they only vary in context because the content is basic: love yourself and everything works (sorry if I just debunked a whole writing genre). You can get floaty, new age ones, bossy ones, love ones, career ones, motivational ones, health ones…anything. Jen Sincero is assertive and authentic. More to the point she injects herself into her work which makes it both relatable and humorous. I would love to have Sincero following me around slapping me into sensibility, and if that’s not the sign of a great self help writer/motivator then what the hell is?
On the COMPLETE other end of the spectrum Louise Hay’s chronicle of work is a pillar in the foundations of self-WORK books. Hay is an absolute game changer in alternative health and she’s also one of the originals purveyors of the concept of ‘manifest your own desire’. This book, first published in 1984 is HEAVYYYYYYY. You’ll need an open mind and a mirror (no, not to inspect at your own vagina – that’s another book). This book is the ultimate guide to holding yourself accountable through life. Hay believes that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is manifested by our own minds. I’m talking that pimple on your chin, your tennis elbow. All of it. She gets right to the root of everything; daddy issues, self esteem worries, money hang ups, Freudian angst, deep seated depression. It’s naaaaaaasty and you can expect tears and bubbling anger. Whether you get that invested in it or not it’s worth a read for the journey of self analysis that it takes you on. It’s unexpected and uncomfortable but that’s what makes it both so raw, so unique and so achingly effective.
As Louise Hay says: “Resistance is only an indicator of the lesson most poignant to us at this very moment.”
The 4 Hour Work Week is essentially a literary boot camp to business and efficiency. What’s unique about it is the way Ferriss bravely challenges the status quo and common perception that life is based around the relentless grind of the 9-5. It’s an issue close to home for me as it taps into one of my early personal struggles. In my first full time job I got stuck and mentally rinsed by the monotony of the 9-5, subsequently facing my first bout of depression. Misinformed? Immature? – perhaps, but it remains a question of poignancy for me in any type of employment that potentially compromised my freedom (mental, creative, physical or otherwise). Ferriss’ character means that, at times, the book can be abrasive to digest (I refer to him as a character but I also wholeheartedly believe in his authenticity).Would I want to be stuck on a desert island with him? No way. But he packs a punch in the work-right arena. In no way is this book going to appeal to your emotions and there is nothing airy fairy or beautiful about it, but if you want some daring advice on how to streamline your work or business life then read it.
This has a really ugly cover and looks like it’s come from a biblical book store so I can understand that it may be off putting. Bare with me. This book and the concept behind it, I believe, has the potential to unlock the inability of men and women (in relationships) to really understand one another. It’s fairly common knowledge that men and women struggle to see eye to eye. A lot of this can be put down to our chemical and hormonal differences, but when it comes to behavioural issues Chapman has this absolutely nailed. He suggests that each individual gives and receives love in a different way (there are 5 ways and each person connects with one more than the others). Without this knowledge it’s extremely easy to misdirect our love and ultimately cause a relationship to break down through ‘lack of understanding.’ When this really clicks – my god does the penny drop, and it will potentially change your whole outlook of a relationship. It’s an easy read and Chapman makes the concept accessible through the use of relatable examples from his work.
With a similar context to Ester Perrell’s writing on eroticism & intimacy Bergner investigates female desire, arousal and sexuality.
Eye opening to say the least, Bergner dares to question common taboos like rape fantasies, the latent female desire, female Viagra! and the discontent of monogamy. There’s a few parts of the book that get heavy on the ‘we did these tests on rats’ type talk but hang in there because the outcomes and evaluations are delivered with a provocative rawness that you won’t find anywhere else.