“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
What do you think about Mr King’s thoughts above? I happen to agree. The man sure knows a thing or two (or 350 million copies sold) about writing. But inspiring quotes aside, I know for a fact that MY writing flows with far more ease and joy when I’ve been reading my butt off. Simple as that.
It was under this premise (and for the pleasure! and the learning!) that I decided to read a book a week for the 52 weeks leading up to my 30th birthday. You can find the rest of the things I decided I wanted to do / be / see / have and experience before the big 3-0 over here, plus the first instalment of book reviews and reflections over here.
I’m pleasantly surprised (and quietly smug) to inform you all that the challenge thus far has been successful!
I have just *one week* to catch up on and I’m exactly halfway there today. (Which means that today I’m exactly twenty-nine-and-a-half!)
Here’s my reviews and reflections on books / weeks 9 – 18. Enjoy!
9. Look Who’s Back / Timur Vermes
Hitler wakes up in Berlin in the year 2011 to find that his beloved country has… changed. A lot. Yes, this is fiction and it happily fed my hungry fascination with post-WWII Germany; I really enjoyed this book! The translation from Deutsch ist wunderbar and although there were a few German history jokes (yes, this book is funny!) I probably missed, it had me giggling a lot.
But also, cringing. This book presents the very real and terrifying possibilities of what could happen – and is happening! – when dark powers among us have access to, and control over, our media, government and communication streams. Yes, Hitler gets his own YouTube channel. Timely, you could say!
10. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within / Natalie Goldberg
You know that a book is going to be a lifelong favourite when you order it online, just a few short pages into reading your borrowed copy from the library. How had I never heard of Natalie Goldberg before I found this book?! Her themes and thoughts and ideas have so obviously been the inspiration for many of the writers I am inspired by today.
Goldberg smacked me with truth and gold and love, like she wrote this book for me, and in the year I was born no less. How kind of her. This book makes you want to put pen to paper, and you will. My writing practice has never been as fluid, as consistent or as ‘free’. I adored this book!
11. The Bicycle Teacher / Campbell Jefferys
I started reading this book before I went to Berlin last October, and I struggled getting into it. I picked it up again on my return to Australia and this time, devoured it. It might be one of those books that draws you in if you’ve spent time in the location(s) where the story takes place. Interestingly for me, it was set in Perth and Berlin! Two of my favourite places in the world.
I want to know everything there is to know about what life was like in divided Berlin during the Cold War, and what I loved about this memoir-style fiction, was the different perspective it presented on communism and capitalism and the possibility that for some people, East Germany was the dream – not the West. The love story that brings it all together is pretty sweet too.
12. Mischief / Fay Weldon
A delightful collection of short stories! Fay Weldon is an enchantress, a maven of storytelling. For generations, Weldon’s work has observed and told stories of women living in patriarchal society. Being a chronologically ordered collection of stories over four decades of work, what greatly satisfied me was the way the same threads and arrangement of characters rang true throughout the years, even as the external culture morphed and shifted so dramatically for women (and of course, for men).
Her most recent novella included at the end of the collection is superb: unhappy wedded life, death, infidelity, pharmaceuticals, surveillance and the paranormal, all deliciously woven together in a fantastic and scarily believable tale.
13. The Meaning of Life / Bradley Trevor Greive
“No matter how we look at it, life is strange and not always what it seems.”
After the epic-ness of the previous book, I needed a short-n-sweet number to round it out. 🙂 Enter one of my favourite books EVER.
I’ve had this book for so long. If you don’t own a copy, buy one for yourself. And your best friend. And your Mum. It’s just the cutest, simplest capture of what it means to live a meaningful life. And in classic Bradley Trevor Greive style, it’s full of adorable animal pictures. A win.
14. Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Monthly Super Powers & Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period. / Lisa Lister
I think Lisa Lister might be my spirit animal. I devoured this book in a couple of days, cheering along and nodding in agreeance and a deep surge of love and reverence for the Sisterhood! Lisa’s approach to periods and pussies is super fun, practical and a little bit naughty, which is awesome.
I love that the focus isn’t simply on ‘that time of the month’ but on understanding your cycle in its ENTIRETY. Yes! If you have a vagina (or you are intimate with someone who does – or both!) and a wicked sense of humour, read this book. It’s brilliant.
15. The Desire Map / Danielle La Porte
Certainly not the first time I’ve read this one! I complete The Desire Map at the end of every year, to refresh and redefine my ‘core desired feelings’: the few key states of being that I most desire to embody and experience in my life.
This year the magic few are: ENCHANTED, SOVEREIGN, OPEN HEART, RADIANT & SHAKTI.
I recommend this book and its accompanying workbook to all of my clients, so if you haven’t yet stumbled upon and fallen in love with this transformative work, may I kindly nudge it in your direction. You’ll never set (or achieve) your goals and intentions the same way again.
16. Red Moon / Miranda Gray
I read this book a few years ago, but wasn’t quite ready then to fully absorb everything Miranda has to share about the gifts of the menstrual cycle. Let’s just say she takes you to places you’ve never been before! If the archetype-driven, mythical aspects of womanhood interest you, and you want to experience the rich spiritual, sexual and creative gifts of your menstrual cycle, you’ll dig this book.
The detailed symbolism in folklore and fairy tales is really interesting. There’s not as many practical tips as other books I’ve read on the subject, but I think Gray’s words are actually woven and written with magic. You can’t read this book and not feel like a Goddess.
17. Mastering Your Mean Girl / Melissa Ambrosini
This book is generous in laser-sharp insights, personal stories (and oh my, are there some goodies!), beautiful colour and imagery and each page simply drips in love and warmth.
When I realised that I can consciously make the choice to trust myself, to love myself, to value and accept myself, JUST AS I AM, WITHOUT HAVING TO BECOME A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT HUMAN BEING… Well, this changed my life a few years ago. This book would have been an incredible addition to my toolkit back then, but even now, it’s a beautiful reminder and refresher on all things self love.
Check out the audio interview I recently did with Melissa over here.
18. The 5-minute MBA / Wayne Brown
Now look, while I wouldn’t trade my (granted, very expensive) postgraduate business studies in for the guidance in this book, Brown has a point: tertiary study isn’t always the answer and getting your hands dirty is important.
An easy to read reminder that being generous, diligent, staying connected to your customer and prepared to delegate and distribute power are key values to maintain across all areas of your business. I probably wouldn’t buy this one, but if it fell across your path (as it did mine), take the 5-minutes to read it.
TELL ME: Have you read any of these books? Might you have some recommendations for me? Or keen to join the challenge? Tell me below in the comments! Encouragement also welcome. And please, share this one with all of your bookworm babes and brothers. 🙂