I’m only just getting to the stage where I have big enough chunks of time available for writing; until now, all I could manage was holding my Kindle in one hand whilst feeding baby and dreaming of all the words I was itching to write.
But thanks to all this lovely reading time, I’ve discovered three fantastic books (amongst the twenty-odd I’ve read these past few weeks) that I’m itching to recommend. Without further ado (the baby’s 5-minute cooing sesh is turning rapidly to grunts that could go either way) here they are:
FOR THE MIND – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
Part Sherlock, part Groundhog Day, part murder mystery evening, I bloody loved this book. Couldn’t put it down. It’s set in a creepy old house called Blackheath, trapped within a never-ending forest. The whole place is haunted by memories of a child’s death years ago, and the main character is set the task of solving a murder that’s about to happen. The story is told from one character’s perspective, but through the eyes of a number of key witnesses to the murder itself, and it’s SO CLEVER. Honestly, I wish wish wish I had the brain and the commitment to write this myself. I don’t want to give away any more, as discovering it all myself was part of the deliciousness of this book, but go and download it or order it. Unless you are looking for something light-hearted and frothy, in which case probably don’t bother – it’s not gory or gritty, but it is intense and full of unhappy, complicated characters. Top notch stuff.
If you are craving giggles and smut, may I recommend ‘Hot Mess’ and ‘What Fresh Hell‘ by Lucy Vine? I love her writing, and really relate to her characters. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, which I rarely do in real life (whilst reading, that is. OBVIOUSLY I laugh out loud all the time when going about my normal, hilarious life).
FOR THE SOUL – The Inside-out Revolution, by Michael Neill
The tagline for this book is ‘The only thing you need to know to change your life forever’ which screams overpromising to me, but then I honestly can’t get enough of personal development and self-help books. I tear through them like trashy romances. More about my addiction another day though – for now, suffice it to say that I’ve read A LOT, and this book is probably the one I should have started with, because then I probably wouldn’t have needed to read many more.
The author, some sort of life coach (isn’t everyone a life coach these days?) puts into very straightforward and compelling words the principles of mind, consciousness and thought, or very very simply: the way you think about something creates your own version of reality, and by realising that everything you experience is created by your own thoughts, you have the power to change your reality. If it sounds very woo-woo, then fair enough, but it made an awful lot of sense to me. I had a lot of ‘of course!’ moments whilst reading this, and it has given me many insights into how my mind works that are really improving the quality of everything I do. I’m even sleeping like a dream after reading this, and I have a 10 week old baby. (I made her read it too)
There are many other books on this topic I’d recommend but this was the one that left me feeling the most excited about all of the possibilities out there in the world (or in here, in my head-world, I suppose) and also is the one that is least likely to make you take the piss out of me for my reading choices. (Oh my god I’ve read so, so, so much worse you have no idea).
FOR YOUR CAREER – Be A Free Range Human, by Marianne Cantwell
This one has another tempting tagline: ‘Escape the 9-5, create the life you love and still pay the bills.’ I mean…yes please!
Again, I’ve read quite extensively on this topic – creating a portfolio career – because though I love my job (or at least, I don’t dislike it) I’ve always suspected there must be other, more flexible and personally fulfilling ways of making money. And with two kids, it’d be lovely to spend more time with them.
(LOL, I mean, not ALL of my time with them, I’m not insane. I love them, but Mummy Pig needs a break weekly/daily/hourly. Shout out to all stay-at-home-mums – you guys are hard as nails).
Anyway – I thought this was a very uplifting and motivating book about the potential of creating your own working life. It’s a kick in the face to the idea that one 9-5 style job is all any of us should be aiming for, and left me feeling inspired to consider alternatives. It’s quite focused on people who might like a career that allows them to travel more. This is so far from my own desires right now, but was still a great read. It can’t tell you what you should do with your life, but there are exercises and questions throughout the book to get you thinking, and I’d recommend you do them because I found some of what I came up with a real eye-opener.
Again, there are other great books on this topic – I reviewed one of them (The Idea In You) and if you like a structured approach, there are books like ‘Screw Work, Break Free’ and ‘Screw Work, Let’s Play’, both by John Williams. Also, a special mention for ‘Creating the Impossible‘ by Michael Neill, who wrote the book I recommended above – this one is a 90 day process of bringing a seemingly impossible ‘thing’ into the world, whether it’s a business, a product, an idea or even a specific amount of money. I enjoyed it a lot – great for breaking free of self-doubt and inertia that holds so many of us back from doing things we dream of.
Welp, hopefully that’s enough for you to be getting on with for now – I know not everyone has 9 solid hours of one-handed reading time available to them each day, but if you can carve a little time out to feed your mind, soul or desire for something a bit different, then give them a whirl.
My daughter has been cooing on her changing mat for 40 minutes, and has now fallen asleep there. I don’t know whether to feel neglectful or triumphant? I’m going to go with triumphant (she seems pretty content down there) and go and make myself a deliciou- Oh, no, she’s awake now. Some other time, luncheon, some other time!