My fab five books

April 25, 2018


“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends,
they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors,
and the most patient of teachers.”
Charles William Eliot

Books are one of my most favourite things. I absolutely love to read!

Over the years my books have become treasured companions. I daydream of one day building a library in my home and filling the shelves with all of the books that have soothed me, inspired me and challenged me. I often travel with way too many books which leads to overweight luggage and less room for snacks, which I also love to travel with.

When I looked over to my bookshelf before writing this blog I saw books that have made me laugh, taken me on grand adventures and shifted my perspectives. It took a little while to narrow down my 'top five', but here they are. May they bring you magic.

Tears to Triumph: The spiritual journey from suffering to enlightenment
by Marianne Williamson
 
“Consider the possibility now that anything could happen. I’m not asking you to believe this, but only to consider that it might be true. Simply thinking this though - that miracles are possible - does more to pave the way for your healing than you can imagine. It opens the door to a realm of infinite possibilities, regardless of what you have been through or what you are going through now."
Marianne Williamson 

 

I read this book over a year ago in my bedroom in Sri Lanka. Marianne’s words spoke to me in such a soothing way. A central piece of her book is an exploration of what she calls a ‘dark night of the soul’ and how these dark and difficult times will always show up in one’s life; we cannot escape them. She shares these ‘dark nights of the soul’ are not to be suppressed, but to be experienced.

 
What I found to be important when reading this book was how Marianne validates the deep, difficult emotions we feel and encourages us to stay the course. It is through exploring and expressing ourselves (in a supported way), that leads us to a deeper understanding of our individual and collective human experiences.

Often there is an unbalanced focus on attaining enlightenment in spiritual texts, that disregards the suffering that Marianne speaks of. Tears to Triumph places the human experience of pain, deep sadness, and confusion front and centre, not to be judged or viewed negatively but to be seen as an integral part of life. This perspective is refreshing and reaffirming.

This book has gravitas, depth and immense power for personal and social healing. Marianne writes with courage and conviction and the wisdom of her decades as a spiritual teacher, authoring over a dozen books, makes for a transformative read. William Nicholson says ‘we read to know we are not alone’. This book is an important reminder that we are not alone, no matter what it is we are moving through. If you are seeking counsel, you may find comfort in this book.
 
Attached, The New Science of Adult Attachment and
How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love
by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
 
THIS BOOK HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!
 
If I had my time on earth again and could only read one book, this would be the one. For me, this book came at exactly the right time and supported me to make significant shifts in my life. Attached has been described as a ‘ground breaking book that redefines what it means to be in a relationship’ (John Gray). Written by psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller,

Attached explains and explores three styles of adult attachment:

ANXIOUS people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back
AVOIDANT people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimise closeness
SECURE people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving

Their research discovers ‘that our need to be in a close relationship is embedded in our genes; so, contrary to what many relationship experts today may tell us about the importance of remaining emotionally “self-sufficient”, attachment research shows us that our need to be close to our partner is essential, in fact, we can’t live without it.’

Reading this book I felt as if the book had been written just for me. There on the pages were my very experiences being played out in the examples of relationships and interactions detailed in the book. I was comforted to know that ‘it wasn’t just me’, but these were the experiences of many. FINALLY I thought, things in my life made sense.

If you feel that no matter your relationship experiences the same patterns seems to keep playing out, get your hands on this book. Like all things, it works if you work it, so this book comes with a suggestion: read this if you are ready and willing to take a look in the mirror and make some initially challenging changes in your life. You can of course read the information in this book and consider it intellectually. But then you would miss the gift of this book, which is an invitation and a road map of how you navigate your personal attachment style and shift your negative relationship experiences into positive ones.

When I Loved Myself Enough
by Kim McMillen with Pan Macmillan
 
“When I loved myself enough,
I would sometimes wake in the night to music playing within me.”
 
There is a quiet simplicity to this book, as often just a few words fill each page. But it is these few words that invite inquiry, pause and surrender. ‘When I loved myself enough’ is a collection of statements about self-loving.
 
Self love is a topic that pops up in our Instagram feeds, is littered throughout the self-help section of books shops and is often told to us as the key to all of our problems in the personal development / healing spaces. I find this constant message to just ‘love yourself’ more is a misleading framework for feeling better within oneself.  I believe that we don’t need to go on a journey to ‘love ourselves’, as we already do.
 
Often we instead need to re-focus our attention by turning the noise down on the unloving thoughts in our mind. Because for us to recognise the existence of unloving thoughts, it must be that we know the contrast of the existence of loving thoughts. This book can be a support or resource for you to realign with the truth that you are loved, and you have all the self love you can ever need already inside of you.
 
Keep this book by your bed or somewhere in your home, pick it up and flip to a page, and breathe in its message for you. This is also a lovely gift to give someone of any age.
 
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo
 
Marie has been described as "the most organized woman in the world," (PureWow) and makes a pretty big claim in this book that if you follow her method of home de-cluttering, you’ll never have to do it again! She had me at ‘never declutter again!'
 
I put this book on this list because, full disclosure I am a messy, clutter loving, de-clutter desiring kind of girl! I am still working through this book, using it as a sort of permission slip to living a life of my design, with a focus on space internally and externally.
 
This book is a practical, quirky guided process for de-cluttering, organizing, and simplifying your home. Just about everything we have in our homes is covered in this book and you will be guided and motivated along the way as you move through the pages and your cupboards with Marie’s direct and supportive instructions.
 
What speaks to me the most is Marie’s passion for this work, the way she speaks about our items, tidying up and personal responsibility was captivating. I found myself momentarily feeling a similar sense of passion to Marie for my sock drawer… maybe it is this passion that we need to access to really be able to de-clutter our homes?
 
Check it out for yourself. Worst case scenario you have another book to add to your clutter. Best case scenario you have revolutionised your home and you can gift the book onto someone else!
 
milk and honey
by Rupi Kaur
 
Oh, this book, Rupi’s poetry. How her words gently shake the world.
 
I read this book in one sitting, in a taxi on the way to Gatwick airport last year when I was leaving London. I have come back to these poems time and time again and was recently gifted her second book, The sun and her flowers. When I opened this gift and saw ‘Rupi Kaur’ on the cover tears welled in my eyes – for I knew that life was a little sweeter now this book was in it. I love, love, love Rupi’s work. It’s amazing how good it feels to have her books on my bookshelf. The power of a book, hey.
 
‘milk and honey’ explores themes of heartbreak, family, relationships, love, intimacy, trauma, healing and personal freedom. Her collection of poetry and her beautiful, at times haunting, drawings form a complete journey. They are a personal account of the human experience told with truth, insightful reflection, and vulnerability. She powerfully shares her truth that can open up a dialogue within the reader.
 
If you are going through some form of heartbreak, take refuge in this book. These words will hold you; they can heal you. Often books about personal journeys such as healing from a breakup are told with distance. milk and honey is raw, real, relatable. These poems are a deep dive into the centre of feelings, and demonstrate the rising that is possible in each of our lives. With the turn of each page you feel a little less alone in your experience. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, whether you read a poem a day or spend the afternoon in the park breathing these words in, make space in your life for milk and honey.
 
my heart woke me crying last night
how can i help i begged
my heart said
write the book”
 
- Rupi Kaur
 
Thank you Rupi, for hearing the call of your heart, for writing this book, and being a voice that is changing the world.

Fellow bookworms, I'd love to hear from you! Share your top book picks in the comments below.


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