On January 1st, I sat in bed and wrote “read one book every month this year,” as one of my 2018 goals, and guess what? I did just that. Never previously a big reader (which yes, I know now that I have no business being a writer if I’m not a reader), it has quite honestly been one of the best promises I could’ve ever pledged to keep. I have fallen well and truly head over heels for books and reading. And I know that must seem like the understatement of the century given I’m the last person in history to land on this train, but it’s true. Along with my 12 completed reads, I subscribed to book podcasts and have an Amazon Wish List of books longer than the actual Amazon.
Rather smitten with my newfound bookish behaviour, and very much aware you all enjoy reading too (and thank god or I’d be out of a job) I thought I’d share with you the twelve books I choose to read this year; what I learnt from them and what I thought about them. It may even lead to you picking them up yourself or you may have already done so. But if I’ve learnt anything from having my head between two pages these last 12 months, it’s that I love talking about books, so sit back and prepare your 2019 reading list. And do join in the conversation either in the comments below or on my Instagram page, I'd love to know what you've enjoyed reading this year...
Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams -
Gala Darling, 2016
My choice of books this year were undoubtedly non-fiction. I stuck to spiritual, memoir and business and my first book was no exception; in fact it could even fit into all three categories! Starting the year with a bit of attention towards self love is never a bad idea - especially when the words come from Gala Darling. Covering and featuring in Hook’s The Goddess Issue, before interviewing Gala later in the month, I wanted to make sure that I’d inhaled every last sentence of her debut book. Abolishing the sentiment that self-help books aren’t cool, Radical Self Love scraps all the rules you thought you knew about this type of writing, just as Gala does throughout her teaching. It’s the most easy read (which was greatly appreciated to this newbie bookie) and Gala’s voice completely shines through. If you like list-format steps to follow, sparkly language and want your inner and outer world to be unified as one, I highly recommend picking this book up for a positive start to 2019. I am most definitely going to be revisiting it in January for a top up on tips for how I can best live in alignment to my new year goals and dreams.
The Power Of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment -
Eckhart Tolle, 1997
Whilst this most certainly isn’t the easiest of reads, it’s certainly one of profound wisdom. And the knowledge bombs dropped were enough for me to need to re-read and re-read certain chapters over and over again until the words stuck, but it’s effects have definitely been long-lasting. I don’t know about the other 2 million people who have read this #1 New York Times Bestseller, but I swear Tolle’s given methods actually stopped time when I practiced them. I was completely mind-blown with the way he described the results of quietening the mind and sitting in the now - exactly as it says on the tin. He guides you through practices of tuning into nothing but the here and now and encourages you to keep trying when the results don’t come right away. Read with a dollop of patience, an open mind and an ability to step over the overly spiritual language if that’s not your thing.
The Power is Within You -
Louise Hay, 1991
I appreciate there’s been lots of ‘power’ in my reading list so far, but I was absolutely overjoyed to be able to read my first Louise Hay book this year. I’d been aware of her work for quite some time; frequently pulling her power cards after having reiki and often referencing her teachings on metaphysics and dis-ease. It’s no secret just how many authors, teachers, healers and coaches have been influenced by the work of Louise Hay; and what a sad time it was when she died in August last year. The Power is Within You really is a great place to start reprogramming your subconscious mind. To start being kinder to yourself, to trust yourself, to release blocks, anger and pain - it is the self-help book to read if you were to choose just one. In particular, the book taught me a lot about affirmations and really did set me off onto a journey of the self like never before.
Material Girl, Mystical World:
The Now Age Guide for Chic Seekers and Modern Mystics -
Ruby Warrington, 2017
I recommend this as the place everyone should start their mystical journey. If you’re interested in learning more about ‘witchy’ practices but feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of spiritual materialism; crystal lingo and tarot jargon to boot, or are unsure where to start, then this handbook will be your best friend. Ruby Warrington, founder of The Numinous, introduces the basics on all matters of this mystical world - helping you get to grips with astrology, spirit animals, yoga, tarot, moon magic, plant medicine; if it’s mystical then it’s in this book, basically. I particularly resonated with the experiences Ruby writes about because I feel like we’ve gone on very similar journey’s: she started out as a fashion journalist but felt like there was something missing or something not quite aligning to her soul within her industry and so quit fashion to venture down a spiritual path. I loved reading this book because Ruby writes with such honesty and elation towards her discoveries; she doesn’t pretend to have always known the answers or everything there is to know about the mystical world but shares how she became to know what she does now, which makes it a very inviting and inclusive read, regardless of whether you yet know your Amethyst from your Aventurine.
Places I Stopped On the Way Home: A Memoir of Chaos and Grace -
Meg Fee, 2018
My favourite book not only of the year but, ever - which I can say confidently. Like many, I had been waiting for this book’s release for some time; Meg has enchanted a loyal fanbase who cling to her words like they would water droplets in the desert and I am but one of them. The review I wrote for Amazon read: “Places I Stopped on the Way Home broke me in all the very best ways. In all the ways I didn't know I needed until the words were there on the page in front of me. I am irrevocably consumed by Meg's words - her words of complete grace and flow. I couldn't put the book down - I read it all on one Sunday afternoon (which never usually happens as I'm the slowest reader on the planet). If you want a book that will help you connect the dots of the seemingly ordinary moments of your life to the ones that define you, this is for you. As a confused and lost twenty-something year old, I have never been so grateful for this book and all the ways I have found my story through finding Meg’s.” Love, friendship, eating disorders, identity, and home; this book houses the essays to refer back to when healing is calling your name. I was fortunate enough to interview this smart, beautiful woman in Hook Magazine’s The Earth Issue.
The Multi-Hyphen Method -
Emma Gannon, 2018
The first business book to make my year’s reading list and another which I patiently awaited its arrival. There was a lot of hype about The Multi-Hyphen Method on social media around the time of its release; Emma Gannon has undoubtedly been the woman of the hour this past year and rightfully so, because it did not disappoint. Jam-packed with tips and pointers on how to make it as a multi-hyphenate, Emma’s second book, is a research-heavy reaction to the current climate of the working-world and a letter of acceptance to all millennials and get z’ers who don’t want to follow the status quo of their parents’ generation. It came at a pretty convenient time for me, as I left my job in June to venture out on my own for a while and I would prescribe its pages to anyone who works for themselves or who is thinking about side-hussling. I think part of what I love so much about this book is that it’s an analysis and solution to the current societal landscape, which is one of my biggest aims when putting together content for Hook Magazine. I find the ‘why’ behind our zeitgeist so fascinating and the fact that we are waking up to ways of thinking that prioritise fulfilment is exactly the kind of information I want to be feeding my brain.
Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure: Awaken Your Sensual Energy Using Crystals & Healing Rituals, One Chakra at a Time
- Vanessa Cuccia, 2018
This book was actually mind-blowing - so many ideas, revelations and lightbulb moments happened whilst reading this book by Vanessa Cuccia, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in Hook’s The Goddess Issue. There are so many layers to the content of this book - it most certainly being ‘not just a crystal book’. In fact, I would recommend Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure to anyone who wants to learn more about the Chakra system and the ways in which blocks can present themselves in your sexual history. Indeed, it seems quite a niche subject matter, but I believe there’s always more to be found when you go deeper. I have always loved crystals and alternative energy practices but found in the past there to be not many accessible resources available that make a whole lot of sense or resonate in the way I really wanted them to, but this is THAT book. With every Chakra explained and explored comes exercises that will transform your relationship with yourself and open you up to so much more than you thought was emotionally, physically and spiritually possible. It’s nourishing, informative and personally connected many dots for me on a deeper level than I’ve ever known myself. I believe everyone has trauma or past experiences hidden in the ways we show up in relationships and how we treat ourselves and our bodies, but this book provides acceptance to all that we are; with the assistance of crystals. I even unintentionally lucid dreamt the night I read about lucid dreaming, which was exciting. The photography, taken by Vanessa’s sister Rachel, is also stunning and puts this book right to the top of my coffee-table display.
Hungry for More:
Satisfy Your Deepest Cravings, Feed Your Dreams and Live a Full-Up Life -
Mel Wells, 2018
The book that revolutionised my relationship with journaling, reading Hungry For More, Mel Wells’ follow-up to her debut book The Goddess Revolution, was such a profound experience for me - there wasn’t a single journaling prompt left unanswered. Mel offers up theories and explanations to what’s really behind your eating habits and food-woes, with journaling prompts to help you along on your own enquiry. It’s a book that gives permission to your heart’s wildest dreams and expresses the importance of going after them. A critical reminder that eating disorders aren’t ever really about the food, Mel combines science with spirit for a refreshing, meaningful solution to breaking free of low self-esteem and disordered eating. Prepare to get honest with yourself and this book will have you flooded with positive ways you can take back control of your life. This book was largely a primary influence to the message I wanted to prevail in The Earth Issue: the power of fulfilment. Mel Wells is another author I had the upmost honour of interviewing this year - this time for The Goddess Issue where we dived into similar topics of food psychology and self-love.
Everything I know About Love -
Dolly Alderton, 2018
Everything I know About Love made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me feel guilt for leaving it four months sat on my bookshelf before I got stuck in. Truly one of the most heartwarming memoirs I have had the pleasure of reading, Dolly Alderton is smart, witty, self-deprecating and kind. I did not want the story to end and I could possibly listen to her anecdotes on loop forever. It was a refreshing tale of platonic importance in a world that prioritises and pedestals romantic relationships, one that made me re-value my own friendships. It also made me truly thankful for the gorgeous romantic relationship I do find myself with, sparing me from the scary dating pool of today. And to be honest, you probably have read this book - I’ve been hard pushed to find anyone that hasn’t. And if I do so stumble upon any best friends without this book’s impression, you’ll find me hurling copies their way - gifting it as the ultimate gesture of undeniable, unrequited love; a true testament to our friendship.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear -
Elizabeth Gilbert, 2016
I questioned whether to write “this book saved my sanity” and leave it at that, no joke. To put into context, I read Big Magic whilst putting together The Earth Issue and it revealed so much truth I needed to hear along such a deeply creative project. I recommend this book to anyone who practices, or who wants to practice creativity, especially writers, because it will transform the relationship and expectations you have with your art for the better. Gilbert’s tough love gave me the permission I needed to re-write my own story and move past so many obstacles that were blocking me creatively. I came away with endless quotes jotted in the notes folder of my phone, some of which Gilbert drops gems such as “if inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you” and “I am who I am today precisely because of what I have made and what it has turned me into.” I will be revisiting this book as if my life depends on it every time I begin another big project.
The Crystal Code: Balance Your Energy, Transform Your Life -
Tamara Driessen, 2018
I feel so much gratitude to have been able to interview so many incredible women this year. Women who I feel so strongly connected to through their work and messages. Tamara Driessen is one of these women who I was again, lucky enough to work with not only by interviewing her for The Earth Issue but also in having a joint launch celebration for the issue and her debut book, The Crystal Code. And so naturally, this was my book of choice for November. What I’ve come to understand through my reading preferences is that I’m absolutely fascinated by the human condition - it’s why my absolute favourite genre of book is memoir. I find such comfort and understanding by reading other people’s stories and their feelings and experiences. Which is why I adored reading The Crystal Code. Tamara is as much a part of the story as the crystals and it really builds your trust and understanding of the connection we can make with these otherwise inanimate objects of the Earth. By putting herself into the book and describing her own experiences of various type of crystal, it leaves you all the more excited and intrigued to begin your own journey with them. To reap all the possibilities they can provide. Another absolutely gorgeous book physically, with stunning photography and a relaxed, easygoing tone.
The Winds Of Change: Co-Written with the Aid of Spirit -
Stephanie J. King, 2004
The Winds Of Change leads compelling reasoning as to why the world is in such a dire state: our thoughts and the energy they send out. We’re all more depressed and lifeless than ever and the Earth is a direct recipient to and a mirror of that depression. King offers the cruciality of rewiring our thoughts not just for the sake of bettering our own personal lives but for the sanity and saviour of the planet. I particularly found the chapter on love captivating and comforting. She suggests that the electricity and overabundance of highs we feel at the beginning of a relationship isn’t the way relationships are supposed to last forever. How they’re meant to naturally, slip into comfort and normality. I thought it was a great weight off the shoulders of a society obsessed with uncontrollable, to die for and completely infatuating love, where many mistake fizzling intensity and drama of a relationship to signify the end rather than a sign that it’s maturing towards a place where relationships (of any kind) are meant to rest. A perspective that’s got my mind brewing…Reading more like a 300 page mantra (with heavily spiritual language if that’s really not your thing), I stand by The Winds of Change being a good choice to finish of a year of great reading and words I have deeply connected with, not to mention great inspiration for really getting into the energy of change as the new year quickly approaches.
Thanks for reading - not just this post, but for tuning in all year round. I hope you’ve enjoyed the topics I’ve talked about over on here, and if you want to see me covering any subject specifically - send me a message, I won’t bite and will be thrilled to chat!! Here’s to another year of reading great books….See you in 2019 x
N.b. Huge huge thanks to Ruth Cauwood for lending me The Power Of Now, The Power is Within You and The Winds Of Change.