Here are 7 Books that have changed my life, and might change yours too..
For sure you have made the assumption I’m being dramatic when I’ve stated that a book can be life changing so let me explain why these 7 really did shake my universe.
During the digestion of these published works my learned experience-based paradigms on “what is the experience of life”, shifted 1000x times, and to me that is the crux, neigh, the ultimate accomplishment of any good author. Having an alternative perspective, plunged into your subconscious, without having to LIVE the actual experience, can really change the way you live your life, or even just observe it.
Having said that, ironically owning the patience to read a book front through back is a gift that has rarely graced me, (outside of the mandatory reading of our academic years),and because of that obstacle I have always found the mission of finishing a book, difficult. These 7 very specific books however created such a hunger and drive inside me, that curiosity and their revelations kept me totally tied hardly being able to put them down. Having even a desire to relive the experience of reading them a second time, trust me it means they have totally enraptured me; the words, the authors, their ideas.
You have to know that I am also pretty stoic towards fiction. So almost all of the 7 are non fiction. Not only am I fundamentally strung out by fictional rhetoric’s, because I literally have lived enough drama in my lifetime to co create an episodic with freaking Netflix; but I also find them totally frivolous (sorry!!!). What’s “Love is blind” really? In comparison to “Love can make you want to tear your own hair out, drop your dream job, go to therapy, or feel like having your whole bloody name changed (so that you can RESET YOUR EXISTENCE on planet earth).” What’s melodrama? When I can use books for facts, numbers, and rationale, to navigate the endless ups and downs of life. So, Fiction? I am living a fiction. Yet we need answers. These authors courageous try to do just that.
Us Millennials really, in my honest opinion, have literally had enough turbulence to out do the “Titanic” anyway, so why add more emotional load onto our plates. Forget rising house prices and the expectation to get married at some point, whilst we deal with how social media has permanently damaged our connection to each other, there’s also cosmetic & success pressure – (if you’re not someone you’re no-one), a disgusting date pool ideology, where sexes battle for ego, whilst we are to reconnect to spirit self and reparent our inner child, oh and the ice caps are melting, and Putin might blow us up, but sure we can add “50 shades of Mr. headf***” into our free time, from that torment of a reality, to really tip subconscious programming into overdrive..? But is that really useful? For me, it’s a no thanks ma’am.
Reading is my sanctuary.
They say you are what you digest, I choose to avoid tabloids, sensationalised trauma porn (the news), and fiction.
Either way, speaking of 50 shades, or romance in general; most women, have already stepped on & off, of the joy ride that comes with a romantic relationship where a man’s pleasure, convenience, or comfort levels comes before our literal basic needs. So surprisingly I didn’t feel a desperate urge to read about the stockholm victim’s bizarrely romanized fantasy of interchangeable love vs. BDSM, and I especially did not read it, in order to gain any understanding of what happens to women on planet earth; because women literally feel like we’re in that experience every day of our god damn lives, minus the fudging helicopter. So why would I succumb to reading about it? To relive the fantasy!? What a waste of time, and honestly darling, HOW TRITE!
Digressing from my distain for fiction, my reading roster constitutes generally of scientific commentary, feminism essays, occasionally a piece of poetry, and anecdotes of the phenomenon discovered by psychiatrists, and when the mood takes me, some history.
I know… I’m the romantic flame for future generations… With that being said I found the following 7 reads refreshing, enticing, liberating & grounded. They’ve helped me understand my own brain, the brains of others – or lack there of. Made me feel better about my life & how I’m doing, and helped me gain clarity & wisdom on the potential misfortunes of others, through a sensitive yet scientifically pragmatic lens.
With each of the books mentioned I’ve selected a highlight that really affected me, along with a brief summary of how I believe the book may support someone else! Let me know if you find this post helpful and if you end up purchasing, or sharing the list with someone you love, or just with someone who seriously needs to hear their own paradigms shifting. haha!
With so much love as always , C x
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The Incurable Romantic – Dr Frank Tallis
Honestly this book blew my mind. Dr Frank Tallis is so specific, cautious and caring in the way he shares his perspective on love. It’s admirable. You find parts of yourself in some of his stories, and his wording, describing said anecdotes of his clients, which leave the heart so raw, is done with such a depth of warmth towards the human experience. It will make you feel safe, seen, and a lot more SANE.
Link here; Amazon Deliver UK Link
Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit
First off, anything typed out on paper by this woman is literal gold dust, for anyone identifying as a woman. It is the epitome of how to make yourself feel ‘right’ in a world that’s always claiming ‘you don’t know though, do you really?’ because you’re a woman. Ever been mansplained? Not sure how if you have? Rebecca demonstrates how to know when it’s happening in your own existence. She relays some of her many experiences of being talked over whilst speaking on the subject of her profession, and shows you solidarity. With enough of a distance from the emotions to remind you; we know a lot more than they want us to think we do, this is an educating, empowering read. Warning; 9 times out of 10 I felt more angry after a reading a chapter of this book.
Your Dream Life Starts Here – Kristina Karlsson
A fun and dedicated laid out masterpiece which will help you realise your own dreams, fantasies and joy. With peace of the soul being at it’s core routine of ambition, this book is the perfect pick up and put down for those moments when you’re really needing to reconnect to self, even through your own words. The tasks inside are clever and craft a pathway for you towards finding out not only your dreams, but how you may start to achieve them. These scribblings then start simmer into your subconscious which is extremely exciting, as you begin semi consciously to drive yourself towards those very desires. Whilst reading I often surprised my self about the grandeur and petite-ness of some of my cute dreams and thoroughly enjoyed taking the time to nourish that self, and create harmonious self work on something so loving as realising your dreams. Whilst also then knowingly pursuing them. I also had the honor of once meeting the fascinating intellectual dreamer , Mrs Karlsson, the author, and her story in itself & her enthusiasm to make others realise their own dreams, is reassuring and simply lovely.
Pretty Honest – Sali Hughes
This isn’t so much as a book, as it is rather a guide to life. On a lighter topic this is the ultimate beauty etiquette fairy godmother. Sali Hughes has spent many a year swimming in the overwhelming industry that is makeup, skincare and beauty and simplifies it, whilst keeping it classy and knowledgeable. Makeup has never been about changing who you are, but about amplifying your existing beauty and turning up the volume on your assets, with intelligence and execution. It also sets some rules along it lineage meaning that whilst you can assert your own creativity, she keeps you on track making sure you manipulate the products with simplicity and feminine power. Gifting bullet points on how you should be treated by everyone from the salon staff to the beauty counter artist. How to prepare in the morning, or for a beauty appointment, this guide is truly a gift, and a great coffee table, or bath time read. I rate it.
Link here: Amazon Link UK
Sex Object – A Memoir – Jessica Valenti
TW – Sexual Harrassment. I will say read this if you can stomach it. This book, not only, is it groundbreakingly brave, but it is also liberating in the detailed honesty in which Jessica has written out her stories. In addition to that, the structure in which her memoirs are relayed, very much makes you reconsider the subtle dynamics often in play, that are undercurrent in our own lives. It allows you the space to get angry about your own prior, and upcoming interactions, with men. It shines a deep abrasive light into the life of, from my perspective, most teenage girls’ experience, and gives dedicated foresights and real gritty summaries of said experiences. Said summaries are additionally liberating, and even collectively healing, for the knowing, that these are, although unfortunately, a collective experience of oppression. I was not able to read this in a whole go. Sometimes I’d sit for 2 days before reading the next chapter. It dissects the feelings of the power dynamic, the vulnerability of not knowing, and then having to navigate the naïve years of being a young girl but turning into a woman adult. It also covers the sometimes uncomfortable interchanges we have with unbeknownst boyfriends and men. It makes you want to take greater care of yourself. And also makes you feel that, as women, we have all had, in someway or another, a joint experience of the opposite sex, and of the oppression of the patriarchy.
Link here; Amazon Deliver UK
Three Women – Lisa Taddeo
I couldn’t really give you a list of 7 life changing reads without mentioning this tantalizing, open, and deep circumference of female desire. A subject barely brushed by artists, writers and intellects alike; a subject often cloaked in shame or brandished as forbidden and scary, Lisa Taddeo strongly ventures out into the beauty, gentleness, innocence, and fiery depths that live healthy and righteously inside the hearts and bodies of all women; pleasure and desire. She spent many years accumulating and crafting a biopic of the lives of 3 women, all whom which run completely different lives but whom all followed the curiosity of every day pleasure. The voice of narration is maybe for the first time VERY CLEARLY A WOMAN, feminine, calming and without a hint of male gaze, or even man hating, and it made me feel extremely safe. Every time I picked up the pages, it encourages one to explore one’s own ideas of sexuality, and relationships. Disclosure; it is a fairly hetero read, if you’re searching for something LGBTQ it might miss the mark. Of course it’s not an easy read. TW Child Assault. Power dynamics are laid bare for all to see, the unfolding of inappropriate relations, the injustice of the system, how us woman ourselves can be extremely women hating, and how additionally woman can and should seek their own pleasure, explore, and hold their own, all whilst checking inwardly. It sings of the humanness and fairness of women wanting and seeking connection, the depths of that fire, and completes its mission to make it seem a lot less scary.
Link here: Amazon UK Link
Untamed – Glennon
I haven’t even finished this beauty of a read yet but I already know it’ll be life changing, and in my top 7 reads. The first chapter in itself is liberating, vulnerable, brave and full of feminine zing. There’s nothing abashedly shameful, in Glennon’s ability to speak about the woman experience as it is. How we’ve been formed since youthful balls of energy to be smaller, conform, politer, accommodate for everyone else in the room. There are some phrases in this book, that once I read them, I re-read them, and felt them so deeply in my soul I wanted to graffiti them on my wall, or send them to someone, anyone , everyone who needs healing from people pleasing, being the over-selfless mother, or over compassionate giving woman. Not only does she rip apart her life, ego, and share her pulse with us, she writes in such a clever way, with such a warmth; like that of a mother, educational but not patronizing, encouraging but not shaming, it’s honestly an exquisite piece of work. She keeps the boxes open, she explores possibilities for ones life, for the role of women, mother, partner. Sometimes I read a page and close the book for a moment and go WOW. All I can say for this one is , Thank you Doyle, we need more women like you.
Link here; Amazon Deliver UK
And there we have it. My 7 must reads, maybe for your 2023 list? For sure someone you love, could benefit from reading these scriptures. Or maybe that someone you love is yourself; in which case spoil yourself, reading is food for the brain. And as I myself have a very active processor I found these so so grounding, and a great meal to chew over. I hope they can also provide you or someone you love with comfort, familiarity and calm.
I am not affiliated with any of the links provided, nor do I gain anything financially from you choosing to purchase any of the above titles, but I thought it would be worth sharing which works have helped to shape the edges of my life. I really enjoyed how much perspective these have given me.
Maybe I’ll make another list next year. For now, let me know if you get stuck into any of these. Even if you don’t find yourself in any of their anecdotes I’m sure they will give you an extraordinary edge in empathising with the experiences of others.
With much love, Char
If you are struggling with any of the above issues mentioned, please do get in touch with any number of professionals, or support groups. No one deserves to feel unsupported or alone, please talk and share with a trusted professional, heal, face your pain, speak out, you are not alone.
I would also like to disclose I am by no means an expert in any of the subject matters mentioned above and all ideas and opinions are my own and not that of any other body.
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