While I love reading fiction, I also love learning so I read quite a few non-fiction books on a range of topics. If you are looking for a present for a non-reader or a non-fiction reader, some of these books might give you some ideas.
Memoir – Clare Bowditch’s Your own kind of girl was my favourite memoir this year. I was so pleased I went to her launch and loved reading about her journey through owning her music and overcoming her anxiety. You can read more about it in a longer post here.
Spirituality – Gabrielle Bernstein’s latest book, Super attractor, is a book about manifesting your dreams and overcoming your limitations. She writes with a modern sensibility, and while her books could be described as a little ‘woo woo’, there’s so much that makes sense and so many quotes to live by.
Health – Dr John Sarno’s The divided mind – this is a medical book on overcoming chronic pain. As someone who has had migraines for over 20 years, I’m learning a lot of useful information that I’m applying – with success – to reducing my migraines. Maybe it’s not Christmas present material but it could be useful reading for anyone who suffers from chronic back, neck, knee, migraine pain.
Design – I received Maison, Parisian chic at home last Christmas and it’s one of the most gorgeous coffee table design books around. Written by Ines de la Fressange and Marin Montagut, it showcases twenty or so Parisian apartments, decorated in all kinds of styles. It has droolworthy photos – just look at the cover! My favourite photo is one of a pair of green velvet armchairs in front of a window with a typical Parisian outlook of grey rooftops. One day …
Just do it! – If Nike had a category, Marie Foleo’s book Everything is figureoutable would be number one! Full of practical tips and encouraging stories, Marie’s book is written in her usual no-nonsense style to help you achieve anything and everything in all areas of life. I am muttering the phrase – everything is figureoutable – right now as I’m aiming to meet an editing deadline, attend numerous Christmas and birthday functions and keep up with everything else December throws at me!
Cookbooks – My recipes come from a variety of cookbooks. None of them are new this year, but some of them might be new to you. Lola Berry always offers a variety of healthy meals, full of rainbow colours – her smoothies from Food to make you glow are divine. Tenina Holder has a range of Thermomix cookbooks which are quick and easy and delicious – we all love her taco beef salad. I’ve been cooking Karen Martini’s roman pork sausage ragu for years and we eat regular salads and vegetable dishes from Hetty McKinnon’s Community cookbook.
Creativity – I have a few books by Julia Cameron, including her most well-known, The artist’s way. This book would be inspiring for an artist in any field from photography or weaving, painting or gardening. I also love flicking through my books on sewing and drawing for inspiration, and I’m looking forward to starting a creative project or two in January.
Mindfulness – my favourite author on mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn. He writes without judgement and his stories about his family and clients are heartwarming and encouraging. He has written many books on mindfulness in health and parenting. Kate James, a lovely Victorian writer, has written a few beautifully presented books on mindfulness and simplicity with small, actionable steps to lead you to the life of your dreams. Perfect summer reading – summer holidays and a fresh year equals mindful reading!
Travel – I’ve had a copy of Pia Jane Bijkerk’s My heart wanders on our coffee table for a few years. It’s such a beautiful book to pick up and leaf through – the blue-grey cover is so tactile. It tells the story of Pia Jane’s travels through Paris and Amsterdam with visits back to her Sydney hometown and how she has made herself a home in each place, even on a houseboat in Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous mix of travel, story and design.
Writing – I have a lot of writing books but my favourite one is by US agent Donald Maas – The emotional craft of fiction. He provides lots of exercises with thorough explanations to go deeper in your writing and bring a layer of perception and compassion to your characters. I’m planning to go through his book again in January when working on the next draft of my manuscript.
Parenting – The conscious parent by Dr Shefali Tsabary is an intense read but worth it. She is currently running a free masterclass which I’ve signed up for here but haven’t listened to yet. Her premise is that raising children brings up all sorts of unconscious beliefs and attitudes about our own childhoods and it’s only in understanding our biases towards parenting and our children, that we can raise them with conscious awareness. I also found Raising our children, raising ourselves by Naomi Aldort extremely useful. My husband and I still use her SALVE method – Separate yourself, Attention back to the child, Listen, Validate and Empower.
The art of living – for want of a better category, I’ve come up with this one! I’m working my way through all of Brene Brown’s books again. She’s a social researcher, and her TED talk a few years went viral. She also has a netflix show which will give you a great understanding of her work. I bought her latest book on leadership for my husband. Her six books cover topics such as shame resilience, vulnerability, leadership at work and home, community, relationships, perfection. Brene is a wonderful storyteller and her data-based research, combined with her stories, are powerful.
Craigh Wilson’s Intuitive has been on my list to read for a little while, and his publisher Michael Hanrahan, kindly gave me a copy. It’s fascinating – the idea that everyone is intuitive and can tap into their intuition to make decisions is inspiring. I’m only halfway in but I’m looking forward to flicking through this book again in January when I have time to delve in more deeply.
I hope you find something in here to help with your Christmas shopping or summer reading!
Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last blog post. The winner is – Rachel! You have won yourself a copy of Sonia Orchard’s Into the fire. I’ll be in touch to organise delivery, Rachel. Happy reading!