Saturday, 3 January 2015

Five reads for January

I have but one resolution for 2015 and it isn’t food-related. You’d think authoring a diet book might offer some immunity from the new year paunch but, no, I begin January as liberally padded (courtesy of Elizabeth Shaw and King Edward) as the next greedy reveller. That detox-doesn’t-work Guardian article is all over Facebook and I certainly won’t be going down that route, although the Bon Appetit Food Lovers’ Cleanse looks right up my street.

No, my resolution is to devour more books. Wilde is right. Call it middle age paranoia, but I am starting to get worried that there just isn’t enough time left to read all the books I want to read. Now that I’ve completed Crossy Road (I won! And the prize is my life back!), any spare time this year will be spent off screen and on paper.

Here are my five reads for January.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Ordinarily skeptical of the whole self-help movement, last year was something of a revelation to me. A friend who I admire greatly recommended the work of Brene Brown; she is just the ticket for a social psychology graduate who wants to read non-fiction based in proper science but with a personal development bent. Sounds niche but Brene is funny, articulate, intelligent, insightful and a must-read (or must-watch - she’s done two immensely popular TED talks, the vulnerability one clocking up a mighty 18 million views).

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

It is perhaps ill-advised buying a book about writing for a writer, but this was one of my Christmas presents and turned out to be the perfect gift. A quick flick through offers just the kind of nerdy facts and figures about grammar that I love, but in the most beautifully written copy.

Death And The Penguin

A dark comedy about a penguin with depression - I love the sound of this gem. Set in the Ukraine in the days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Death and the Penguin is 'sinister and Kafkaesque', apparently.

The Mindfulness Journal: Exercises to help you find peace and calm wherever you are

This one arrived in my stocking - clever FC. Packed with tips for incorporating elements of mindfulness into your daily life, it’s a neat little handbook for living in the present. Rather than staring at a screen in the queue for the checkout, I’m going to switch off and do something more thoughtful instead.

The News: A User's Manual

My love of de Botton knows no bounds. I’ve recently started following him on Facebook - if you don’t already, I wholeheartedly recommend his sanguine and sage updates that make such a change from baby pics and anti-UKIP outrage. Also, his Book of Life site publishes some of the best free content the web has to offer. A friend of mine has enforced a news blackout (a la Ruby Wax) in her home as the state of the world at the moment is just too much for her to bear - I’ve been wondering how this fits with Alain’s stance. I shall find out.

Did you get something to read for Christmas? Is your nose in a book this month?
I’d love to know - leave me a comment.

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