Upon completing my reading goal for 2017 in late September (blog post on its way about all my wonderful reads at the end of the year!) I decided to go about hand-picking some special ones to end the year with. So, naturally, here’s a blog post telling you which ones I’ve chosen – some are brand new, some older, and one a classic! (I’ll leave links to everything at the bottom of the post!)
Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe
Okay so Megan is an absolute diva more commonly known as ‘bodyposipanda‘ and I adore her! She was such a motivation and inspiration throughout my recover (and of course ongoing!) and she has sent me so many incredible kindhearted messages and just honestly she kicks ASS! I strongly suggest you follow her and without further ado, the incredible blurb to her books is: IF YOU’RE TIRED OF BEING AT WAR WITH YOUR BODY, THEN THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. We’ve been convinced that happiness is something that only comes once we hit that goal weight, get those washboard abs, shrink ourselves down and change every part of ourselves. We believe that our bodies are the problem, but this is
not true. It’s how we’ve been taught to see our bodies that’s the problem… It’s time for us all to stop believing the lies we’ve been fed about what it means to be beautiful, and take our power back. Megan’s body image issues began when she was five years old. She spent her childhood chasing thinness, and at fourteen found herself spiralling into anorexia. After recovery she spent years dieting, binging, losing and gaining weight. But then she found body positivity, quit dieting, and finally escaped the cult of thin. Now she’s determined to let as many people as possible know the truth: that we are all good enough as we are. With her inimitable flair, whip-smart wit and kickass attitude, Megan argues for a new way of seeing ourselves, and a world where every body is celebrated. Where there is no such thing as a `bikini body diet’ and 97% of women don’t hate the way they look. A powerful call to arms as much as it is inspirational and practical, this book is the life-changing answer you’ve been looking for.
the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur
Now everyone knows what a masterpiece Milk and Honey was (if you haven’t read it DO IT RIGHT NOW) so when Kaur announced the release of her new anthology I absolutely had to pre-order it and I can finally hold it in my hands. I have no shadow of a doubt that it will live up to, if not exceed, the standards Milk and Honey set: this is the recipe of life, said my mother, as she held me in her arms as i wept, think of those flowers you plant, in the garden each year, they will teach you, that people too, must wilt, fall, root, rise, in order to bloom. (NB here a comma represents a new line)
The girl with the Lost Smile by Miranda Hart
Chloe Long has lost her smile. She’s looked everywhere for it. (Under her pillow. Under her bed. Under her nose. Obviously.) She’s tried everything to bring it back. (Her favourite cake. Her favourite gran. Her favourite joke. Obviously.) But nothing seems to be working! Until one night, something utterly magical happens – and Chloe finds herself on an adventure that is out of this world…
I am Traitor by Sif Sigmarsdottir
This one is a very new genre to me but seeing Sanne’s recommendation I’m eager to give it a go! London, present day. Extra-terrestrial visitors have landed. Amy Sullivan used to feel safe living in a high-rise tower block in the middle of London.
Now it’s the worst place to be. As large metallic arms fall from the sky, terrified victims are transported to an unimaginable world on the other side. Amy runs until she can’t run any more. Then, she is taken. Scared and alone, she finds herself inside a spaceship, where those in power will stop at nothing to destroy all she knows. To save her planet, Amy will have to put faith in those she fears the most. But what if it means becoming a traitor to everyone she has ever loved? At the end of the world… Who can you really trust?
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The only classic on my list! But one that was highly recommended to me and with the author sharing my name I am certain this will be a fabulous read. “It is striped off – the paper – in great patches. The colour is repellent, almost revolting: a smouldering unclean yellow… In the places where it isn’t faded – I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about…”
Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget … Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. But
Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy. What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team. After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime … What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?
No Filter by Grace Victory
A babe and no less. Honestly surprised this is still sitting on my shelf! From struggling with an eating disorder and body image issues to flashing Harry Potter (yes, that really did happen), Grace Victory has experienced it all. Here, in No Filter, Grace shares her inspirational story of growing up in a troubled household, battling with depression and finally overcoming it all by learning to love herself just as she is. After years of self-loathing and self-destructive behaviour, she hit an all-time low but thanks to therapy, good friends and an award-winning blog, she has rebuilt herself to become a TV presenter and an inspirational role model for young people. Thanks to her bravery, instinctive honesty and ability to break down taboos, Grace is now able to speak openly about her personal battles and she regularly offers guidance to her legion of fans. Brimming with hilarious anecdotes and no-nonsense advice, the Internet’s Big Sister tells you everything you need to know about accepting yourself and fighting back, in style.
Feel good 101 by Emma Blackery
Yes, another Youtubers book! But Emma & Carrie Hope Fletcher are the two Youtubers I’ve continuously watched throughout my growing up and despite this perhaps being more suited to a younger audience I know I’ll adore it because it’s Emma’s. This book won’t change your life… But it might just
help you change it yourself. Only you can take the steps you need to help yourself become the strong, independent, fearless person you dream of being. It took me a long time – and a lot of real lows, excruciating heartaches and countless mistakes – to get there. The sole purpose of this book’s existence is the hope that it may speed up that journey to happiness for you. In Feel Good 101, YouTube’s most outspoken star Emma Blackery is finally putting pen to paper to (over)share all her hard-learned life lessons. From standing up to bullies and bad bosses to embracing body confidence and making peace with her brain, Emma speaks with her trademark honesty about the issues she’s faced – including her struggles with anxiety and depression. This is the book Emma wishes she’d had growing up …and she’s written it for you.
Autumn, an anthology for the changing seasons edited by Melissa Harrison
Autumn is a time of transformation. Crisp, clear days mark summer’s close and usher in a new season with its rich scents and vivid palette, leaves flaming red and gold by day, bonfires and fireworks lighting up the lengthening nights. There is abundance, as humans and animals make stores for the winter; and there is decay, which gives rise to the next cycle of life. In prose and poetry from across the British Isles, Autumncaptures both the exhilaration and the melancholy of this turning point in the year. Featuring original writing by Horatio Clare, John Lewis-Stempel and Amy Liptrot, classic extracts from the work of Ted Hughes, Helen Macdonald and Nan Shepherd, and a wealth of fresh new voices, Autumn is an evocative celebration of the year’s decline – and new beginnings.
Autumn by Ali Smith
Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art (via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery), Autumn is a witty
excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means. Autumn is the first installment in Ali Smith’s novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative. From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.
The Secret of Spellshadow Manor by Bella Forrest
I was informed this could help fill the Harry Potter related gap in my heart so it’s worth a try! What would you do if you spotted a man following a young woman, but no-one else could see him? Like most sane people, student Alex Webber thought he was hallucinating – perhaps he’d consumed something bad at the party he’d been attending that night, or he was severely overtired. But when he sees the mysterious man following Natalie again the very next day, he can no longer disbelieve his eyes. Although Natalie denies the man’s existence, Alex sees her walking with him down a road in his neighborhood he’s never seen before – and can’t help but follow. After a bizarre, but strangely short journey, he finds himself standing before a towering iron gate wreathed in gray ivy, behind which looms a decrepit old mansion named Spellshadow Manor. Spellshadow, with its beautiful yet sinisterly decorated hallways, ever-changing outdoor scenery and very unusual residents… Alex will quickly learn it is a place that is as wondrous as it is deadly. Especially for a normal person like him. What if you found yourself recruited to an institute of magic, only to discover you really couldn’t do magic? What if your enrollment there was all one big, terrible mistake? If you were at Spellshadow, you’d keep it a secret. A deep, dark, deadly secret… Because Spellshadow’s elusive Head is hiding a secret of his own, one that Alex soon realizes he and Natalie must uncover at all costs if either of them wishes to leave the Manor alive… and before it’s too late.
You and me, Always by Jill Mansell
Mansell is always there to give me that touch of romance I’m sometiems lacking in my life (having to wait months and months to see my boyfriend during uni takes it toll!). On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight. Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions. Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…
The man who couldn’t stop by David Adam
Have you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building, or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this captivating fusion of science, history and personal memoir, writer David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us towards obsessions and compulsions. David has suffered from OCD for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. What might lead an Ethiopian schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece; or a pair of brothers to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that they had compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts? Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal, and what is mental illness. Told with fierce clarity, humour and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare, and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.
How to be Happy by Eva Woods
Annie is at her lowest ever when she meets Polly, who has a brain tumour. Polly wants to make a difference before she goes, to prove to Annie that happiness is a habit and that Annie can be happy again. After losing everything, Annie has given up on life. Then she meets colourful, positive Polly – who happens to have three months left to live. Polly sets Annie a challenge – can she learn to be happy over the next 100 days? Reluctantly swept up in Polly’s world, Annie finds herself facing her worst nightmares. Rollercoasters. Dancing in fountains. Inspirational Pinterest quotes. It’s all a world away from her safe, lonely life of boxsets and ready meals for one. At first she is jealous of Polly’s rich, exotic life – her wealthy, creative family; her lively and cool friends; the places she’s already travelled and the things she’s experienced. She’s even jealous of her handsome, slightly grouchy neurologist, Dr Max. But as the 100 days are ticked off – and Polly runs out of time – Annie learns that no one’s life is perfect, but that everyone’s is precious, and short.
It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
And last but by no means least! I have read almost every one of Holly’s publications (they’re all on my to-read list) and I was so eager for this to be delivered! Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies… The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies…