Books are like school for adults. And therapy.
Thanks in part to a 6 week trip away, I’ve laughed, sobbed, and aha-momented my way through a good stack of fiction and non-fiction books this year. So I thought I would list my top reads here. So that you can read them too. But also so that future me does not forget about them, as is the raison d’être of this blog.
So, without further ado, I present to you my Top 5 Reads of 2015 (with a ‘classic’ thrown in for good measure):
Richard Glover (2015)
In this memoir, Glover ruminates upon his peculiar childhood as the only son of selfish and unfeeling parents. His father, an alcoholic, and mother, glamorous and self-absorbed, make captivating characters. So much so that it’s hard to believe the anecdotes are real. Familiar places feature, like Sydney, Canberra, Noosa and the UK. The writing is impressive, vivid and humorous, and the story thought provoking. It will remind you that your family is normal. Because when it comes to family, imperfect and a little odd is the norm.
Special mention in this category also goes to Rosie Waterland’s ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’, which I have written about here.
Top Non-Fiction: Work
The Wife Drought
Annabel Crabb (2015)
Crabb leads a positive and evidence-based discussion about ‘why women need wives and men needs lives’. Historical grievances are set aside, as Crabb dissects the barriers that men and women face as they try to lean in and out of their careers and the home. It’s well-researched and reasoned, and I’m now thoroughly obsessed with the social and productivity benefits of flexible work. I’m convinced that if everyone read this book, the world would be a better place. This description does it no justice, so please, read it yourself.
Top Non-Fiction: Self
Brené Brown (2015)
Brené unpacks emotions like vulnerability and fear of failure in the most rational and graphic way. Brené’s writing is disciplined, as one would expect from a research professor, but also creative, friendly and self-reflective. I learnt a lot from this book.
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler (2015)
Another unsentimental memoir, but this time fictional. Certainly too surreal to be real. I liked this story because it was unlike anything I would normally read. There are scientists and chimpanzees involved. The protagonist and narrator is a bit neurotic, which can be irritating, but the story forgives it. It starts in the middle, and you’ll never guess what happened at the start.
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Melissa Bank (1999)
This coming-of-age story meanders through the love and other tragedies of Jane. The writing is so elegant and beautiful that on so many occasions I stopped to read and re-read a line or paragraph, to soak in all of its novelty. Like this one: ‘You can feel that he wants to own you – not like a object but like a good dream he wants to keep having. He lets you know you already own him.’ (p. 210)
As for what I’ll be reading this summer?
Well, like many people, I’ve always done my best reading at this time of the year. In fact, I can picture myself in the same setting year upon year. In a camping chair, under a casuarina, ham and seeded mustard sandwich in hand, salty dog at my feet, reading everything from Paul Jennings, Robin Klein and Margaret Clark, to Maureen McCarthy, Tim Winton and Ian McEwan. So it is important that I select my summer stack wisely. Also, I will be travelling, so I must make the most of my packing space. Here’s what I’ve chosen:
Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek
Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes
All That I Am, Anna Funder
Reckoning, Magda Szubanski (if my present request comes through :))
The First Stone, Helen Garner (thanks Phoebe!)
I can’t wait. Happy Holidays.
What will you be reading???