The Books that Shaped my Decade

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I’m a writer. And writers read. A lot.

I’d like to have read more over the last 10 years, but the arrival of child number one 3 years in, and child number two 3 and a half years after that kind of scuppered the ability to open a book without falling asleep. Although Audible has been revelatory and this past year has also marked quite a significant milestone from picture books to chapter books for my eldest so I’m loving having an excuse to re-visit stories like The Worst Witch and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with her.

But anyway, this is about my grown up reading list. Because whether I’m looking for escape, guidance, reassurance, a laugh, answers or just some kind of confirmation that there is more love and magic in the world than I can currently see, books are always where I turn to.

In fact, I’m a firm believer that you are what you read. And what I’ve read over the last 10 years has completely changed my outlook on life.

I’ve always had a very eclectic taste in my reading -I read broadly, I love picking up classics as much as whatever’s currently at the top of the best-seller charts.  I’m not a literary snob, and I’m not particularly intellectual, I’m afraid.

But I am a very loyal reader. Which means once I fall in love with a story or book or author I’ll read them over and over again. My favourite books have become like comfort blankets to me. Anyone who knows me well will know that Harry Potter is one of those stories – particularly the audio versions that I’ve had on CD since the early 2000s. But other books that fall in this category are The Time Traveller’s Wife, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby.

None of those (apart from Harry) feature on this list though.

Because this decade has really been about pulp fiction, YA (because fun fact:I have written a YA novel that one day I’ll rewrite and publish), page turners, poetry (which is quick when you want to get to sleep in the next 10 minutes because you’re scared the kids will be up soon), self help and personal development.

This is possibly to counter the previous decade which was filled with a lot of heavy classics, literature, history and philosophy thanks to my University degree and writing studies (Ironically I think I’d have a lot more more sympathy with Friedrich Nietzsche today than I did at 23, unfortunately I think I’ve been scarred for life).

Anyway, without any further rambling and in no particular order, here are the books that have shaped my decade:

The Harry Potter books 1-6, J.K Rowling

Haiku for Lovers, Manu Bazzano

The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

You are a Badass, Jen Sincero

Looking for Alaska, John Green

The Shortness of Life, Seneca

The Flame, Leonard Cohen

The Baby Book, Rachel Waddilove

Becoming Supernatural, Dr Joe Dispenza

Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman

The Song of Achilles, Madeleine Miller

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

Super Attractor, Gabrielle Bernstein

Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting, Noel Janis-Norton

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

Flourish, Martin Seligman

Every Day, David Leviathan

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

The Book of Longing, Leonard Cohen

The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman

May Cause Miracles, Gabrielle Bernstein

An Abundance of Katherines, John Green

The Cormoran Strike books, Robert Galbraith

Bring up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel

Witch, Lisa Lister

Lucky Bitch, Denise Duffield-Thomas

The Universe has got your back, Gabrielle Bernstein

The Firestarter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton 

Chillpreneur, Denise Duffield-Thomas

Into the Water, Paula Hawkins

The Prosperous Coach, Steve Chandler, Rich Litvin

Witches of Lychford, Paul Cornell

You Are a Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero

Lunar Abundance, Dr Ezzie Spencer

The Advertising Solution, Simpson with Kurtz

The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks

La Belle Sauvage, Philip Pullman

Mindfulness, Prof Mark Williams

The Processes, Ester Hicks, Jerry Hicks

The Law of Attraction, Esther and Jerry Hicks

She Means Business, Carrie Green

The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike

Writing Down the Bones, Nathalie Goldberg

Story, Robert McKee

Made to Stick, Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande

The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

Storybrand, Donald Miller

Polpo, Russell Norman

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

How to Talk So Little Kids will Listen, Joanna Faber, Julie King

The Rivers of London books, Ben Aranovoitch

Stardust, Neil Gaiman

Simple and Plenty, both by Ottolenghi

The Ocean at the end of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

All Marketers tell Stories, Seth Godin

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey,

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

Rules of Civility, Amor Towles

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

Ogilvy on Advertising

Storydriven, Bernadette Jiwa

The Copywriter’s Handbook, Bob Bly

Writing Tools, Roy Peter Clark

Deliciously Ella, Ella Woodward

Deliciously Ella Everyday, Ella Woodward

The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

Conscious Communications, Mary Shores

The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo 

Reading Like a Writer, Roy Peter Clark

The Flavia Albia books, Lindsey Davis

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty

Delia’s How To Cook, Delia Smith

Ernest Hemingway on Writing

On Writing, Stephen King

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, Steig Larson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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