Books Worthy of a Spot on Your Bookshelf

While I was honeymooning overseas, I took the opportunity to plant my nose in several (12, in fact) good books, a few of which I want to share here to help you out next time you’re on the hunt for something juicy, intelligent or captivating (or all three).

Let’s dive straight in… 



Love with a Chance of Drowning

‘Ripped through it like a woman possessed’ is a pretty apt description of what happened when I started reading this brave and brilliant memoir by the talent behind The Fearful Adventurer, Torre DeRoche. Holy moly, girl can write. 

Torre’s genius storytelling had me in a headlock from page one, and I honestly didn’t move from the bed until that night when I landed, with great regret, on the final sentence. (my husband knows that when I’m in the Incredible Book Vortex, it’s best not to even bother trying to pull me out. Simply. Not. Going. To. Happen. Even on our honeymoon).

I won’t spoil it too much because I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of your own, but essentially this is the tale of a city girl – one who happens to be petrified of water – who falls for a man with a big dream to explore the world. By sea. Which of course is a recipe for hilarity, plenty of hairy moments and a damn good story.

Embracing adventure became my mantra for the rest of the trip after reading Love with a Chance of Drowning (I wrote about that here) and if I were the star-rating type, I’d give this one five, all the way.


Where’d You Go Bernadette?

A departure from my usual reading preferences (although this may have rekindled something with Fiction and I), this eccentric and witty page-turner kept me well and truly entertained on a rainy day in Santa Margherita.

The story centres around the volatile, whip-smart and ‘slightly troubled’ Bernadette Fox, a renowned architect, who is mother to 15 year old Bee and married to Elgie, a Microsoft exec. The plot is completely nuts – to explain, the author was previously a writer for TV show Arrested Development – and lands up, of all places, in Antarctica, where Bernadette has the opportunity to vanish entirely into the white.

Bizarrely thrilling; you can check out the reviews here for more.


Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Amazon says: “When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.”

I say: This one will blow your mind. The true story of a young journalist’s descent into madness, this book is at times disturbing, but undeniably gripping throughout – it’s the kind of story that hangs around in your psyche for a while as you think: “Is it possible that others out there labelled schizophrenic or mentally ill are in fact, suffering the same disease?”

Love books that leave you pondering.


Choose Yourself

James Altucher is a total badass. I wish I could high TEN him in person for his no-BS tome, Choose Yourself. 

With unconventional tales of fortune and misfortune and nuggets of pure gold served straight up, this book dives into entrepreneurship and writing and life, serving as an emphatic and fast-paced sermon on self-responsibility. We gotta continue choosing ourselves, James preaches.

On every page you’ll hear whispers of ‘Fail more’ and ‘Take a godamn risk!’ and if you’re a fan of writers like Steven Pressfield (all hail), I know this one will speak to you like it did me.


Have you devoured anything wonderful lately?

Post your favourite reads in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, I’d love you to share the love using the handy buttons.

BONUS: Your mega summer reading list: 200 books recommended by TEDsters. Oh, YES.

11 Comments to “Books Worthy of a Spot on Your Bookshelf”

  1. I JUST finished Bernadette last night and I was so, so smitten! It was wonderful! I didn’t expect to plow through it but I finished it in one day (with the assist of a long bus journey back to London)! I swore to myself I wouldn’t add anything to my reading list before I got through the 33 things already on there, but…oh well! I’m adding these other three!

    Recent books I’ve liked: The Notable Brain of Maximillian Ponder and The Book of Lost Things!

    I hate leaving my link in a comment section, but since it’s relevant, here’s a summer reading roundup I did last week:

    Thank you for the suggestions!!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing Bobbi, awesome list!

    Sounds like you and I have a very similar “problem” – some may call it an “obsession.” x

  3. I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I absolutely loved it and I don’t usually read thriller novels but this one has got me hooked! It was written from a very interesting perspective, which then flipped in the second half, which means you don’t want to put it down. The plot twist left my mouth gaping open and left me wanting more. Apparently it’s now being turned into a film, which will be interesting to see how they portray the story. I definitely recommend.
    I also read Leaving The World by Douglas Kennedy. I was unsure about this book first of all, as I wasn’t sure whether the fact that the character was a woman and the author was a man would hinder the story. However, it didn’t at all and ended up completely submerged in the character. It was a really interesting novel following a life journey. Although it had some dark themes, what you came away with was a sense of awe at the strength of the character, not the unfairness of the situation. (I’m all about the positivity ha ha!!). This again was another great book.
    I’m definitely going to check out some of the books you’ve mentioned here- I love reading from recommendation.
    Thanks xx

  4. I recently finished reading “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” and I totally loved it. Witty, whacky and so insane! :)

    Your other recommendations seem interesting! Will try and get these soon. :)

  5. Great list Rach! Definitely a few in there that I wouldn’t mind checking out. My book shelves are crammed with mind, body, soul and business focused. Sometimes I feel like its all heavy reading. Since I’m enjoying some downtime over the summer months its nice just letting the mind wander to fiction and romance. I’ve reviving my love of Nora Roberts at the moment and subsequently my love of just simple reading. x

  6. Can not wait for end of semester to get my hands on all of these babies – summer reading come at me!
    I recently read Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shakak, based around some of Rumi’s poems it was a brilliant and insightful read!

  7. Whoo hoo! I need some of this literary inspo to get through my mounting pile of “to-reads”. Am excited to add a couple of these to the list. Do you find that reading more books gives you your own writing inspiration or dilutes it? I tend to feel a bit of both, so it is a fine line. Thanks for the lovely post xo

  8. Thank you so much for this post Rachael!

    I am a little bit of a book worm but I have struggled lately to find an enticing novel or even find a place for decent recommendations. So thank you!

    One great book I have recently finished reading is ‘Little Known Facts,’ by Christine Sneed. It is written in a similar style to David Nicholls ‘One Day’ (also a great book if you haven’t read it). They are both great books to read before bed or on holidays!

    Thanks again and look forward to reading what you recommend next! xo

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