I hope you enjoyed the first part of my ‘riveting reads’ series. Today, the second and final installment, is a mash-up of rock ‘n’ roll, drugs, health and sport (strange putting those two up against each other, right?) and my top picks when it comes to coffee table books.
Load up the comments with your suggestions too – I’m sure you have plenty of goodies to share!
MUSIC + CELEBRITY
1 // Scar Tissue by Anthony Keidis (click to buy)
I’d hazard a guess that many of you would have this one sitting on your shelves at home, but if not, dash to your local book store and grab a copy today. This book is a fascinating – and often disturbing and mind-blowing – insight into the hedonism and destruction of rock stardom. I remember after I read it I went through a major Chili Peppers “phase” where I pretty much listened to Blood Sugar Sex Magik (in my opinion, their finest offering) non-stop. Winner. (PS: Anthony Kiedis and HBO are releasing a TV series based on this book, produced by Entourage’s producers. Waiting with bated breath for that one!)
2 // Heavier than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles Cross (click to buy)
Brilliant. Disturbing. Thoroughly researched. Revelatory. An all-access pass to the mind and secrets of Kurt Cobain. As a massive Nirvana fan, I ate this up with glee.
3 // Life by Keith Richards (click to buy)
I’m going to admit that it took me a little while to get into this one – I found the start really slow and given the book is a biggie, I almost gave up. Littered with WTF? stories and plenty of ups and downs with Jagger, you’ll see Keith Richards in a whole new light after tackling this beast of a bio.
4 // Eric Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton (click to buy)
I read this straight after reading Pattie Boyd’s book (see below) which was the best way to read it. My Dad is a massive Clapton fan, which is where my love of his music originates, and in reading this bio I learnt plenty of things I never knew about this music maestro. He’s a complex character, to say the least, and has had his fair share of hardship along the way.
5 // Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me by Pattie Boyd (click to buy)
Even remotely interested in 60’s culture and the music of that decade, and those that followed? This book should be on your list. Pattie takes you along on an unweildy journey – a first-hand account of her modelling career, her troubled relationships with The Beatles’ George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and plenty of other memorable moments. She’ll frustrate you at times with her passive nature but by the end you’ll love her for coming out on top.
6 // You are Not Alone: Michael, Through a Brother’s Eyes by Jermaine Jackson (click to buy)
I’m a huuuuuuge MJ fan and this book taught me so much about the man, the music and media that tore him to shreds. Brilliant. Can’t recommend it enough.
7 // Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas (click to buy)
I read this shortly after seeing U2 in concert years ago and I remember it being a candid chat between friends about everything from childhood issues, faith, charity and fame.
8 // Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia De Rossi (click to buy)
Though painful prose, Portia talks openly about her anorexia and her struggles with the shame that came as a result of ‘hiding away’ her sexuality. I never knew much about Portia (other than she was Ellen’s wife) and didn’t watch Ally McBeal before reading this memoir, but I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s emotional and unsettling… but the happy ending will leave you smiling.
1 // Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff (click to buy)
I read this one on the plane coming home from the U.S last year. The whole gritty, messy, confounding book was devoured in a flash and it kind of blew my mind. Just… wow. Gripping.
2 // A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (click to buy)
Despite all the uproar A Million Little Pieces one caused, I was totally drawn into this harrowing story and thought it was written freaking marvellously. Intense and profound; the ultimate “don’t do drugs, kids” handbook.
3 // In My Skin: A Memoir by Kate Holden (click to buy)
A homegrown story about a regular, smart girl that finds herself unravelling in a destructive world of heroin addiction and prostitution. Raw.
4 // Junky by William S. Burroughs (click to buy)
Unfliching and unforgiving. A definitive account of heroin addiction by legendary literary drug fiend, William Burroughs.
HEALTH + SPORT
1 // Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is Making Us Fat by David Gillespie (click to buy)
One of the most eye-opening books on health I’ve ever read. A must. It’ll change everything.
2 // Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr (click to buy)
Kris Carr is divine and her Crazy Sexy Diet is all about eating green, alkalising, nurturing your body and just being awesome in general (!) – presented in her signature, sassy-lady style.
3 // In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (click to buy)
Eat real food. Simple food. This is part of Pollan’s credo and this book will open you up to new ways of thinking about what you put in your mouth. Deliciously informative.
4 // Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-runners and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen by Christopher McDougall (click to buy)
An awe-inspiring book on a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, reported to be the best long-distance runners in the world.
5 // Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes (click to buy)
I read this book and the book below when I was training for a half marathon a few years back for “motivation” and man, did it deliver. This guy is a freak of nature, in the most ridiculously inspiring way. Read it.
6 // 50 Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days by Dean Karnazes (click to buy)
50 marathons, 50 states, 50 days. Again, the man is a freakish talent.
7// Open by Andre Agassi (click to buy)
I love reading bio’s about famous people that I know a little bit about but not much, like I did with Andre Agassi. I knew he was a star tennis player, he was married to Brooke Shields and then Steffi Graf, but that’s about it. The title is apt for this book – this is an extremely open account of a childhood where Andre was pushed to succeed at all costs by his tyrant father, his struggles with his tennis career and all the highs and lows of being in the spotlight. A great gift for the man in your life… that you might just sneak a read of first.
8 // It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong (click to buy)
The Tour de France kind of amazes me and being the huge voyeur that I am (what I mean is, people fascinate me) I love finding out how people at the top of their game do what they do, what makes them tick, what struggles have cropped up along the way and everything in between. From a sporting prowess perspective, this book is incredible. What’s even more incredible is Lance’s cancer story and his comeback to one of the most gruelling events in the world. No nonsense inspiration.
COFFEE TABLE BOOKS
1 // Journals by Kurt Cobain (click to buy)
Can you tell Kurt Cobain fascinates me? This book is a total trip-out but a treasure to behold.
2 // My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk (click to buy)
A beautiful, reflective memoir that will speak to the wandering heart inside. Stunning.
3 // Design Sponge: A Guide to Inspiring Homes and the Tools You Need to Create Your Own by Grace Bonney (click to buy)
You probably know the site – now here’s the book. And packed-to-the-brim-with-deliciousness it is. Interior styling lovers and craft goddesses, you need this.
4 // Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips by National Geographic (click to buy)
All the travel inspiration one could ever need! The trips are broken up by category (rail, road, water, by foot and so on) and there are definitely more than a few that I’d like to tackle on this lifetime.
5 // The Travel Book (click to buy)
Does any NOT have this book? I couldn’t leave it out of my list because whenever wanderlust kicks in, it’s the first thing I pour over. A must for all travel-lovers.
6 // Food, Fashion, Friends by Fleur Wood (click to buy)
A gloriously indulgent celebration of food, style and entertaining.
7 // Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (click to buy)
A journey of interviews, inspiration and insight, wrapped up beautifully. Loved this in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at MK & A’s creative and business lives.
8 // Nomad: Bringing Your Travels Home by Sibella Court (click to buy)
A deluxe style guide of eclectic inspiration from around the world. Gorgeous interiors, breathtaking photos, imaginative ideas. Adore.
Once again, I’d love you to add to this list in the comments with your favourites. Share away!