Books You’ll Love: 28 More Riveting Reads (Part 2)

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!



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.



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.



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!

7 Comments to “Books You’ll Love: 28 More Riveting Reads (Part 2)”

  1. Ha ha! Great minds and all that re ‘Born to Run’! Just posted on it today.

    I love a good health-and-fitness book for some hardcore, jazz-me-up motivation. I read both Lance Armstong’s books in a single weekend (‘It’s not about the Bike’ and ‘Every Second Counts’). I loved them both so much, and I know those books are really important to a lot of people out there. I find it really interesting and fascinating to follow the current (and seemingly never-ending) investigations into Lance. Despite being a massive fan, I am slowly finding it harder to continue to believe that he was not participating in performance-enhancing drugs. Some of the latest stories that have been coming out are pretty damning… I really wonder what will happen if he is found to have been using. These books and Lance himself occupy a very special place in many people’s hearts… Ultimately, I suppose I hope that even if he is found guilty, that Livestrong will continue. I suppose that what I’m saying is that I think Livestrong is bigger than just Lance himself, and I hope that the movement and it’s ideals survive unscathed…

    Another awesome health book is ‘Accidentally Overweight’, by Libby Weaver. Unlike the title suggests, it’s not just a diet book or a crazy fad eating plan or whatever. Weaver looks at the body systemically, and explains so much about how women’s bodies work and how we can make small changes for big effect. I really did not have a good understanding of how important hormones are to well-being (and to weight), nor did I know that there were active steps I could take to influence the endocrine system for the better. Ditto with stress. It’s a seriously great, informative book.

    Loving your lists, Rachel!! xo

  2. Loving this just as much as I loved Part 1 – my ‘to-read’ list is now impressive in itself!!

    For some reason your post reminded me of a book I read a few years ago ‘Stuart: A Life Backwards’ a biography written by Alex Masters on a homeless man in Cambridge. As the title suggests it tells the story of Stuart’s life from end to beginning. I found it be a moving reminder to scratch the surface and remember that every one of us has a story worth telling.

    Thanks for the reading inspiration x

  3. I love your Kurt Cobain love! I’m from Seattle, so it’s just natural to be a Kurt/Nirvana fan up here, but I think it’s so amazing that he’s such a worldwide phenomenon! My boyfriend and I enjoy driving through his hometown, Aberdeen, when we make trips to the ocean sometimes. The sign entering town says “Come As You Are”. Pretty awesome, right?

  4. Kate: I can feel a huge book order coming on… ;)

    Jess: I’m exactly the same when it comes to Lance. I want to believe that he wouldn’t possibly put his body through that, but you’re right, the stories are quite damning and I guess the truth will eventually be revealed. I just hope that truth is that he is completely clean.

    ‘Accidentally Overweight’ sounds brilliant, thank you for the suggestion. Have you ever read ‘Breakthrough’ by Suzanne Somers? It sounds quite similar actually. Xx

    Cara: Sounds like a really moving book honey, will have to add this to my own impressive reading list. Ha! Xx

    Monika: I’m a grunge/ alternative music loving lady from waaaaay back. You should see my iTunes, you’d probably LOVE it. As I would yours I’d say. xx

    Lindsay: Your comment actually follows on nicely from Monika’s – and I’m SO coming to visit you in Seattle one day gorgeous. I’ve always wanted to go exploring around Portland and Washington, and that sign = rad. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so I could have been in my early 20’s in the early 90’s. xx

    Lisa: Oh I know what you mean sweets, I can definitely feel like that too but I also have this real attraction to stories that sit so far outside my reality. Not sure if it’s just simple curiosity, or a desire to understand and reconcile that the world is made up of dark + light or good + bad – again, because I’ve haven’t myself experienced the murkiest of depths – but there’s still something that pulls me. I’m a massive researcher/ info nerd so I like to know about things I know I’ll never experience in my own ife (eg: being a heroin addict).

    My bookshelf may or may not have multiple personality disorder, as you might be working out. No discrimination when it comes to genres, that’s for sure. ;) xx

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