Books You’ll Love: 30 Riveting Reads (Part 1)

I’m feeling a bit ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ today with this bumper post full of all my favourite reads!

I’ve had a few requests for book recommendations of late, and as you’ll see below, I love nothing more than reading – and talking about – great books. I’ve broken my recommended reading list into two parts because it was getting a bit ridiculous, so today’s bulging post is Part 1, covering the areas of self empowerment, memoir, entrepreneurship and creativity, and Part 2 will be all about music/ celebrity, drugs, health + sport and coffee table books.

I’ve left literature and classics off (Nabokov, Tolstoy, Harper Lee, Kerouac and Thompson are my picks to stretch the edges of your brain every which way) and as you’ll soon discover, the majority of the books I read reside in the non-fiction category.

That said, though, the aim is that these posts will become a fantastic resource to refer back to time and time again let’s load up the comments with YOUR suggestions (fiction is definitely encouraged, I need to spread my wings!) so we can all circle back here next time we’re in need of a good read.




1 // ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise L. Hay (click to buy)
From the grandmama of self-empowerment herself, the starting point for a journey into healing and transformation. Every bookshelf deserves a dog-earred copy of this timeless tome. 

2 // ‘You Can Create an Exceptional Life’ by Cheryl Richardson and Louise L. Hay (click to buy)
Loaded with gentle wisdom, this book plays out like a series of conversations between two of the preeminent thought leaders in the self-growth sphere.  

3 // ‘Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love & Miracles’ by Gabrielle Bernstein (click to buy)
A radically honest walk through the life and lessons learned by spirituality’s coolest new-gen teacher Gabby Bernstein. Plenty o’ goodness on manifesting + magic + miracles + fine-tuning your intuition. 

4 // ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be & Embrace Who You Are’ by Brene Brown (click to buy)
Watch this first, then read Brene Brown’s book on courage, compassion, connection – and the often swept-under-the-rug emotion, shame. A brilliant combo of scientific research, storytelling and real life examples. 

5 // ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle (click to buy)
Powerful teachings on presence and recognising ourselves as the creators of our own pain and joy.

6 // ‘Dying to be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing’ by Anita Moorjani (click to buy)
The incredible back-from-the-dead story of a cancer patient riddled with disease – and the epiphanies her near-death experience brought about. Eye-opening. 

7 // ‘Creative Visualization‘ by Shakti Gawain (click to buy)
Affirmations and meditations to help you actively direct the course of your life. 

8 // ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David J. Schwartz (click to buy)
Regarded as one of the best classic books on motivation, this book uncovers the ‘secrets’ to success, happiness and relationships. 

9 // ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coehlo (click to buy)
A dazzling and simple story with shiny-diamond wisdom woven through its pages. Lush, evocative. One for the ages.  

10 // ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change’ by Stephen R. Covey (click to buy)
A principle-centred approach to problem-solving and bettering your life.




1 // ‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (click to buy)
Doesn’t really need an introduction but in case you’ve been meditating in a cave in Nepal for the past six years, Eat Pray Love is the at once criticised and widely celebrated story of a woman on a journey – via Italy, India and Indonesia – back to herself. 

2 // ‘Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Life & Love from Dear Sugar’ by Cheryl Strayed (click to buy)
A compilation of the best (left-of-centre) advice columns from Sugar, the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, who has now been revealed to be bestselling author Cheryl Strayed. Dynamite stuff. 

3 // ‘This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart’ by Susannah Conway (click to buy)
A tender and moving book about grief and self-discovery by online writer and photographer Susannah Conwayand her subsequent unfurling through connection and creativity. 

4 // ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’ by Nikki Gemmell (click to buy)
This book was doing the sex + titillation thing way before Fifty Shades of Grey (and the writing is approximately 500, 000 times better). Intoxicating. 

5 // ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn (click to buy)
A can’t-put-it-down, super dark thriller that will suck you in and leave you thinking. The current popularity of this one is off the charts… for good reason.

6 // ‘Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Motherhood & Magazines’ by Mia Freedman (click to buy)
Mia Freedman was my career idol when she was editor of Cosmo magazine (back when I had no clue just how huge a score that was at age 24). Pretty sure I tore through this open and honest insight into her life in a day, if memory serves me correctly. 

7 // ‘Sold’ by Patricia McCormick (click to buy)
An evocative novel about child prostitution. It’ll get you. Right there. 

8 // ‘Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ by Cheryl Strayed (click to buy)
Blazingly honest, superbly written, awe-inspiring. A story about grief, healing and revelation, woven into an even bigger story about the author’s backbreaking solo hike from the Mojave Desert to Washington State in the U.S. A total page-turner.  



1// ‘The Firestarter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms’ by Danielle LaPorte (click to buy)
THE guide to making your purpose a reality. Juicy, deep, energetically-charged truth wrapped up in one delicious, white-hot package. 

2 // ‘The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles’ by Steven Pressfield (click to buy)
I read this fascinating book in an hour-forty five last night (it’s THAT good) and if you need a swift kick up the butt to get sh*t done, look no further. Punchy wisdom, straight to your grey matter. It’ll give you tingles. 

3 // ‘Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love’ by Jonathan Fields (click to buy)
Turn your passion into a goldmine, make the leap, take back your life. Jonathan Fields will tell you how to do just that in this practical, detailed and super inspirational book. 

4 // ‘The 4 Hour Work Week: Escape the 9 – 5, Live Anywhere & Join the New Rich’ by Timothy Ferriss (click to buy)
Cutting-edge and revolutionary ideas about escaping the rat race and claiming your life back. 

5 // ‘Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepeneur’ by Pamela Slim (click to buy)
How great is that title? Pleased to tell you the book is just as wonderful – extremely useful, no BS advice on transitioning from employee to entrepreneur with aplomb. 

6 // ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents & Those of the People You Manage’ by Marcus Buckingham (click to buy)
Discover where you shine, what your natural gifts and strengths are and how that translates to your business/ career/ life as a whole.  

Side note: don’t you love how Danielle LaPorte has obviously done a spot of competitive analysis in her field and gone for ‘striking + totally different’ for her cover, in a sea of red, black and gold? Love that trailblazin’ woman!



1 // ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott (click to buy)
If you’re a writer, or want to be, do yourself a favour and read this book. Immediately. 

2 // ‘Writing Down the Bones’ by Natalie Goldberg (click to buy)
Refer to the above. 

3 // ‘Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words & Stories and Creating the Time & Energy to Actually Do It’ by SARK (click to buy)
SARK is a moonbeam, a rainbow-hued explosion, a larger-than-life bundle o’ fun. She’s also whip-smart and chock full of creative wisdom and how-to’s. This book is a gift.  

4 // ‘On Writing’  by Stephen King (click to buy)
Part memoir, part instructional book on the craft of writing, totally awesome. 

5 // ‘The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it For Life’ by Twyla Tharp (click to buy)
Tharp waxes lyrical on creativity being the product of preparation and effort – something available to us all, if we work at it. 

6 // ‘The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path’ by Julia Cameron (click to buy)
I haven’t actually read this one yet (it’s on the way to me in the mail) but by all accounts it’s a must-read. If you’ve ever heard a creative friend doing their ‘Morning Pages,’ this is where the idea was born. 


+ What are your favourite books? Have you read (and loved) any of the above? Share away in the comments below.

Everyone loves a good book rec, so I’d be mega-grateful if you could tweet or share this post on Facebook using the buttons below. Merci, my little book-lovahs!

{PS: this post is in no way sponsored, but I’m seriously beginning to think I need a good friend at The Book Depository. Or PayPal.}

23 Comments to “Books You’ll Love: 30 Riveting Reads (Part 1)”

  1. I am a BIG book lover! I constantly have a list of books that I want to read after finishing my current one. So thanks for the great books to add!
    Currently I’m reading the 7 habits of a highly effective person, after it was recommended to me by a lot of people. I am also a big fan of health and fitness books, I enjoy the nutritional information and the mental side of the books.

  2. So many good suggestions here that I’ll have to check out. I’m an Alchemist lover too. You might like the Way of the Peaceful Warrior series. Currently reading Shantaram. Another great post! X

  3. What a fabulous post! It’s so refreshing to see someone recommending great reads (& not getting caught up in the 50 Shades hype). I’m a big fan of many of the above and will be adding the others to my list. I also love Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Am currently reading Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh so far it’s a dream read. Looking forward to Part 2 x

  4. It’s funny girls, I actually had a sentence in there originally saying “STILL haven’t read Shantaram as my bedside table is always full of books and Shantaram is definitely a holiday read” – so it’s fitting that it has been mentioned twice already. One I know I need to dive into when I have more time.

    Way of the Peaceful Warrior and Everyday Life sounds beautiful too Sonya and Cara, will have to put those ones down on my list. Thanks for sharing. xx

  5. Oh Rachel, your bookshelf could be my bookshelf’s brother-from-another-mother! I have read and loved heaps of these, especially Eckhart Tolle (although ‘A New Earth’ is my favourite of his), ‘Creative Visualization’ and ‘The War of Art’.

    Two books that I’m recommending to all my friends at the moment are:
    * ‘Born To Run’, by Christopher MacDougall. It’s this gloriously rollicking non-fiction adventure story that all stemmed from the author’s search to answer the question ‘why does my foot hurt?’ It details the evolution of running, and features a race between modern day ultra-runners and these crazy-awesome runners from an ancient Mexican tribe. The book is greatly responsible for the massive ‘barefoot running’ movement that has taken the running world by storm. This book is awesome, and I dare anyone to read it without wanting to sprint off (barefoot!) into the distance with hair streaming behind and dust bunnies in your wake… ;)
    * ‘Healthy at 100’, which I just posted a review on. The title is, I think, a little unfortunate, as it makes it sound like any of the other cheap-tacky ‘number in the title’ diet books out there… It’s not, this book is a thorough, well-researched and well-reasoned exploration of the interplay between healthy eating, exercise, social support networks and love (!!) in long-lived cultures around the world, and how us Westerners can try to incorporate the best of these practices in our own lives. It made me warm and fuzzy on the inside whilst reading it (again, very different from your standard depressing diet book!)
    Also, I am currently reading and loving the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.
    I love seeing what’s on other people’s bookshelves, love this post!!! xo

  6. And now, I have several more books on my Amazon wish list. My family is going to love all of the birthday/Christmas present ideas!! ;)

    I’ve been doing a little reading on astrology lately, so Susan Miller’s currently on my Kindle, as well as a biography on Colin Firth — both interesting reads. Fiction-wise, I haven’t been doing much, but I’m always big into the fantasy/science fiction realm. Regardless of whether you like that, Tamora Pierce’s series are so good – they’re all full of female protagonists, and so full of female empowerment!! Love them. Start with the Song of the Lioness quartet, it’s my favorite, and the first one I read. xx

  7. Jess: I’d love to see a sneaky pic of your shelves, I bet you have plenty that I’d love too – sounds like our tastes are very similar.

    Ahh, Born to Run is actually going to make an appearance in the next post – yay! Will have to check out Healthy to 100, that sounds really interesting. Thanks gorgeous xx

    Kate: Just call me “The Enabler.” Female empowerment – hells yeah! Like the sound of that. xx

  8. Oh, I love reading lists and I’ve definitely added many of your recommendations to my “to read” list. I’d have to say that the best book I’ve read in the last year was “Absalom, Absalom” by William Faulkner. It’s not an easy read but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve picked up in a long time.

  9. Monika: “Adding to my cart with optimism I will read them all” just made me laugh out loud! There should be a pop-up window at the checkout that says “ARE YOU SURE YOU NEED 10 MORE NEW BOOKS, SISTA?!”

    But of course… buy away. I encourage it wholeheartedly, in fact. Love to know which ones you buy! x

  10. Hannah: I’ve never read any Faulkner but Cheryl Strayed takes “As I Lay Dying” on her hike in ‘Wild’ – one of two books she chooses for the journey.

    “Rewarding” is a great description (so true of many of tomes in the lit genre) x

  11. I have read most of your top list and some of the others. Dying to be Me is on my wish list, and a few others you have mentioned here on this glorious post. ;) Bird by Bird keeps popping up as a recommendation too and I keep ignoring it! I’m guessing I should pop that in my cart too….haha.

    I also love Wayne Dyers Power of Intention and Wishes Fulfilled. I have the first on my iPhone as an audio book which is lovely as his voice is from heaven. :)

    I am currently reading a novel by Eowyn Ivey called The Snow Child which I am kind of enjoying although find it a touch boring. I loved Language of Flowers and The Book Thief for my fiction reads the very most :)

  12. You will LOVE Bird by Bird Michele, it’s written in such a funny, self-deprecating way.. and is chock full of wisdom. I haven’t read any Wayne Dyer since I was about 13 but I have a few of his book on their way to me (err… whoops… another purchase). Thanks for your other suggestions too! x

  13. Ooh how good is this post! Will certainly be coming back when it’s time to put in an order for some new books!

    Some of my favourite recent books:
    The hunger games trilogy – had me hooked from the first word, I read all 3 in about a week. Movie was amazing too!
    Currently reading ‘the book thief’ awesome so far, set in nazi Germany.
    Scar tissue – Anthony kiedis biog was an awesome read.
    Tully – Paullina Simons. No way you could read it without crying!
    Anything by Paullina Simons, her books are so emotive and moving.
    Another favourite author is Jodi picolt. Excellent books.

    In more of the self improvement/non fiction department.
    Kelly Cutrone – if you have to cry go outside, and, normal gets you nowhere are both fab reads…
    How to win friends and influence people – not as superficial as it sounds, all about making connections and being remembered

    Will write for food is an awesome guide to food blogging and has changed the way I write on my blog.

    You should join amazons affiliate program, then You will receive a percentage of any books someone buys via your blog. Worth doing if you will be doing more book posts, costs nothing to set up and you can get vouchers for MORE BOOKS :)

  14. I am SO with you on The Fire Starter Sessions and The Alchemist. Easily two of the best books I’ve read recently. I’m also a huge fan of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Encounter the Enlightened: Conversations with the Master by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

    Next up for me (after I finish The Fire Starter Sessions for the second time… :) is Eat Pray Love. Can’t wait!

  15. Jas: Thanks lovely! I definitely need to read Tully, that’s one of those “can’t believe I haven’t read it yet” novels. I looked into the Amazon affiliates program but to be honest, the earnings are super low and I prefer The Book Depository for their free shipping! Xx

    Rebecca: Thanks for the recs, have heard good things about The Four Agreements. Will have to check that baby out xx

  16. Hey Rach,

    This is certainly a very impressive and helpful list of literature you have put together. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Agree with the other girls about Shantaram being a fantastic read. I am not known for tackling lengthy novels, but a few years ago on Christmas holidays my boyfriend (now husband) gave Shantaram to me to read over the break thinking I would never finish it……however I could not put it down! He was very proud lol!

    After your reviews the first books that I am definitely going to purchase are ‘The war of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles’…..and will look in to some of the writing and creativity books you have suggested. Good stuff ?

    On the Entrepreneurship category, I am currently reading The $100 Startup by Chris Buillebeau which has some great tips and I recently read Poppy King’s ‘Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and developing the great idea that can change your life.’ Great insight into how an 18 year old’s search for her ideal matte lipstick resulted in a multi-million dollar company!

    Love, love, loving what you are doing here Rach!

    Ainslie xo

  17. Thanks a million Ainslie, have been meaning to purchase the $100 Start Up so appreciate the reminder. Looks like I REALLY need to chase down a copy of Shantaram ;) xx

  18. Fantastic post!! I’ve added so many of them to my reading list and can’t wait to get lost in some great reads :)

    Just curious, are you a Kindle reader at all? I love having beautiful books on my shelves and the feel of a book but I have friends who have eReaders and love them so I’m tempted to give it a try!

  19. Thanks for this list, I’ve been searching for something new to get wrapped up in! I find I go through cultural phases where I’m really into a certain country or region and read stupid amounts of different books about it, then move onto the next one …

    Loved The Glass Palace, everything by Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy.

    Also recently committed to Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which were well worth it!

    But the book that’s made the biggest impression on me of late is Room by Emma Donoghue. I thought it was brilliant and would thoroughly recommend it!

  20. I love The Artist’s Way – doing morning pages is one of the most calming activities and I don’t think there is anyone who couldn’t benefit from them. My other favourite book is a Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin. It’s technically a fiction book, but I think it has some of the most honest insights about relationships, I’ve never read something that articulated how I felt so well. By the time I had finished the book, I felt like I’d resolved or at least shed some light on so many little niggling issues.

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