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.

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!