I know I harp on a lot about taking time out for yourself, but come on, it’s super important. Recharging the batteries, whether it’s for five minutes or five days is good for the mind, body and soul. One of my favourite things to do when I know I need some time out is to read. There are entire universes of unexplored terrain out there, and you can get to them with a book. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy or a radical for romance, there is an awesome book out there for every quirk or interest you have – and some you didn’t know you had. Today I’ve rounded up the best books that I’ve read or been recommended in some of my favourite genres…Happy Reading!
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This particular genre has always been my go-to place when I need some time out. I find it less unimaginable than regular fantasy books, as you can almost place yourself in some of the circumstances. But amongst the realism, there is a sense of fantasy and adventure, unimaginable strength, incredible speed, vampires and werewolves. It’s a pretty cool place between fantasy and mystery fiction.
I genuinely cannot choose between my three favourite authors in this genre; Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Cassandra Clare and Charlaine Harris. These women are exceptional at what they do. If you haven’t tried this type of read before, I would start with Kelley Armstrong’s otherworld series. Her ability to paint reality overlaid with amazing fantasy with interesting, robust characters had me hooked from day one. Additionally, there are lots of books in this series, including a network of short stories that build a chronology of this wonderful world I’d love to be a part of! Book one in this series is Bitten, so grab it now and come and join me in the Otherworld.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is described as a thriller but I’d honestly not put it there. It’s exciting, true to life and funny! It really is a woman’s read, especially us with children, as it is completely relatable. I would recommend this as a starting point for anyone who likes short chapters (like I do!) and a down-to-earth, comical take on what potentially could be a real life scenario.
To Kill a Mockingbird is an all time favourite of many. Some have never read it and I can understand why; not only is it over fifty years old, it was one they chose for the school curriculum! But there is certainly a reason for that! To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story and an anti-racist novel; but you don’t read it like that. You see, as an adult, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition whilst viewing the world as it should be – through the innocence and truth of a childs eyes. Absolutely brilliant!
I like to learn during my down time, although sometimes I have to be careful! A good business book can inspire you to jump up from that resting phase to take immediate action on a brilliant idea! Not always the point of taking some time for self-care. That being said, there is nothing more spectacular than being an entrepreneur and having an amazing idea pop into your head. The excitement of taking action on a brilliant plan is overwhelming. Business for Punks, recommended to me by a fellow awesome entrepreneur with far more experience than me, is definitely an inspiration and a turn up for the books when it comes to perspective. James Watt is the co-founder of BrewDog one of the world’s fastest-growing drinks brands, famous for beers, bars and crowdfunding. He tells it how it is in this book, suggesting that we “Don’t waste your time on bullshit business plans. Forget sales. Ignore advice. Put everything on the line for what you believe in.”
You know what I’m going to say don’t you….The Secret. Simply take off your cynical hat, read it, and be a positive beacon in your household. See what comes to you….that’s all I’m saying!
I love a good recipe, and sometimes instead of turning to Pinterest, I take some time out to look at my beautiful stash of recipe books. There’s nothing like sitting and looking at lovely food for inspiration, whilst planning the weeks meal and shopping list; thus relaxing time, planning to reduce stress and saving money! Talk about multi-tasking! My favourites at the moment are Joe Wicks Lean in 15 (there’s three in the collection now and each is as good as the last!), my old faithful Jamie Collection (30 minute meals, 15 minute meals and Everyday Superfood) and Tom Kerridge’s latest, The Dopamine Diet. (p.s. you do not have to be on a diet for this one but if you are watching what you eat, this is a brilliant resource too!)
Crime isn’t always my thing and I don’t “read” these books, I listen to them on Audible while I’m doing housework, putting clothes away and other mundane jobs that are otherwise a bit boring. Finding a good crime series, like Ian Rankin’s rebus collection, is great for keeping me doing all the house-things that I would normally avoid! In fact, I end up finding things to do so I can listen longer!
I love a good book that gets the home sorted! Ideas and inspiration for pretty things is a lovely way to relax and unwind. My favourites are Kirsty Allsop’s Vintage Home, Cath Kidston’s Tips for Vintage Style and the Conquer Your Clutter super bundle from Ultimate Bundles.
I can certainly recommend Poppy Z Brite‘s early works if you like strange and very graphic horror. Her writing is rich and vibrant with storytelling that can only be described as seriously f**ked up! Her stand-alone books Drawing Blood and Exquisite Corpse are my all time, read-numerous-times, favorites for a disturbing change of book scenery. – WARNING: absolutely not for the faint at heart!
If you like to get into what goes on behind closed doors then I can certainly recommend Marley and Me by John Grogan (the book is far better than the film!) But be warned, if you’re a pet owner, you’ll need the tissues with this one…..
Alternatively, a local-interest one for me was the book, Just a Boy by Richard McCann. This is Richard’s story and is a hard-to-read but fascinating insight into the life of a little boy whose mother was the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper. You could pick up my book too (*cue shameless plug*) which shares my family’s story of battling mental health and coming through the other side; with a baby in tow!
I hope these provide some inspiration for your next read and I would love to know, what are your favourites? Shout out your recommendations in the comments to inspire my next bookshelf purchase!