This year, every few months I am choosing the books that inspired me or spoke to me the most, and sharing a little bit about them here on the blog. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile!
I’m playing a bit of catch-up, because I was travelling from March to late July of this year. You can see my favourite books from June and July here.
1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I adored this book. I had liked Amy in a vague way before reading this (note: but I had never seen Parks & Recreation!), but afterwards I not only loved her, but I admired her and respected her for her wisdom and grace. She is a smart, down-to-earth, beautiful soul who has so much great advice to share with us. This advice includes the Mantra Of 2015 (“Good for her, not for me”), and this: “Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.”
2. Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein
I read this after it was recommended in 10% Happier (a book about meditation). Going to Pieces is an introduction to zen Buddhism mixed with Western psychotherapy, so it talks a lot about the practice of non-attachment and letting go. All these months later I don’t remember many specifics from the book, but I remember really liking it (and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads!). I liked that it laid out Buddhist principles in a simple way and that the author was honest about experiences from his own life, including the ones at 10 day silent meditation retreats.
3. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
I remember reading this on my phone from the Kindle app on a park bench in Bangkok’s Lumphini Park. I read it quickly, and enjoyed the basic premise: less but better. It’s geared more towards work situations (taking on fewer, better projects) than possessions, but the basic principles are pretty universal. I found it refreshing to read sentences like “I can’t have it all or do it all”, “Only a few things really matter”, and “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will”. I always like to be reminded of these kinds of important ideas so I can be more intentional in my life, so for that reason I liked the book a lot.
4. In The Woods by Tana French
I don’t usually read murder mysteries, but this book blew me away. I picked up my copy from a book exchange at a cute little restaurant on Koh Chang, brought it along with me to Koh Mak, and promptly devoured it in about a day. It’s relatively long, but is the very definition of a page turner and goes by so quickly. I found it to be creepy, compelling, and very readable. I loved watching the mystery get solved step by step, and the behind-the-scenes look at a police investigation. Based on this book, I am currently reading her Faithful Place and a couple weeks ago I tore through Broken Harbour.
You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.