As an author, psychologist and Mum I find that a lot of my meaningful, life changing reads come from other people’s reading lists. With that in mind, I thought I’d do a brief run down of the books I read this year.
You’ll see in this list that I mostly read non-fiction. Mostly because I’m a non-fiction writer. The part of my brain that reads purely for fun (without looking for material I can use or a life skill) is still healing.
In full disclosure, I don’t always finish books. It’s taken me a long time to give myself permission not to finish every book I start. There were a few this year I simply didn’t enjoy. Or, I seemed to overload on books with trauma in them and wasn’t quite in the head space for them.
I read across all platforms – paperbacks, Kindle and Audiobooks. I mostly choose Audio books if the author reads their own work as I find it a more enriching experience.
Wilder: A Journey Back to Life by Meg Berryman
This is my friend’s book. A series of reflections on burnout, stress and the feedback our bodies give.
Wintering, by Katherine May
The last book I read for 2022. I kind of wish I’d read it before winter instead of in the heat of an Australian summer! Nevertheless, I LOVE the concept of learning to winter. After a year where I spent a lot of time feeling pretty ‘blah’ this was really re-affirming in a non-pathologizing way. I’ll be recommending this to all the mothers I know.
A great read for anyone navigating reading challenges and neurodiversity with their child. Sally takes some of the dense neuro-babble and makes it easier to understand.
The Tools by Phil Stutz and Brett Michels.
I loved this one so much, I have to write a separate post about it. I picked this up after watching the documentary, Stutz, on Netflix with Jonah Hill and can’t believe I’d never of Phil Stutz before – a no BS talking Psychiatrist who has developed a series of practical tools people can use for life.
The Art of Self-Kindness by Rebecca Ray.
Bec is another Australian Psychologist. A pick up and put down book that’s handy for a bedside table.
Small Habits for a big Life, by Rebecca Ray.
If you’d never seen a Psychologist and never heard of CBT this might be a useful place to start.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
This was a book I polished off in less than 24 hours and made lots of notes. I wrote about it here
Stolen Focus by Johann Hari
I first discovered Johann Hari at a conference on shame. He was so wickedly funny and awkward I just knew I’d love his books. Stolen Focus is so well researched and relatable.
Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
When I don’t feel like reading about psychology or perinatal stuff, I quite like Stoicism. There were some great examples in here about the power of just getting stuff done. Handy for a parent and a writer alike!
The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday
I’m such a fan of post-traumatic growth – the idea that amazing things can rise from the ashes of what seems, at the time, like a pile of poo. I listened to this one while digging up the clay soil on our property and it was oddly therapeutic.
Happy Days by Gabby Bernstein
I’ve read and liked most of Gabby’s books, but tbh I didn’t finish this one. Maybe I’m just a bit over reading about trauma.
Come As You Are: The Surprising new Science that will Change Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski.
I didn’t mind her book on Burnout, so I picked this one up as well. I’ve been recommending it as homework to clients.
I’m Glad My Mom Died, by Jenette McCurdy
I’d never heard of former child star Jenette McCurdy before. I’m glad I was curious enough to see what the hype was about. Yes there’s a lot of trauma in this one too, but talk about doing the work. She’s absolutely amazing.
Have I Told You This Already? by Lauren Graham (of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fame)
I love listening to her essays on making marmalade, adopting a dog and ageing.
Talking as Fast as I can by Lauren Graham
An earlier book of Lauren’s about her time on the Gilmore Girls.
Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon
An easy holiday read that gave me a few chuckles about the same trends in this industry that get rehashed over and over.
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry.
I listened to this was I was sick in bed with covid. While Perry’s story of recovery is amazing and something to be proud of, I couldn’t finish this one. He comes across as incredibly whiny, entitled and sexist.
The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl
I listened to this one under the oak tree while in iso in the heat of January 2022 and really enjoyed it.
Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch.
I love Bowditch. She’s warm and funny, and I love music interwoven with storytelling. but again, for me, there was too much sadness and trauma for me to finish at the moment.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Yes, I’m late to the Wild party. This was another book I didn’t finish. Maybe the audio book would have been better? I dunno, I found it long and meandering so I gave up and watched the movie instead.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
I read it so I could go watch the movie and feel like I’d achieved something (and to find out what a crawdad is)
I listen to these to go to sleep sometimes. Davina Porter might be my favourite narrator. It’s almost as if my Scottish Mum or Grandma is reading me a bedtime story (albeit a sometimes violent and saucy one!)
P.S. That’s a silkie hen in the photo, not a mop, nor a feather duster or a small fluffy white dog. She’s fine. She’s just snoozing in the thyme