I read four books during January. I have a lot of books on the go at the moment (as usual…) and I didn’t finish as many as I’d wanted. I really do want to clear some of the books on my reading pile at the moment so I’m going to focus on it in February (she says, whilst knowing she’s just started another new book!).
1. The No Rules Handbook for Writers: (Know the Rules So You Can Break Them) by Lisa Goldman
I didn’t enjoy this book. I think it was a Kindle daily deal and I thought it’d be nice to read another book about writing (see book 4, below). However, the book largely focusses on theatre writing and I just didn’t find it that engaging or relevant to most people’s experience of writing. I guess this would be a good book if you’re looking to actively pursue a writing career in theatre, TV and film. Otherwise, there are better books out there for improving your writing.
2. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris
I really think this book is the best book I’ve read on happiness, to date (and I’ve read a lot of them!). This book focuses on the psychology of improving your life. It’s much more practical than most happiness books, which focus on the “science” of happiness. This was like a practical how-to guide on fixing your brain! If you’re looking to be more positive this year, or you want to tackle an anxiety or negative behaviour, this is the book for you.
3. The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year In The Eighteenth Century by Fiona J. Houston
I loved this book! This is the autobiography of a historian’s decision to live an 18th century lifestyle for a year. In Scotland. In snow in winter. I have so much respect for the author, as she must have been freezing during the winter months! In fact, let’s be honest – it’s Scotland. She was probably freezing in the summer months too! It’s a really interesting read, and she discusses many aspects of her day-to-day life during this time: food, domestic chores, travel, gardening… It’s a thorough book and it’s fascinating. It’s also a good lesson in frugality. She spent a tiny amount throughout the year because of her need to be self-sufficient. I don’t think we should all start living like 18th century school teachers (her inspiration for her year), but we can definitely learn some lessons from Fiona’s year of self-sufficiency.
4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
I started this book before book 1, and it was the inspiration behind buying another writing book. However, this is an excellent book, and I’ve already said that I was disappointed with book 1. If you’re looking for some gentle advice on improving your writing, this is the book for you. It’s part autobiography and part advice, and it’s a lovely read. I found it quite inspiring.
Have you read any good books recently?