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Books of the Year 2015

It’s that time of the year, where I share a sneak peak into my favourite reads of the year. I noticed on Instagram a trend for sharing numbers – as in having an aim of how many books you’re going to read in a year. Nothing would kill the magic of reading more than that for me. I read in waves – ordering 5 books in a go on Amazon, connected to my current passions, devouring them, or dipping in, then going back to old favourites. It’s an organic thing.

This list reflects my reading list well, 90% non-fiction, 70% women authors… no wonder I started Womancraft Publishing for women’s non-fiction!

(Click on any of the covers to go through to their page on Amazon).

So this year:

My favourite …

Gyn-Ecology: The Meta-Ethics of Radical Feminism –  Mary Daly

is one of those books that you define your life in terms of before I read this book… and life after. So I’m only 40 odd years behind the times with this one. But when the reader is ready, the book comes along.

I know it sounds hardcore, just from the title. It’s what put me off. But oh mama, this woman can write – her incisive insight, her cutting wit, her miss-tery of language. This is magnificent. My copy is now full of underlinings and turned down corners and post it notes. It is the sort of book I wanted to stand and applaud after reading. It is a timeless feminist critique… and truly breathtaking.

The Other Side of the River – Eila Kundrie Carrico

Pictureis our forthcoming book from Womancraft Publishing, out in early Feb. It came to me in early July, when we were officially full for 2016, but I snuck it into our schedule, because it is a stunning piece of writing on women and rivers, which has the power, I believe, to shift paradigms for people, internally and culturally. I read it twice in one month… and couldn’t wait to read it again.

And the cover… let’s talk covers people… oh how I have loved artist Leah Dorion’s work for years. I had a board of her art on Pinterest and so was so excited to get to have her art on one of our books. There is a lot of love for this cover out there!

The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World is a deep searching into the ways we become dammed and how we re-cover fluidity.

Rooted in rivers, inspired by wetlands and swamps, sources and tributaries, this book weaves its path between the banks of memory and story, from Florida to Kyoto, storm ravaged New Orleans to London, via India and Ireland.

Art is a Way of Knowing – Pat B. Allen
This is my third time reading this book. It seems to call to be read when I am at the crossroads of my creative life. The first time it was a core course text when I was training to be a Birthing from Within mentor – all those years ago. The second time was when I was writing The Rainbow Way, and this time I am reading it from the soul, as I break new ground for my next book.

Allen is an artist and art therapist and makes her personal practice, and art therapy techniques easily accessible through this book. She inspires us to approach our inner worlds with courage and compassion.

Burning Woman – Lucy Pearce

is my next book, out June next year.

This book is for all women who burn with passion, have been burned by shame and in other places, at other times would have been burned alive for what they do and who they are.

It is written for every woman who has struggled with expressing herself. Every woman filled with burning questions, who longed to give voice to the ideas within her, but was too scared by what might happen if she did. Every woman who is in the process of stepping into her power. And every single woman who has been burned when she did.

I have just today sent the first draft off to my editor. The books I am writing are always what shape my reading list and my soul. They are the process I am living, and the crystalisation of what I am living. It is big and fiery… and so has added lots of big, fiery books to my reading list: lots of Jung – The Red Book and Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, as well as Dancing in the Flames, Dancing in the Dark… and two perenial favourites Hands of Light and Red Hot and Holy.

I am very proud of it and can’t wait to share it with you…

The Second Curve – Charles Handy
I am a real fan-girl of Charles Handy, I consider him my grandad of ideas and so was delighted to read his new revisiting of ideas that he popularised in the ’80s and ’90s. There’s nothing new in it (for die hard fans) but a new world context for what were ideas before their time. This, plus, I love how an 80 year old man is so au fait with Twitter!

 

 

A Field Guide to Getting Lost – Rebecca Solnit

Solnit is a new writer crush of mine. I kept coming across inspirig quotes by her, so decided to give her work a go. I ended up reading two books in less than a month. She weaves a love of philosophy with a poetic type of prose, she has a clear mind and lucid style. I get lost in her mindstreams in a good way.

 

 

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
This is another fangirl book crush. I have been loving all the promotion for Liz Gilbert’s new book, the podcasts and Facebook letter – my word that woman is inspiring and know how to connect with her audience. Her foray into the uber-popular genre of creativity started with a couple of TED talks that did the rounds, and were inspiring to me and many others. I like her book – she writes clearly, amusingly, passionately to the creative heart of the mainstream. Her book scuppered an upcoming one of mine on the same topic, due for early 2017, which has meant that I have had to take it deeper into niche territory again, but hey-ho!

The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer

I read this at the start of the year, so I almost forgot to put it in this list. It’s beautifully written, from the heart, deeply vulnerable and balm to the soul of all creatives. It’s about the courage to create… and share your work. How to build an audience authentically. How to connect. It is about being human in the midst of creativity. It’s about love, loss and longing.

It is autobiographical, and despite not knowing her work beforehand, I know it intimately now, and am grateful for her sharing her life so vulnerably.

Yes it’s been hyped… because it’s SO good. If you haven’t read it, then do yourself a favour and get a copy…

Shades of GreyJasper Fforde

NO, not THAT 50 Shades – which I have never read and have no intention of. But yes, this is fiction! Science fiction. This is a fab dystopian novel with echoes of Atwood, Orwell and Douglas Adams. It was our book group’s pick back at Easter time and it has been alive for me ever since. One of a promised trilogy – the others never came and I feel a great sadness for that.

 

 

Depression Delusion – Dr Terry Lynch
I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking on the topic of mental health this year, and this was an interesting book that washed my way via the magical world of Facebook. It seems to be an increasingly common take on depression, that it is NOT a chemical imbalance in the brain – which is what they tell us to sell medication, but actually a far more complicated mix of factors. Dr Terry Lynch, an Irish GP and therapeutic counsellor, is extremely thorough in his dismissal of big-pharma’s erroneous assertions of chemical imbalance – this book is packed full of rebuttals, research, sources and passion.

Tell me – what books have you LOVED this year that you think I might like?

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