I’ve always been a reader – partly due to being an only child – I mean, what else do you do when there’s no one to play with? But also as an introvert, a perfect day for me is reading a book on the beach, up a mountain, in a tent, on the couch, in a cafe, in a pub – all of that!
I’ve pretty much always had a book on the go. I’m the type to walk into a bookshop and buy 3 fat novels each time so I don’t have to keep going back so often.
When I had a baby, my reading went by the wayside. Even though I was familiar with ebooks, I’d never read many. But suddenly, reading on my phone was the only option. Now my kid is 4, I’ve been able to read a lot more. Although I like the look and feel of paperbacks, I like not using trees or recycled paper, and I like not piling up books on top of books on top of more books because there’s no room left in the bookshelves. So yeah – I love reading ebooks on my phone!
Although I’m still not reading quite as much as I used to, I’ve read about 30 books this year – not including the bazillions of kids books 😉
I used to mainly read fiction, but for some reason I’ve had a hard time getting into it over the past couple of years, and read mostly autobiographies, so keep that in mind as I present to you….
My Top 10 Books of 2019 😀
Jack Charles: Born-again Blakfella – Jack Charles
Essential reading for all Australians – this is a tour of Melbourne’s streets and the theatre scene from a prominent stolen child.
I do hope everyone reads this. From being stolen to institutionalised abuse to finding family. From homelessness to acclaimed actor – often at the same time.
There is so much pain here, but so much hope. Well written, and a great story to boot.
Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music – Archie Roach
More essential reading from a stolen child struggling to find who they are and where they fit in this land that belongs to them but was taken.
A beautiful read of addiction, love, travel, and music. Tell My Why never answers its recurring question, but inspires compassion and humanity.
Your Own Kind of Girl – Clare Bowditch
The blurb doesn’t do this book justice – I almost didn’t read it, but as a fellow Melbourne musician I thought it might be interesting.
This poetic book was like reading my own head! Bowditch’s sister died when they were very young, and the way Clare’s mind internalised the tragedy was with crippling anxiety and depression. Add to this some insecurity ingrained from society, and a singer-songwriter at heart, and you’ve got a beautiful story for all creatives.
Unfollow – Megan Phelps-Roper
Absolutely fascinating insight into extreme religion that spouts hate-speech – direct from the granddaughter of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church.
I learnt so much about compassion and the importance of free speech in this book. Without the hate that was and is still spouted from this church, there would not be the uprising of compassion that comes with the equality movements today.
Then It Fell Apart – Moby
This is Moby’s second autobiography and is as exciting as his first. The title turned out to be rather auspicious, and he had disappear from the internet for a while after getting in trouble for his tales of being a jerk as a drunk musician.
A fun book of music, New York, and deciding not to be a jerk. I’m a fan of his music, so maybe I’m biased, but I reckon it’s a good read regardless.
North Korea Journal – Michael Palin
I’m fascinated with stories from North Korea, and this is told in a different light to usual. Palin doesn’t treat the country as a freak show. Instead, he’s able to see past the rules of the land and into the humanity. I also see a lot of hope for the future of this country.
Now I see how human it really is at ground level, I’m waiting for my kid to be old enough to handle a family holiday there!
I Built No Schools in Kenya: A Year of Unmitigated Madness – Kirsten Drysdale
A wild ride from an Aussie living in Kenya. No, she didn’t do anything noble there, but she got an incredible sense of life there where colonialism clashes with the locals, and the absolute beauty of the land and its people.
Such a fun book filled with compassion and kindness.
Magic – Jan Golembiewski
OK so this is another Aussie travelling to Africa, but the concept is so different to anything else I’ve read. I actually bought it last year, so it’s a 2018 book, but it took me a few pages to get into it, so didn’t read it til this year.
After some beautiful lessons in Rastafarianism, Golembiewski travels to Africa, and decides to get rid of all his belongings, including his passport, trusting that all will go well for him as he practises faith in magic.
A wild story filled with amazing imagery, people, and cultures of different countries around the world.
Waste Not – Erin Rhoads
This is a super simple, super practical, and super kind guide to reducing your waste on this planet. I’ve implemented so many things from this book, and reduced my household’s landfill waste by about 80%. I could do more, but one thing I love about this book is that it really encourages you to go at your own pace so that you can implement with ease, and in a way that really works for you.
Read this if you are wanting to go zero waste, but find it all a bit daunting.
The Institute – Stephen King
This was the only fiction book I read this year, and it happened to also be the first fiction work I’ve read from Stephen King.
I read his non fiction books (on how to write, and the history of horror) as a bit of personal homework, and then I decided to read this – purely for research. But I was hooked and read it in 2 days.
It was gripping, realistic, and very easy reading. I know I’m late to the party, but I’ll definitely be back for more Stephen King!
That’s my top 10 book list for 2019! I read so many more that I wanted to put here, but most were not written this year – including the entire back-catalogue of Augusten Burroughs (superfan alert!), Stephen King’s amazing book on how to write, Osher Günsberg’s story from Australian Idol to anxiety shitstorm, Little Britain‘s Matt and David’s autobiographies, and oh so much more.
With only a few days left in the year, I have 1 book on the go, 1 queued up on my phone, and a hardback to put in my Christmas stocking (hey, someone’s gotta put it there!). Life without books is not worth living!