The Book List
The famous City Lights bookstore in San Francisco
I love literature. Creativity, art, and literature. I studied American and English Literature at University and fell in love with the creative non-fiction style in particular. The kind of writing that told a story but also commented on the culture of the time. Those writings that were in memoir style, biographies without the formalities. I loved my studies of the 1920s, of the Beat generation and their stream of consciousness style.
Since graduating I gave up books a little. Of late I've noticed it's made a little bit of a void in my life, I've been missing the expansion of knowledge and the inspiration. Not just for writing but for art projects, further study into cultures and times, photo series, and personal philosophy. I want to keep learning and explore different ways of thinking, cultures, and places. And otherwise, I just simply enjoy reading. I love getting lost in books. It's a companion for the road too. I've been away from the UK for 18 months at this point, and with a book on the go it's easy to travel alone. You can find characters, human emotion, connection, that you can relate to. You can sit in cafes and restaurants alone and while away a couple of hours. Also handy if you have a day of really bad weather, or a lot of long-ass travel on trains, buses, or planes.
A final, core reason, is that I want to write (if you hadn't got that yet...!). So it makes sense to continue to study my craft, find inspiration, look at writing styles, and try and appreciate what makes a 'good writer'.
I had planned to read 30 books this year, but I'm not convinced I'm going to hit that mark. However, it's made me think a lot more about what I do want to read. This year's been a great time for growth and change. I used to only do things on the weekends really, now I do so much after work. I'm rarely not doing something. There are social occasions, walks to be taken, dance classes, yoga, photography, exploring, time with my boyfriend, or, of course, time beside, or in, the ocean! I used to sit and scroll the internet, or binge watch shows, and I wanted to replace that with books. While I do still do that sometimes, my lifestyle is much more active. That being said, I've definitely still read more books so far this year than I was getting through in London.
The books I've been choosing rotate a lot around my interests. There's books that cover past eras and the sub cultures within them, particularly creative movements, groups, and non-conformists. These tend to be written by real life, female protagonists who encourage me to feel empowered in my femininity, and explore my own artistic pursuits. This sense of female voice also crosses into other books on the list, such as those to do with mental health, and others to do with travel. There are books that are inspired by, or document, travel, and those which I feel I should read to understand more of the background of places I will visit (for example, A Short History of South-East Asia). There are books on philosophies and consciousness, which often also relate back to those aforementioned cultural books, such as Tom Wolfe and Aldous Huxley. Equally, there are those that tackle are modern day way of thinking, or consider environment and our planet. Then there's a couple of random books that have caught my eye, been recommended, or our classics I feel I should have, and would like to, read!
The list is endlessly expanding. Seriously, I see new books by the day and spend a ridiculous time just 'browsing' in bookstores. I started off with Patti Smith's M Train, which you can already read about. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende has also been ticked off, and shared with you all. Both of which I'd love to discuss!
I have plenty in the pipeline I'd like to read, have almost finished Kim Gordon's Girl In a Band, and the list keeps changing and gaining additions... And, of course, if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them!
1. M Train - Patti Smith
2. Eva Luna - Isabel Allende
3. Girl in a Band - Kim Gordon
4. The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
5. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl - Carrie Brownstein
6. Running Like China - Sophie Hardcastle
7. Bali: Shekala & Niskala - Fred B. Eiseman
8. The Sixth Extinction - Elizabeth Kolbert
9. The Art of Travel - Alain De Botton
10. The Diary of Anais Nin - Anais Nin
11. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
12. Tiny Beautiful Things - Cheryl Strayed
13. Books TBC - Alan Watts
14. Books TBC - Terence McKenna
15. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
16. The Diary of Frida Kahlo - Carlos Fuentes
17. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
18. Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Series) - Douglas Adams
19. The Essential Rumi - Jalalu'l-Din Rumi (translated)
20. Hold Your Own - Kate Tempest
21. Women Who Run with Wolves - Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
22. An Apology for Idlers - Robert Louis Stevenson
23. My Life on the Road - Gloria Steinem
24. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
25. On Photography - Susan Sontag
26. Henry and June - Anais Nin
27. A Short History of South-East Asia - Peter Church
28. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe
29. Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
30. Widow Basquiet - Jennifer Clement