10 books that will always be on my shelf – these have all had a huge effect on me in how I think, live my life and appreciate things.
It was so hard to cull all of the possible choices down to 10 – but also fun. I had to be brutal and make hard choices.
So here goes in no particular order –
The Mayor Of Casterbridge
Love it for it’s fatalistic warnings of bad behaviour and the repercussions thereof plus it’s lush and tangible descriptions of the old English countryside and way of life
Love it as it encapsulates the microcosm of life in a small New England coastal town in the 70’s – the era in which I grew up – and all the drama of a town pitted against a monster shark.
My dad took me to see Jaws in 1977 and I couldn’t get in the bath for fear of sharks for weeks afterwards.
Love it for the way Toffler warns of humans living beyond their adaptive range due to the onset of technology in out daily lives. Written in the 70’s but as relevant today as it was then.
Love it for the painterly way the author expresses life in a rural New England hamlet and the unfolding descent into a grisly tale of ritual horror. The main character is a painter and when I first read this I aspired to be a full time artist too.
The Artist Spirit
Love it for it’s ability each time I read it to give me huge impetus in my creative work. Robert Henri is like a friendly art life coach to encourage you to indulge in whatever hunches attract you and to go with your GUT! A cult classic for all artists.
The Uses of Enchantment
Love it for Bettelheim’s laser sharp analysis of the mind of a child and the huge significance of fairy and folktales in their emotional development. A wonderful case put for reasons to read to young children at every opportunity to share this rich and safe form that allows them to explore their inner selves in the safety of a far removed tale.
Cider With Rosie
Love it for Lee’s poetic portrayal of a tiny Cotswold village and its life and people before the advent of steam or the motorcar. He cradles us in the reassuring descriptions of a life lived close to nature and at a more human pace.
Three Men in a Boat
Love it for its hilarious account of 3 men taking leave of their strenuous city lives and embarking on a leisurely break on a river boat. It features a Jack Russell (always a plus!) and the tone of the author as he dryly describes human characteristics makes me laugh out loud.
The Case for Working with the Hands
Love it for the way the author puts into words what I feel about technology and its oftentimes damaging effect on quality of live and how we live and operate as humans. A must read for anyone who wants to find a balance between being master of one’s stuff or being overwhelmed by it and materialism.
The books also discusses the value of skilled manual crafts such as woodworking and mechanics as ways to connect in reality to the material world and do excellent work – always as the result of deep attention and understanding of one’s craft. He suggests that as technology works its way ever further into our daily lives that humans are getting less and less opportunity to use their brains – I couldn’t agree more.
The Witches of Eastwick
Love it for the brilliantly portrayed small town life in a Rhode Island harbour town. Updike studied art and you can tell – his descriptive passages are so rich and tangible that you can taste them!
I enjoyed reading about the potent creativity of 3 women who in their own way were artists of music, words and clay – and the effect of a stranger on their lives…be careful what you wish for!
Do you have a top 10 of books you would like to share? If so please do so in the comments box below!