In Spring I promised myself: less technology, more books. I love reading, I can inhale words like a hungry caterpillar and delightedly find myself on adventures conjured up by creative minds with glee. So I cancelled my Netflix membership and browsed my rolling list of book recommendations to indulge myself with a Book Depository book-buying spree. Et voila: here’s my summer 2021 ‘best of’ reading list:
Give me a daughter of Poseidon, one of the most beautiful nymphs in the sea, turn her into a witch on a deserted island and have her make love with the hottest of Greek Gods and turn men into pigs and you have got my heart. I feel such an affinity with this story, and beyond that, the emphatically magical storytelling of Madeleine Miller. I ended up thinking in her poetic prose for days after the book ended and I just wanted more. One of my intentions of this summer of reading was to find writers who really know how to use words to evoke depth and emotion so I may learn from them and anything Madeleine Miller delivers.
So much so I also read this one by her which is equally as mesmerising and fascinating because in this retold story Achilles is gay (and not a rapist of women) and in love with a very humble, quiet, lowly man expanding my horizons of all the ways that love can be experienced, felt and seen. All the ancient mythical innuendos captivate my imagination.
As a very European white woman, I can’t imagine what it might feel like to be judged by the colour of my skin the way that many people are, so when The Vanishing Half was recommended to me I devoured it. A fictional story about two twins, black, who choose different life paths and how the colour of their skin and life choices affect their overall happiness and experiences leaving me with a fascination with how we all sometimes try to be someone or something we are not. And how sometimes we gain something from it, and sometimes we lose ourselves in this effort to reinvent ourselves.
I can’t stop thinking about this book… It’s an autobiography but challenges and breaks all writing rules and at times touches on topics that are really hard to read: rape, child abuse, drug addiction, but with the fluid finesse on someone who has felt deeply and reflected on the gifts of these hardships with ingenuity. If you want to expand your ability to feel big hard and beautiful feelings and read unconventional hard-hitting stunning writing, you need to read this book. I loved it. I am going to read it again. Soon.
Something that people are often surprised by is the fact that I love science fiction. Essentially my dream life is a science fiction period drama. Leave The World Behind is another book addressing modern topics: race, emotion, class, belief systems wrapped up in a science fiction plot that is utterly compelling. Nothing actually happens in the book except for a strange loud noise and some human speculation but I was terrified (in a really satisfying way) about 99% of the time.
Ursula Le Guin is the most fascinating author… the way her imagination and brain works completely fascinates me and this story is the best blend of science fiction, romance, psychology and post-apocalyptic possibilities I’ve ever read. Essentially it’s about a man who changes the world when he dreams and his psychologist, who tries to use his clients power for seeming good but in effect evil. I don’t want to divulge too much but rcommend it if you enjoy intricate, mind-bending, dream-based literature.
While I don’t have ‘getting pregnant’ forecasted, I am wholly committed to overall health which includes hormonal and fertility. I want my body humming at its highest best capacity at all times and having dealt with some hormonal issues in the past I wanted to learn about what would be recommended to someone who was considering making a baby inside their body. Awakening Fertility is a beautifully put together book accessing and compiling ancient wisdom from across cultures to apply to our modern world. It’s easy to read and has just the right amount of depth with a nod towards psychology and spirituality and how our beliefs and emotions shape our health as much as foods and physical practices
I’m leaving the best to last… My friends started rolling their eyes every time I referenced Sand Talk as I did so so so often, so much so it even inspired this piece of poetry. It’s one of the most profound books I have ever read and when I say read, I mean read read… going over pages and paragraphs over and over again to melt them into my bones. Written by an Australian aboriginal university professor on how indigenous thinking can save the world he ushers ideas that I feel are keenly familiar but absolutely ambiguous in the modern world as I know it. I don’t want to give you any expectations because I want it to grasp you by the heart the way it did me and show you another way of living: the new way. Also, the writing style is non-linear which make my brain feel like “finally!, you write/speak in the way I think/feel!!!’ — this book should be required reading for every human being. Please, read it. And then let’s talk about it and apply it.
Currently in the middle of:
- The Boudica Series (on audible)
On my bookshelf to read next:
- Green Pharmacy
- This Is How It Always Is
- Psychological Astrology
- The Great Cosmic Mother
- The Language of Flowers
- Conversations on Love
I've got you!
Get my FREE 'your graceful daily routine' workshop with 10+ tools + resources to start redefining your life - plus bi-monthly inspiration in your inbox.
You're signing up to receive emails from Vienda Maria