I have been an avid reader all my life. Like my dad, who died when I was a child, I am an eternal student who always needs to know more. As a lawyer, I still can’t read a case without making sure I understand the judgment, and I can’t read a word that I don’t know the meaning of in a book without looking it up in a dictionary, which I keep beside my bed. I was the kid in class with my hand up all the time, wanting to ask another question!
Books I have enjoyed are:
Eat, Pray, Love – by Elizabeth Gilbert. Humorous and well-written with a philosophical undertone.
One Thousand Acres – Jane Smiley. The story of an American family torn apart by a father’s pride.
To Kill a Mockingbird – by Harper Lee. A tale of prejudice in the deep South of America in the 1930’s. A black man is accused of rape, and goes on trial. One lawyer fights his corner against a backdrop of racial hatred and injustice.
I don’t know how she does it – by Allison Pearson. A well-written and humorous tale of one woman’s struggle with the work-life balance.
The Pursuit of Happiness – Douglas Kennedy
Psychosis Through My Eyes – Catherine Amey. This (non-fiction) book gives the reader an interesting lay person’s insight into psychosis and how it feels to experience it.
With a Little Help From my Friends – Michelle Daly. The autobiography of a mother and carer who has dedicated her life to adopting and fostering children with learning difficulties. An amazing woman.
The Consolations of Philosophy – by Alain de Botton. This is a wonderful little book that I also keep by my bedside, under my alarm clock – it has been there for the past twelve years since it was published! It provides useful guidance on how to deal with everyday problems, with reference to well-known philosophers. My favourite is the chapter on overcoming difficulties. Nietzsche apparently said that difficulties in life are in fact the key to fulfilment and that problems are to be welcomed, in that the deeper the pain you have experienced, the greater your capacity for happiness. It’s how you meet those difficulties and deal with them that can be the difference between a painful and a fulfilled life. It’s a philosophy that has brought me great comfort, and I really believe it’s true!
Swimming Upstream – by Ruth Mancini. (Yes, that’s me!). Swimming Upstream is the story of a young woman, Lizzie, who is unhappy with her life but doesn’t know why or what she needs to do to change it. Then she steps out in front of an oncoming car which sets of a chain of events that will change her life for ever… Swimming Upstream has been described as “thought-provoking” and “thinking women’s chick lit” by fellow author and journalist, Catherine Amey. It’s the sort of book you could read in one hit or on holiday, yet it has some depth. You can find out more or read a sample chapter on this website.
Swimming Upstream is my first novel, and it is now published and available on Kindle and in paperback at Amazon. The link is on this page.