I read a lot of books.
I also spend a lot of time on Instagram, but that doesn't sound nearly as impressive.
So back to the books. I have a few commandments when it comes to my reading. They are as follows:
1. There's nothing worse than a book snob who thinks you should just re-read Jane Eyre until you die.
2. Do not persevere with a book if you are more than a third of the way in and you're still not enjoying it. Life is too short and there are just, simply, too many books to read to waste on one that's a bit sh*t.
3. If you're stuck in a reading rut, the answer probably isn't Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible book. One of the best. But it's like going from no exercise to running a marathon. You're going to collapse in the middle of it and vow off running/reading forever. What you need is Gone Girl. Or Girl On The Train. Some popular fiction book with the word "girl" in the title. Or something by Liane Moriarty/Jane Harper/Sally Hepworth. Plot driven. Characters you recognise. Something you couldn't put down even if you tried.
For years on Mamamia Out Loud, the podcast I co-host with Mia Freedman and Holly Wainwright that drops three times a week, as well as covering what women are talking about, we've been offering recommendations. Sometimes they're television shows or products or podcasts. But my very favourite recommendations are books.
Listen to us discuss the very best television shows of 2020. Post continues below.
A good book can change how you think. It's an experience. It's a gift. It's also a fair bit of effort to pick up a book, so no one wants to spend $29.95 and then discover the pages are boring.
So here is a list of my top picks of all time.
1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I cannot explain what this book did to me. It is a million pages long and for about a month I felt like I was living this whole other life. I never knew where it was going and by the end, I was emotionally destroyed which sounds hyperbolic but somehow it's not. I've not known anyone to read this book and not say it's one of the best books they've ever read. It affects you for months and even years afterwards. An absolute masterpiece.
2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
The Bronze Horseman is widely regarded as one of the most epic love stories ever written - a title which it more than deserves. But it's far more than a love story. Set in the Soviet Union, the story unfolds alongside World War II.
I’m obsessed with history and even I’m a little fatigued by wartime narratives. Often, they’re hard work and dense and I read them telling myself ‘it’s good for you’.