Happy March! Not only is it my birthday month, we’re kicking it off with the wonderful World Book Day.
I wish it was a national custom to dress up like your favourite book character – just like at school, but even the adults have to do it at workplaces across the UK. I remember being excited every time it rolled around when I was at school, and I even remember dressing up for charity in Sixth Form (I went as Hermione Granger, and secretly I still wish I was Emma Watson…)
This year, I’ve decided to write about the books that inspire me. You must have one or two in your own life – let me know in the comments – you know, the kind of book that you feel so contented reading, the type that leaves you at a loss when you turn the last page.
My list starts in my childhood and leads right up to the present, and you’ll see how I’ve slowly transitioned away from fictional dreamscapes to non-fiction that are helping me to realise my own dreams!
The Childhood Classic: The BFG
There are numerous books from my childhood that are dear to me, but The BFG is my all-time favourite. The sweet story of little Sophie meeting a big friendly giant and learning not to judge a book by its cover is so important, like many of the morals in Roald Dahl books. That and the funny spoonerisms he makes – gotta look in all the “crooks and nannies” – make it a real classic, and something I’m already looking forward to reading to my future child(ren).
The Coming-of-age Tale: Burning City
I was an avid reader growing up, and loved all the series most teenagers did: Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider, His Dark Materials, Noughts & Crosses… But in amongst all of these is the little-known Burning City.
Written by father and son duo, Ariel and Joaquin Dorfman, it stars angst-fuelled Heller, a courier cyclist whose world begins to melt in the sweltering New York summer. I initially borrowed the book from the library, reading through it quickly and hating it the whole time. I remember being glad to finish it, taking it back, and then a week later craving to read it all over again.
The book holds a lot of my own emotions within it, despite not even relating slightly to the main character and his foray into love, sex, politics, the Tour de France. Since first discovering it, I’ve made a point of reading it once a year, every year.
The Blogging Bible: The Million Dollar Blog
While I don’t often break the fourth wall of blogging, I am just as passionate about the general world of blogging as much as I am about leading an ethical lifestyle. Gifted to me just this Christmas was The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. Normally, I don’t think books about digital business are the way to go – technology changes far too quickly – but Natasha has distilled exactly what makes a blog tick, how to approach blogging in the best way possible, and has spoken to some of the top bloggers in a range of fields too.
If you’re looking to get into blogging, or want to learn how to improve, I can’t recommend this book highly enough!
The Ethical Inspiration: Zero Waste Home
There are a few great ethical lifestyle books out there, but one that really sticks with me is Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home. The originator of the concept, Bea details how she and her family experimented with all means possible to reduce their impact, resulting in just one kilner jar’s worth of waste for one whole year.
This book is less of a linear read, and more of a guide. I still flick to it to find specific answers to questions such as, what can I do about ear buds? or, is there a way to make my own makeup? (the answer is always yes – Bea’s done pretty much everything!)
The Style Guide: The Curated Closet
As my dreams of a capsule wardrobe continue, I’m using The Curated Closet as my inspiration. Asking questions that go beyond a Cosmo fashion quiz, and instead ask you to understand your emotional connection with clothing, it’s forming the basis of my approach to ethical fashion moving forward.
The Current Read: A Life Less Throwaway
Finally, the latest book on my shelf is A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button. Tara is the founder of Buy My Once, an online shop that seeks out high quality, long-lasting items that you will truly only need to buy once. The beauty of her book is that she explains how many of today’s items are designed to fail, or are regularly updated to increase consumption and therefore profits. It’s one of the most unethical ways of working, yet it is a commonly-accepted business strategy. I’m only a few hundred pages in so far, but it’s a must-read if you’re looking to reduce your consumption and live more ethically.
Photo credit: Annie Spratt