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The Start of My 2016 Book List

I’ve never been much of a reader, but even by my standards, I’m appalled at the lack of books I read in 2015, especially when I compare it to the number of films I watched! Partly thanks to the increasing pile of un-read books I have, and also (more importantly) to my desire to increase my learning and development, I’ve decided to share with you my 2016 book list, in the hope that a) it will make me read them, b) I’ll learn something from them, c) I’ll enjoy them and d)…I can share my thoughts about them with you!

“Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can.” -William Feather


Non-fiction, Self-learning, self-development and self-help books have all been things that I’ve shied away from in the past. I’ve always thought, ‘Why do I need to learn more? I’ve been to school, finished university and now in the world of work, I don’t need it’. But as I’ve written before in previous posts, I’ve felt quite lost in the past and I realised that this feeling was down to me not learning and not keeping my mind active.

What helped me to realise my yearning for learning was the fact that Peter has always had an insatiable taste for self-development, ever since we started going-out, and literally devours factual book after factual book. The topics vary from learning about conflict and wars, to how to have a 4-hour Work Week. I used to think his obsession for learning and self-help books was a little odd and hoped he’d snap out of it. Suffice to say, he didn’t. But I’m glad he didn’t, as these books have truly helped him develop into the person he is today, and.. well, I want some of that magic!

As you’d imagine, Peter knows me very well – he knows what I value in life, what makes me smile, what makes me sad and what I might like to try. So for Christmas, amongst other things, he bought me a collection of books, all aimed to target something that he know’s has previously bothered me or made me tick. And so, to kick-start my 2016 Book List here’s what I’ll be reading over the next couple of months, including a couple of non-Christmas present books too – after all, a book isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life!

Seneca – ‘On the Shortness of Life. Life is Long if You Know How To Use It’


The thing that scares me most, more than anything else in the world, is the fear of dying and losing loved ones because ultimately our time in this world is short. If I’m not careful and allow myself to entertain the thought of ‘death’, it slowly spirals out of control and tears me apart. Which is why I think Peter bought me ‘On the Shortness of Life‘, by Seneca (a Roman Stoic Philosopher) which from the title, I’m guessing aims to get the message across that life is short, but if you harness it in the right way, you’ll have a long and beautiful life.

Alain De Botton – ‘The News. A Users Manual’


Something that really riles me up and has a massive impact on my mood is the news. I used to have the BBC News app on my iPod and also read the Metro paper on my daily commute, but soon realised that the constant bleeting from depressing news alerts and the rather awful paper headlines soon put me in a down-beat mood. I now limit myself on how often I read the news and will tend only look at Google News. But it still effects me. Peter notices this more than most people and came across this book, by one of his favourite authors, Alain De Botton. It wasn’t a surprise that this was a Christmas present as he had mentioned it to me a couple of times before. Alain De Botton explores in The News, why as a species we’re obsessed with news, the affect it has on our health and the precautions we should take when consuming it.

Anne Karpf – ‘How to Age’


I’m not that fussed about ageing, it doesn’t affect me as much as death, but it still highlights the importance of the shortness of life. This book is part of a collection made by ‘The School of Life’, whose tag line is ‘Developing Emotional Intelligence’. ‘How to Age‘ explores our relationship with ageing, why we try to hide it and also explores ways in which we should instead embrace it. I must admit, I have started this book, but stopped reading it in the run up to Christmas, so I’d like to finish it early this year.

Ben Fogle – ‘Labrador’


A dog is what I’d like. Specifically a Labrador. Unfortunately though, we can’t have a dog yet as our flat doesn’t allow pets, also… I’m not sure how we’d fit one into our lives just yet. So instead, Peter bought me the next best thing which also includes the very lovely Ben Fogle! Ben looks into where the breed originated from, the popularity of the Labrador and shares his own experiences with Inca, his Lab who joined him on Castaway. I started this book a couple of days after Christmas and I have to say, it’s a lovely easy read and surprisingly, very interesting, funny and heartwarming.

Tim Parks – Italian Ways


Italian Ways is one from my un-read / un-finished bookshelf, which I very much want to keep my teeth in. I’ve read a bit of this book which is just so lovely, especially after our own Italian adventure last October (which.. I will continue to write about once the hubbub of New Year has passed!). It’s perfect for pretending I’m back in Italy, on my commute!

Marina Keegan – ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’


This is another from my un-finished bookshelf, and one I haven’t touched for probably a year or so. I bought it because I was captured by the incredibly sad story of the Author but also by the inspiring graduation essay she wrote. Marina really was a talented writer and ‘The Opposite of Loneliness‘ is a strong reminder that life is short.


I’d absolutely love to know what’s on your 2016 book list – feel free to share below :)

“A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation… A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.”
Henry Miller, The Books in My Life