Left to my own devices, I read for pleasure. For me, holidays mean reading!
So this introvert wishes you a very happy (reading) holiday!
If you need some recommendations to go with the mulled wine and mince pies, here are some of the books I've either found useful or enjoyed in 2015. I went through my Goodreads list and picked the (rare) ones with 5 stars.
You can also find more books for writers here.
The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. This book is my new bible for writing fiction. It makes sense of many of so many story concepts and has enabled me to move into plotting in a way that works for me.
I also interviewed Shawn on the podcast about some of the aspects of story earlier this year.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. “Live a life driven more by curiosity than fear … Measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures … Enjoying your work with all your heart is the only truly subversive position left to take! … Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration IS the process.” And much more wisdom for all creatives.
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis. If you watch the news, you'd think the world is in a terrible way. But if you curate what goes into your brain, you will find a very different, exciting world beyond the headlines. Read this book for start, then the follow-up Bold. Then subscribe to Peter's Abundance Insider, which blows my mind every week. You can also listen to his Exponential Technologies podcast, which is fantastic. And if you need more convincing about the exciting world we live in, then read Wired Magazine instead of watching the news.
The Write Attitude by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. “The best way to get noticed is by publishing enough that readers can binge for a weekend … If writing is your dream, learn how to change your habits …We're working day in and day out to leave a body of work behind.” And much more on the mindset of being a writer for the long-term. Kris also has a fantastic blog and her Thursday Business Musings posts are a must read. She also runs courses along with Dean Wesley Smith at WMG Publishing. I've done several of these courses now and continue to re-enroll in order to learn the craft from two incredible, professional writers.
Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth by James Altucher. I'm pretty obsessive about multiple streams of income and I love business books that encourage entrepreneurial ideas. This book is useful if you're in a job and are thinking about the possibilities, or if you're already an entrepreneur but you're always willing to learn. I have a few pages of notes and a whole lot of ideas based on this book … always a good sign!
Motivation for Creative People by Mark McGuinness. Writing is complicated. We want to write so much, so why do we procrastinate when it comes to getting the words on the page? How do we keep going when things are tough (and when aren't they??!). This book will help you understand your own motivations for writing and how your values can help you shape the life you choose to live. I also did a podcast interview with Mark about the book here.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Tales from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. If you're into graveyards, you're taphophile like me! And if you don't think I'm a freak right now, then you'll enjoy this book. Yes, it's a funny book on death rituals and packed with interesting tidbits. I laughed a lot as well as highlighted and wrote notes for my own story ideas. If you enjoy this, then you might enjoy my crime thriller, Desecration, which is on the theme of the physical body after death as well as a murder mystery.
The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders by Shepherd and Gibson. This book has been life-changing for the IBS sufferer in my family, and therefore, for me too. We went through the recommendations and ended up cutting out onions and garlic. It's like a miracle cure! If you have IBS symptoms/gut pain, then check out this book. I'm an evangelist for it because it's made such a huge difference to our daily lives.
I read a lot of fiction, usually two or three books per week as I read for at least an hour every night. I've read a lot of good ones but these are the books that have been the most memorable this year. The first 3 recommendations are for series that I immediately devoured.
Nexus by Ramez Naam. Then you'll want to read Crux and Apex to complete the trilogy of techno-thrillers. Set in a near future where drugs mean that the human brain can be hacked and inter-linked, the books contain fascinating neuroscience spun into a fast-paced adventure around the globe.
Long Way Down and the rest of the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer. Set in Las Vegas, these books follow Daniel Faust, a hustler and a sorcerer, and his friends as they try to save the world from the latest occult threat. Dark fantasy thrillers with great characters, including the awesome Caitlin, who kicks some serious ass.
Predator One – Jonathan Maberry. The Joe Ledger series is one of my favorites and I devour the full-length books and short stories as soon as they are out. They are action-adventure thrillers + science + hint of the supernatural + mythology. Awesome!
The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling. I was never a Harry Potter fan but I am a huge fan of Rowling's adult books. Her Cormoran Strike series is now on my pre-order list, and this book really thrilled me with its dark portrayal of British village life. It's political, it's savage and full of characters. If you saw the TV adaptation, this is definitely worth reading because she takes it a lot further than they decided to show on-screen.
You can probably tell a lot about the books I write by the books I read 🙂 So if you want to try any of my books, fiction or non-fiction, you can find them all here.