October has always been my favourite month, and while there are many Halloween movies I love to revisit each year, I wanted to turn my attention to some darker books. Initially, I had set my sights on Frankenstein but after many failed attempts, I tossed it across the room and reached for Dracula. As you can see, it’s a pretty chunky book which made it a little daunting at first; however, as soon as I started the first page I was sucked into the story and within a few days I had entirely finished.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has quickly become my favourite book. I remember constantly seeing it recommended on blogs and in magazines but never troubling myself to search it on Amazon. It wasn’t until a few years back I picked it up as an impulse buy at my local bookstore. It was right at the checkout and feeling drawn to the cover I quickly purchased it before having time to give it a second thought. It sat on my bookshelf ever since til last fall, when I devoured it on a rainy day.
It’s the type of book you can read over and over, with its enticing magic affecting you more and more with every read. The type of book you never want to finish, as you will have to leave this wonderful escape Morgenstern has created and come crashing back to reality.
Just like many of the books I read, Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore had been lurking on my Amazon Wishlist for months before I received it for my birthday. Having already started the process of going all-natural with my toiletries and skincare for little over 6 months, I was seeking guidance in a big way and so this book couldn’t have fallen into my hands at a better time.
Adina talks her reader through every aspect of adopting the simple, all-natural body care routine in an easy, jargon-free way. When reading you honestly feel as though she’s sitting telling you this over a coffee. Through the 8 chapters, she educates you on not only how to identify problematic products, but also how to weed them out of your routine and find another little gem to slip in its place (-usually something you already have in your kitchen, I might add). She teaches you how and the importance of keeping food and product journals to notice triggers for your skin and body. The book also contains so many vital lessons and tips on how to read and decipher ingredient labels to identify those little nitty-gritty buggers you really don’t want going onto your skin, and then being absorbed by your body. Another aspect I really didn’t anticipate to read in the book was how your ancestry, environment and how your great-grandmother lived, can affect your own lifestyle and body (truly fascinating and educating chapter).
Adina also has created and provided her reader with a whole chapter based around becoming your own apothecary and making your own effective, and all-natural, products right out of your kitchen cupboards. I mean the power to clear, healthy skin is right at your fingertips and once you read Adina’s insights on how to do so you’ll never look back, trust me!
Overall this book has been an amazing read and became my best friend/bible/guru all in one. I love the entire approach of this book and the way it’s been written. The easy-to-read affect but also the important message that your body absorbs everything you put on it; so it’s important to pay attention to those ingredients and how your body reacts.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna had been on my Amazon wishlist for quite some time before I received it last Christmas. After months of hearing and reading such amazing reviews of the book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and so, as you could imagine, I was over the moon when I unwrapped it. I devoured it in the next three days, whilst staying at my grandparents for the holiday. I just couldn’t put it down, it was even better than I’d imagined.
Wrote in the first person by Elle Luna herself, she takes us through her own experience of wanting to pursue art and finding her own dream space to make it happen. She tells of the differences between ‘Should’ and ‘Must’, why these are different to one another and how to figure out which you are living to in your own life. ‘Should’ revolve’s around, well around things people feel they should be doing; ie. going to university or college to get qualifications. On the other hand, the things you feel compelled and drawn to are the ‘Musts’ in your life. ‘Must’ is the thing that is so rooted in your being that if you didn’t fulfil it, you would feel a little lost or out of sync with yourself. For me, this space is a big part of my ‘Must’. I feel the need to write. Whether it’s an account of a day out, thoughts on an issue or even just passing on the love of a book -I feel the constant need to write and produce something (even if that means no one is watching or listening on the other end).
If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it’s about time you gave it a shot, honour that calling in some way – today. If you feel a knot in your stomach because you can see the enormous distance between your dreams and your daily reality, do one thing to tighten your grip on what you want – today. If you’ve been peering down the road to must but can’t quite make the choice, dig a little deeper and find out what’s stopping you – today. Because there is a recurring choice in life and it occurs at the intersection of two roads. We arrive at this place again and again.
Elle uses not only her own experiences within the book but also others stories of their own crossroads and how they made those steps towards their own ‘Musts’. She uses quote, tips, illustrations, pictures and even activities throughout to help the reader come to the conclusion of their own ‘should & must’ and where to go from there. One of my favourite activities was the obituary one -sounds a little ominous, but bear with me- where she says to write what you want your obituary to say, how do you want to be remembered and what you did with your life. She then gets you to write your obituary following how your life is now, what are you doing and what it will inevitably say if you were to follow your ‘should’. The difference is often startling and a real eye-opener when you compare and contrast.
From my own experience and the profound effect the book has had on me, I feel confident in my recommendation of this book to everyone -I quite literally want to talk about the book to everyone I see, much to their disappointment of my choice of conversation. The book as a whole has reiterated my passions and what I want to be doing with my life, regardless of what I ‘should’ be doing and what is expected from me, from general society. It’s encouraged me to follow my heart and give it my all.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive -Howard Thurman, philosopher
Grace: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington
I have wanted to have a flip through this book for quite some time, but it has always struck me as maybe a ‘cult’ book, that others have clammed together and hyped about more than what it’s actually worth. It took me awhile to get into but once I had I realised it is actually pretty great book and actually resonates so much with me and my introverted thoughts.
I remember Joanne Harris once saying “some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up heart and soul.” This book relates to those words so well and was exactly what it did to me. I remember it being on my suggested list on Amazon and reading such great reviews, but at that time there was other books I was absolutely craving to get my hands on, so I didn’t purchase it. A few months after that I got a sample chapter off the iBooks app and was gripped to it, though still, there were other books. It weren’t until our trip to Whitstable with my pops that I finally decided to get it. I’d finally decided on four books and was heading for the cashier when I noticed it. Without thinking I grabbed it, and swapped it with one of my books I was already holding. Having now read it, I am so glad I saw it and had that sudden impulse. By the following night I had devoured it, cover to cover.
Favourite quote: “There are five people you meet in heaven,” the Blue Man suddenly said. “Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on Earth.”
Today’s world book day. It’s the day that all bookworms rejoice in celebrating the magical world of books, in which we reside. The day we can’t wait to come around in hope of recruiting a friend or family member into our world of words.