This year, my top ten list of fabulous reads have sweet FA to do with business, branding or productivity. In fact, half are fiction and poetry. Of the five non-fiction, two are memoirs/life writing. I’ve read like a mofo this year, for a change – previous year lists are below – in fact, I reached a total of 77 books. That doesn’t count for some titles I speed read at the Gold Coast airport (one of my party tricks is speed reading then being tested on my comprehension. I’m fun like that) and I haven’t included another 40+ books on writing, messaging and communications as research for my new book that will hopefully be ready for launch in March next year. This top ten list isn’t necessarily ‘new’ books but all have been like a hug or have given me a splash of inspiration and motivation as I’ve been head down bum up writing my own book (s). I wanted, nay craved, good prose. This isn’t to say that I don’t dig on business or non-fiction books. In fact I have some ready for my summer reading written by phenomenal humans (hello Belle, Tanya and Maree) that I’ll be taking to the beach very, very shortly.

So – bottom line, none of these will grow your brand or your business, but they will improve your life. No doubt about it. 

Here we go, with links (no affiliate codes because couldn’t be arsed), in no particular order:

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

There are four novels in this series, but I’ve only linked the first, My Brilliant Friend. Get the whole quartet while you’re at it, as well as some of her other works. Caveat – some people get a bit cranky with the syntax in these books (translated from Italian) but I actually like it, the turns of phrase remind me of my family. Also – it’s worth watching the SBS series of My Brilliant Friend, but only after you’ve read the books, of course!

Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May 

A book that tells me to go take a nap? I’m in! In all seriousness, I really loved this book. I read it while standing in the pool on a stinking hot late summer day, the opposite of bunkering down in a sauna surrounded by snow and ice, and I loved the anti-hustle message. Faux and toxic positivity makes my hackles rise like little else so I really enjoyed this book, which also had some interesting insights into insomnia. 

Love Objects by Emily Maguire

I thought this was an incredible read, respectful, provocative, sad, distressing, love-filled. It’s about the connection between an aunt and her niece, what happens when those we look up to prove to be (horribly) human. Gah, so good! 

The Burning Island by Jack Serong

Like a smidge of creepy AF with your history? I loved this novel, the description of the Rocks at settlement, the islands off Tassie, the characters, the plot line. I’m now in the process of devouring Jack Serong’s backlist and still get the heebie jeebies thinking about this novel and am reconsidering a solo hike on the Prom this coming summer for that very reason! 

This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson 

Sarah Wilson can write. Full stop. Buy this book. Buy it for any teenagers in your life. Buy it, read a line, stare off into space at the craft, the strength, the active hope. Sarah’s premise is the climate crisis will be addressed by people falling (back) in love with nature and fighting to protect it. 

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivener 

This is a new book, launched in May this year (2022) which I saw all over Instagram. It’s pitched as a mystery/thriller set in a small Aussie country town. As someone who came of age in such a setting I couldn’t resist, and this is one of those novels that matches all the hype. 

If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Black

This book caught my eye at the bookshop, and it’s not usually the kind I’d pick up, but I have writers in my client list who are in the space of female empowerment, particularly in midlife, and I thought this could be a good resource for them. As I flicked through, I saw the use of Celtic myths and legends as a device to pull the story along, and any hint of Outlander? You had me at ‘what’s under the kilt?’ I’m not doing it justice here, but it’s a wonderful call to arms. 

The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton 

Tim Winton could write a shopping list and I’d wax lyrical over it, but this collection of musings is just as sublime as everything else he knocks together. Soul food. Powerful. Impactful. Thought-provoking. Despairing. Uplifting. 

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman 

It’s a bit weird me including this. It’s a graphic novel which I’m actually not that big a fan of as a medium. There, I said it. But, but, but… this is beautiful. The netflix series is just as good. It’ll make you feel better about the world. 

Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen

If this title feels familiar it’s because it’s won every award there is to win, and rightly so. It’s a poetry collection that is unflinching, infuriating, confronting, playful and ultimately hopeful. 

OK, so that’s my top ten for 2022 but I’m a generous witch, so here’s some more titles for you:

Anything Eliza Henry-Jones. I went to an all-day writing workshop with Eliza about writing grief, loss and trauma and she is clever, funny and her fiction writing? Bee’s freakin’ knees.  

My Blue is Not Your Blue by Aspen Matis – I shared Aspen’s hiking memoir, A Girl in the Woods, in my top ten list a couple of years ago, and this tells the story of what next. Spoiler alert – not the happy ending she deserved. 

Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker is a YA dystopian clever AF retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Loved it!

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami is a memoir and a musing about the link between writing and training for a NY marathon. Here’s a snapshot of his routine: ‘When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometres or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation.’ In other news, I’m now in the market for a sister wife… 

And that shall probably do! If this list has wet your whistle and you want more, more, HOLLY GIVE ME MORE, here’s my 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019,  2020 and 2021 best reads lists. That’s seven years of reading, can you believe it? Yet I’m still one earthquake away from being trampled under my to-be-read pile.

Tell me, what’s been your favourite read(s) this year?

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