Thursday, December 12, 2013

Walter Mason recommends his most inspiring books of the year

Walter writes: Books are always the perfect gift. Every year I decide on a particular title as my "Christmas book" and give away multiple copies. I am not going to let on what that title is for this year, for obvious reasons. But instead I want to list a few of the books that got me most inspired this year. I guarantee that any of these titles will change your life if you read them. So here they are, in no particular order. (Post-free details for ordering follow!)

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield - A tiny book that is filled with inspiration. Pressfield is the legendary author of The War of Art, and this little book is a kind of distillation of his philosophy for creative people: just do the work, and stop giving yourself excuses. Exactly the kind of kick up the pants we sometimes need.

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson - The delightful, quirky and unstoppably curious Jon Ronson is one of my favourite writers, and this collection of his essays and journalism is so odd that it stands out as some of the most fascinating reading of this, or any other, year. If you haven't discovered Ronson yet, this book is the perfect introduction.

Queen Lucia by E F Benson - Please indulge me. I know it's a bit cheeky to recommend an Edwardian comic novel on a list of "must reads" but I pick this book up every year (read my essay on Benson and why he is a genius here) and this year it delighted me so, so much that I  thought I might never have to read another novel again. He reminds me why I want to be a writer.

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin - This is the one I recommend in all my classes and workshops. Godin is a received genius, and this book really turns the attention to the very real creativity of everyday lives. Godin says that it's all about "making art." Do what you want to do, what you need to do. Whatever it is, the important thing is that you do it, not talk about it. A brilliant read.

Mary-Lou Stephens
Sex, Drugs and Meditation by Mary-Lou Stephens - Perfection. I stumbled upon this book quite by accident and then, by some kind of psychic miracle, was put in contact with the author. Mary-Lou's account of fame, drug addiction and recovery through meditation is one of the best memoirs I have read in years. Humble, witty and so very, very true. All I wanted was for this book never to end.

The Secret of Life Wellness by Inna Segal - A reviewer described me this year as "a man in poor health," an assumption made from reading my new book, Destination Cambodia. This shocked me rather, as I see myself as someone in rude good health. But then I picked up Inna Segal's fascinating new book and realised that I needed to take my health, and my body, much more seriously. If 2014 is your year of getting fit, this book makes the perfect theoretical start. So fascinating. It really is about how to bring your soul into alignment with your body.

Heaven on Earth by my Universal Heart Bookclub co-host Stephanie Dowrick - Do you want to bring more reflection, more quiet and more prayer into your life? Stephanie's new book is an excellent place to start. I have picked this book up every day since I received it and it will serve anybody as a continual aid to, and inspiration for, prayer. I especially appreciate the excellent practical sections on how to cultivate a prayer life and just why we should be praying more. An inspired and inspiring book. You can view my recent interview with Stephanie about this book via this LINK. (SD: And you can view my interview with Walter about his wonderful Destination Cambodia at this LINK! I am definitely putting Walter's book in several lucky people's Christmas stockings.)

POST-FREE Book BUYING? You can buy any of these books - or any others - and also support the Universal Heart Bookclub via THIS LINK. It takes you first to Stephanie's books and you can then type in any title (or author's name) you are seeking. We also welcome your comments!

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