My Favourite Books

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Aug 09, 2021

 

I read a lot, for pleasure and for my business. I love reading, I always have. Book Clubs excite me, and I love connecting with others and sharing insights and takeaways from different books. 

People often ask me what I’m reading at the moment, my Kindle - alas, yes moving every 2 years has meant a Kindle is far more practical than physical books, and I’ve lived in locations where buying English language books wasn’t simple - has a huge variety of books on it. 

I also share my Kindle account with my mum, so we often spend time chatting about the books we are reading, especially at the moment. When dad has chemo, she is not allowed in the hospital due to COVID so she sits in the car and waits for him, sometimes a couple of hours and sometimes a whole day. Chatting about books with her is a way I can support her, even though I can’t physically be there.

I was asked again yesterday, what are you reading? So I thought I would be brave and share some of my favourite books with you. I say brave, because enjoying books is a very personal thing and many times a book speaks to a situation or a specific experience. So I ask you to be kind, please don’t judge me, but hopefully something in my reading list inspires you :-)

Lucinda Riley - Seven Sister Series 

I absolutely love historical fiction as a genre, and Lucinda Riley was one of my favourite authors. I was saddened to learn she died recently, and not only because there is an 8th book to come in the series. If you haven’t heard of the Seven Sisters series, each book delves into the life of one adopted sister. It ties her life to something of historical significance, such as the Pearl Sister which has a connection to Australian Aboriginal Art; or the Missing Sister which has a connection to the founders of the IRA. Each book stands alone, but as a series it has mystery and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Lucinda Riley has a number of other books, they are all fabulous, one in particular I want to mention is The Love Letter. If you read it, send me a message and tell me who you think it might be… mum and I have different theories at the moment!

Isabel Allende - A Long Pearl of the Sea

Again, historical fiction, set in the Spanish Civil War, I knew a little about this period but I love the depiction and the characters of this story. 

Tara Mohr - Playing Big

Do you feel like you could do more? Do you wish you could chase your dreams? Do you wish you could make a positive difference? This is a must read, it’s written for women just like you!

Mariam Navaid Ottimofiore - This Messy Mobile Life

Living a life abroad is messy, you celebrate all sorts of customs and traditions. For many you’re blending cultures within your family at the same time. Mariam provides expert advice and research to support your family to make sense of the mess.

Kirstin Hannah - Four Winds

I love all of Kirsten Hannah’s books, and again they are all historical fiction. The Four Winds is an incredible story of heroism during the Great Depression in America. I love the central character, and her unwillingness to accept charity, to never give up. 

Lisa See - The Island Of Sea Women

Lisa See is an amazing writer, I feel transported into the world of every book she writes. This is set on the Korean Island of Jeju, and it is about the lives of strong, Korean women and their remarkable bond of friendship.

Hannah Kent - Burial Rites

Based on a true story, this book is so moving. Recommended by the book club I was in while living in Chongqing I wasn’t sure when I read the ‘cover’ but I did not regret reading this book. How can a woman facing such a future have any hope?

Helen Bryant - The Sisterhood

A bit of history, a bit of a thriller. I loved this book and it questions so many of the assumptions we have made about the Church. It moves back and forth in time which adds to the interest.

Oprah - The Path Made Clear

I can’t remember how I came across this book, but I loved reading it. I actually went and borrowed it from the library once finished because this one is better in hard copy. If you’re searching for direction, I recommend reading this book.

Sarah McKay - Demystifying the Female Brain

I still dip in and out of this one, I find it absolutely fascinating. Written from a neuroscience perspective, but with everyday language that makes sense, it takes you a chronological tour across the lifespan to explore how our minds and brains are shaped and sculpted by our genes and hormones, our life experiences, society and culture, and our thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing

Written almost poetically, this is a stunning story set in the late 1960s. A story of a tough life, of hardship, of courage.

Geraldine Brooks - A Year of Wonders

Another favourite author, I love all of her books! This one is particularly interesting given the pandemic, it is inspired by a true story of a village infected with the plague in 1666. Struggling for survival turns out to be a year of wonders.

Anita Diamant - The Red Tent

An interpretation of the biblical story of Dinah, I had to skim read some of the gorey details, but fascinating insight and a really interesting take on feminism.

Amor Towles - A Gentleman In Moscow

The story of Count Alexander who is placed under house arrest in a hotel, the story follows 30 years of his life in this limbo. I loved it so much I read his first book Rules of Civility, again brilliantly written but Moscow was my favourite.

David Pollock & Ruth Van Reken - Third Culture Kids

It goes without say, if you are raising your kids abroad, this is a must read!

Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance

I found this so confronting, having spent so long living in India and loving the country and its people so much. I’m still not sure if I love this book or not, but it's a must read.

Tarquin Hall - The Vish Puri Series

I got to know Tarquin while living in Delhi, after I had read all of his books. I was starstruck, I love the Vish Puri Series so much. Tarquin has a brilliant insight into modern Delhi/Indian culture and I literally felt like I was walking through Khan Market while reading. A bit of humour, a bit of thriller, a must read!

Jenny Colgan - Little Beach Street Bakery

When I need to completely escape with something a bit lighter, this series of books has been perfect. I can get lost in the descriptions of bread making!

Bill Clinton & James Patterson - The President’s Daughter

I was intrigued by their first collaboration,The President Is Missing, and read it without expecting a lot. I was surprised that I really enjoyed it, so when this one was released I was straight into it. This is my current read so I can’t share a lot, but so far I literally can’t put it down.

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