Aspirational reading

The Honest ToddlerAspirational books – they tempt me with a promise of perfection.  It used to be parenting books. I took home Ian Grant’s Growing Great Boys and Growing Great Girls. I tried to organise family meetings to talk through our “issues” but like most attempts I had at creating the perfect family, they failed. I should have just read The Honest Toddler : a child’s guide to parenting, it would probably have been just as effective.

The winner of the aspirational titles of all time must be the diet books.  They march out the library doors promising not only weight loss but also complete overhaul of our fat miserable lives…

Loving yourself to great health : thoughts & food : the ultimate dietLoving Yourself to Great Health by the Self Help guru Louise Hay is perhaps the book that promises the most – health, happiness, and spiritual awakening. Greedy girl’s diet second helpings : fab food fast for a slim life promises that healthy food can be fun, and interestingly has a section on guilt free Junk Food!

Scandinavian ModernInterior Design and Cooking are the most aspirational books I flick through these days.  Perfect for the coffee table – and little else – they leave me wanting a house that is a calm oasis of neutral/Scandinavian/eco-friendly/retro cool.

I am however beginning to give up on cooking books as I don’t have the stomach for cashew nut cream or coconut oil, and the word Paleo brings me out in a rash.

I can’t help but love these books.  I take them home for inspiration and ideas along with hope of that magic elixir that will make everything perfect.  For that brief window when I read and wonder, I am transported to the perfect me, the perfect family with the perfect house, and – like reading the much maligned Mills and Boon-  they are time away from the realities of life, and create the opportunity to dream.

Geraldine Brooks in Christchurch on 18 November – Toppling the hero…

Make sure not to miss this on Wednesday 18 November at 7.30pm – WORD Christchurch and Bookenz, in association with Hachette NZ, are proud to present an evening with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Geraldine Brooks, in conversation with Morrin Rout.

Cover of The Secret ChordHuman nature being what it is, we place certain personalities on pedestals only to vilify them on later occasions, normally when they have no right of response as they have departed the earthly world. Very rarely do we internalise why this situation arises, but usually the social barometer (public opinion) swings from left to right with alarming rapidity and then finally settles down somewhere in the ‘middle’ when a humane account i.e. their follies and their strengths make them more human.

Geraldine Brooks’ latest novel The Secret Chord based on the life of King David set 1000 BCE is a work of fiction, but reading it we have access to a creditably flawed and complex individual. His childhood is harsh but he survives it with an arrogance and self-belief system that is truly amazing. He is a tyrant and murderous despot who, having vast armies at his disposal, eventually becomes King.  He is loved as a figurehead by his subjects and his soldiers; yet his wives have reason to both love and fear him, and his children plot against him and betray him in their adulthood.

It’s a fantastic, hugely enjoyable epic story and lovers of historical fiction will probably race to get their copies.

Other works by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks can be found on our library shelves and on the library eBook and eAudiobook platforms (including our latest downloadable eAudiobook platform BorrowBox).