In this post, I will share some of the non-fiction books that changed my life 📚
Now and again, I come across books that shift my way of thinking entirely. In this post, I will share some of the non-fiction books that changed my life.
If you’re a curious soul like me, and you have a soft spot for philosophy, then you’ve probably already heard about, listened to, and read some of Alan Watts’ work, if not all of it. But, if you haven’t, I would highly recommend doing so.
His way of thinking is fascinating, and I found it to be eye-opening on so many subjects. I, for one, struggle with the fear of not knowing what happens to us after we die, and Watts’ thoughts around this, in particular, helped calm me down a little. But all in all, Watts’s thoughts and writing helped me shift my perspective and look at things differently than I did beforehand. I recommend listening to them as audiobooks or just searching him up on YouTube.
I’ve written a post about this book and the diet culture that I didn’t know I was in a relationship with. You can read it here.
Megan’s book was a real eye-opener for me. I kind of knew that diet culture was all around, but I had no idea just how extreme it is or how much I’ve let it affect my life. This book made me realize just how hard I’ve been with myself and my body over the years.
This book made me look at food, advertisement, and exercise in a whole new way. It has given me a much more healthy relationship with food, a passion for body positivism, and I’m now the biggest @bodyposipanda fan!
I never thought about just how powerful it is to ask people for help. I’m one of those people who tried for way too long to do everything on my own because I was afraid that I would lose control of my creativity if I asked anyone else for help. Silly, right? I still struggle with that at times.
Palmer writes about how far you can come by just asking for help. By letting yourself be open, and to not be ashamed to ask if there’s something you need or want. It taught me the power of connection, especially when living a creative life.
Amanda Palmer has such a presence, and I got lost listening to her voice and her story. A fascinating read/listen!
I loved the message that Shonda Rhimes delivers in this book. I often find myself worried way too much about the “what if’s” of absolutely everything, and that can make me say no to opportunities, and then I end up regretting my decision to say no later on. Year of Yes made me realize just how powerful saying yes can be and how that can open unexpected doors that lead to places you couldn’t even imagine.
After reading this book, I’ve been more mindful about the responses I give to opportunities that present themselves to me. It was very inspiring and made me super motivated.
I just finished this book and I loved it so much! It had lots of great ideas and tips for any creative wanting to make their passion into a career, which is exactly what I’m trying to do at the moment (more on that in another post soon). I flew through this (listened to it on Libby) but I ended up ordering myself a copy so that I can go back to it later on in this process.
Cathy Heller had so much to share from her own experiences and also from the many people she’s had on her podcast, and it motivated and inspired me so much!
I definitely think that this is a good read for anyone who’s thinking about taking the leap of quitting that day job and go in pursuit of that career that you really want!
I’m so grateful that I randomly stumbled across this audiobook, and I will be reading it more than once. I will also start to listen to her podcast from now on to keep that inspiration and motivation up.
Sharing a little bit of what’s been going on and the road ahead✨
Let’s talk about the last year and a half. To say that it’s been a weird and challenging one would be an understatement.
The pandemic hit shortly after I found out that I was pregnant. By that time, I was already on sick leave from my job because I struggled with extreme nausea. I already felt slightly isolated at home, and then we really did become isolated. I felt very anxious about the fact that researchers had no idea how COVID-19 could affect pregnant women and their babies. So we were extra careful, and we limited the people we met down to almost zero. In a time where I could’ve needed my friends and family more than usual, I suddenly couldn’t see and hug them like I was used to. It wasn’t the kind of pregnancy I had hoped for. I tried to focus on the beautiful miracle of the whole thing but found myself struggling with staying positive in the middle of it all. I was so scared all the time. I was sick and lonely, but I was also very aware that I had it better than many other people in this world.
October came around, and little Noelle came into this world. Mikael could stay by my side through the whole ordeal (many other pregnant couples weren’t as lucky), and she was healthy and perfect. I wanted to share the joy with friends and family. We were lucky enough for the restrictions to have lifted a little bit by then so we could spend a little more time with family. That helped.
Christmas came, and it felt like I was on the right track to get back to my creative self, but then disaster struck. Our rescue dog became extremely jealous of the new addition to the family and tried to bite Noelle. After two episodes of obvious jealousy, it became clear that it wouldn’t work. It was so painful and sad. We had to say goodbye to a best friend, a member of the family. Luckily we had the option of him living with my ex and good friend, so we can still visit and see him. But not having him around was heartbreaking. When it came to creative projects, I had nothing to give.
2021 came around, and we found out that we had to move. The apartment we were renting had water coming up through the floorboards whenever it rained, and it would take quite some time to fix. We looked at new places in Oslo, but everything was so expensive, and we didn’t want to spend all of our income on rent. The family reached out to us and gave us the option to live with my mom while we saved up some money and figured things out. We were (and still are) very grateful for that! It meant coming back to my hometown, closer to both of our families. And if there’s one thing that’s become painfully clear throughout this pandemic, it’s how much I craved being closer to my roots and my family.
We ended up living with my mom for three months. It was challenging for someone like me who needs their space and quiet time. And it was challenging for Mikael to live with someone else’s family for so long. I totally get that. We craved a space of our own and time to ourselves. We now have that, and I will share more about that in a post soon!
But that’s not what I wanted to write about now. Instead, I wanted to share that the last six months have especially been really hard. I found myself in dark places of sadness and worry way too often, and I was slowly slipping into a bit of postpartum depression. More often than I wanted to admit, I found myself questioning all of my life decisions and beating myself up for not reaching all of my goals yet. There were a lot of tears, anger, and fights. I was not in a good place. We were not in a good place. The darkness was swallowing me, and the negative voices got so loud that I struggled to hear anything else.
But finally, after months of challenges and darkness, it feels like I’m slowly finding my way back to myself. It’s been hard, and I’m still working my way through a lot of stuff, but I’ve come to a place where I feel motivated to work creatively again.
I look forward to sharing more of what’s going on with you, lovelies! I’ve missed this! So, I’ve gone back to the writing board, and I’m making plans for lots of content. There will be some changes, and there will be testing of new things, so bear with me while I figure this thing out. It feels like I’m starting from scratch once again, but I’m excited about this journey!
Any and all feedback is more than welcome and appreciated.💛 If there’s something you’d like to see more of, or you have any suggestions for future posts and themes, just let me know.
Take my hand, and let’s wander into the unknown.✨ And to all of you who’ve been patiently waiting for me, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart❤️
It means so much more than I am able to put into words!
I read a digital edition of Sluts and Whores that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Urban fantasy, erotica
Publisher: Thurston Howl Publications
Originally published: January 27th, 2021
Pages: 208 (paperback)
Synopsis by the publisher:
A jealous girlfriend trips on acid; a traumatized mother attempts to masturbate; a spa worker is challenged to take control of her fate. A haunted jeep parks in front of student housing; a sex worker grows wings; and a hitchhiker is picked up by someone she’d never expect. SLUTS AND WHORES is a #OwnVoices short story collection. In C E Hoffman’s debut, one will find a pile of Pandora’s Boxes waiting to be opened. Exploring the humanity of sex workers (“whores”) and people who are proudly sexual (“sluts”), this collection questions stereotypes that are long out of date, merging horror with heartache, and magic with the mundane. Welcome to a world where anything can happen- and often does.
I want to start with an important note; this short story collection is not for everyone. It’s filled with sex, drugs, heartache, love, loss, and darkness. The title should already give you somewhat of an idea of that already. It’s not for the fainthearted, but for the readers who enjoy the theme of sex and darkness, I would highly recommend diving into Sluts and Whores!
I love steamy reads, and especially the writers that dare to push some boundaries with their stories. Hoffman does exactly that! I don’t often come across stories about sexuality with this kind of depth, fantasy, and mystery. And not only that, it is written in such a raw and beautiful way that I couldn’t help but being sucked into these stories and poems. I highlighted so many parts of this book and even though I don’t usually reread books that often, I will be reading this again in the not-so-distant future.
Sluts and Whores is a solid short story collection that surprised me in more ways than one! It’s filled with good representation and diversity which made it an even more enjoyable reading experience. I think every reader will take something different with them from each story. It’s high on emotions and even though some of these stories are surreal and incredibly dark, I think most readers would find a lot to relate to throughout this collection.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I picked this one up, but I was blown away by the strong voice and brilliant storytelling that Hoffman offers through these pages.
I’m so happy that I picked this book up! It took me on an adventure that was dark and different. It stirred up a lot of feelings and it made me reflect and wonder. I can’t wait to read more of Hoffman’s writing!
I dare you to give it a try!
Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it💛
My review of Prince of the Vampyres by Rohb Victory 📚
I read a digital edition of Prince of the Vampyres that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication date: June 4th, 2021
Synopsis by the publisher:
This work leans more towards science fiction than fantasy unlike many vampire books. Prince of the Vampyres tell the ‘true’ story of how the first vampire was created at the fringes of the Milky Way galaxy. It is a tale of a young boy’s fascination with a coven of vampires whom he secretly observes as they feed at night.
The creatures of the night feed on bovine herd animals, not humans. That is, until one fateful night one of them creeps into the walled enclave the boy calls home. It covers the history of how his people crash landed on an M-Class moon, terraformed part of this hostile environment, and made a deal with the enigmatic original vampire they would live to regret.
Through a series of adventurous encounters, the young hero ends up on earth, in the 15th century as Vlad the Impaler. Rather than focus on the usual vampire lore, I show the reader how it all came to be in the first place.
Over the years, I have read my share of vampire stories, and I don’t often come across ones that surprise me. But when I read the synopsis for Prince of the Vampyres, I was immediately intrigued! It sounded like a very different and new approach to the subject of the living dead. And it turned out that that was exactly what it was!
Rohb Victory writes an engaging, funny, and original story that looks at vampires in a totally new light!
Following these characters was such an interesting ride into a world where space and vampires meet, and it’s a perfect match! The characters had some depth to them, and the book covered a lot of ground even though it was quite a short read.
I really enjoyed Rohb Victory’s writing and world-building. Sci-fi novels can sometimes be slightly confusing when introducing new worlds, characters, and systems, but that didn’t happen here. It was easy to follow along with both the whereabouts of the story and the characters as well. He has a seamless way of telling a story where a lot is going on, and the characters had unique voices that made them feel real and relatable.
It is a bold move to write a story about a subject like this that has been done so many times before, but I think Victory did a fantastic job with this one! It’s original, different, and definitely worth the read!
I would have loved for it to have been a little longer and follow some of the characters for a longer period of time, but maybe there’s hope for more stories? If so, that is definitely something I would pick up.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!
Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it💛
It’s been a tradition of mine the last few years. Choosing a word is a great way to select a focus point for that year. I’ve never liked New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I just never seemed to be able to stick to them. But to choose a word to be mindful of throughout the year worked really well for me. Last year I chose Writing as my word for 2020. I felt very motivated and ready for a year of writing, but then I got pregnant and felt so sick all of the time. And on top of that, Corona hit us, and when I thought that all of that would give me lots of time to work creatively and write lots and lots, the complete opposite happened. With the extreme lack of energy, traveling, and creative input of the outside world, I lost my words. While watching the world getting sick and going mad while going through so many changes, I had a million thoughts going through my mind, but I was utterly unable to get them down on paper or screen. I tried again and again, but the few words I got out wouldn’t form into sentences. I would sit there and try until I got so discouraged that I gave up and went to do something else. I’ve always known that writing has been a critical factor in my mental health, but I never knew just how much before I couldn’t write at all. It made me feel lost. I was already going through so many changes that I didn’t quite feel like myself. I got worried, sad, and confused.
Who was I without my words?
I pondered over this while the world moved on. The virus kept spreading, my body kept changing, and the craziness of the world seemed to be escalating, and the words just wouldn’t come. So, I decided to give my mind a break. I didn’t push the writing. I didn’t journal. I left my words alone and enjoyed other people’s words instead. For months I read and listened more than I usually do. I devoured fiction. Words upon words flowed through me as the world moved forward.
And then came October 24th, and little baby Noelle came into our lives. The life we knew changed as we fell headfirst in love and into the baby bubble, surrounded by thick postpartum fog. Writing was the last thing on my mind, and I didn’t find much time for reading either. But then something happened. Little Noelle had a phase where she decided she didn’t want to sleep at night, just take really short naps. And as I sat up at night while the rest of the house was sleeping, I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. So I found an unused notebook, and on the first page, I wrote: “While You Weren’t Sleeping.”
I filled it with brain dump and poems about all of the thoughts, worries, and frustrations that my tired, sleep-deprived brain and body felt. And through all those nights, and all those tears. I found my love for words coming back. They started coming more quickly and more frequently, and the more I wrote, the more I started feeling like myself once again.
I still struggle a bit with getting started. Just this post had its first sentence written and erased about thirty times before I was able to keep going, but it’s progress! I was worried that I’d lost my words forever, but they’re still here. I was waiting for them to find their way back to me, but I had to find them instead. And now I find them everywhere, little by little.
My review of Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder 📚
I read a digital edition of Cooking for Cannibals that was sent to me for free by Laugh Riot Press in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Comic thriller
Publisher: Laugh Riot Press
Originally published: January 21st, 2021
Pages: 371 (Kindle edition)
Synopsis by the publisher:
Carrie Cromer pushes the boundaries of science, not her social life. The brilliant behavioral gerontologist’s idea of a good time is hanging out with her beloved lab rats and taking care of her elderly mother and the other eccentric old folks at the nursing home. So no one is more surprised than Carrie when she steals the lab’s top-secret, experimental medicine for aging in reverse.
Two-time ex-con Johnny Fairfax dreams of culinary greatness. But when his corrupt parole officer tries to drag him from the nursing home kitchen, the suddenly young-again residents spring to his defense and murder the guy—and then request Johnny cook them an evidence-devouring dinner to satisfy their insatiable side-effect appetite. As their unexpected mutual attraction gets hot, Carrie and Johnny find themselves caught up with the authorities who arrive to investigate the killing. But even more dangerous than the man-eating not-so-senior citizens could be the arrival of death-dealing pharmaceutical hitmen.
Can Carrie and Johnny find true love in all this bloody madness?
Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then you’ll have a feast with Rich Leder’s wild ride.
And what a ride it was!
I am a sucker for dark humor, so when Laugh Riot Press reached out to me and told me about this book, I was intrigued! I read another one of Rich Leder’s books a few years back that I really enjoyed, so I had high hopes for this one as well. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed!
Cooking for Cannibals reads like a fast-paced action-comedy. There is never a dull moment, and it is filled with interesting and quirky characters. There is also no shortage of blood and gore in this story, so if that’s something that makes you queasy, then I would recommend you consider skipping this one. I, on the other hand, love some darkness and gore in my books, so this book was a perfect match for me!
One of the things I especially enjoy with Leder’s writing is how he writes characters that are relatable at the same time as they are incredibly weird. My personal favorites in this book were The Fixer and The Cleaner, the two hitmen out to get our main characters. It was fun to have a peek into the mind of these men, each with their preference for torture and with a complete lack of morals.
Rich Leder has a way of making a story where everyone acts terribly in their own way. So, you end up rooting for Carrie and Johnny even when they murder, cook, and serve the parole officer to the Copa crew. There’s a little bit of evil in everyone.
Speaking of the Copa crew! What a delightfully quirky and eccentric bunch of characters! I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them! I would’ve loved to have gotten to know even more of their background stories.
I giggled my way through this pageturner, and even though I could predict some of the things that happened, I enjoyed every second of it!
If you like humor on the darker side and fast-paced stories with lots of twists and turns, I would highly recommend checking out Cooking for Cannibals!
It is as grotesque as it sounds at times but in the best possible way!