Books that inspire me
I have a lot of books in my flat. Books are probably the only things that have followed me everywhere I have lived, from my childhood bedroom through uni and into my marital home. Some have been gifts, some have been inherited, some I read time and time again and others are just passing through with a single read. But I truly couldn’t live without books in my life.

Whilst I would like to be the kind of person who has beautifully styled bookshelves with open spaces and nick-nacks, I actually just have them all crammed to the rafters with books every which way. They are well thumbed and well loved. I’m not going to take you through a literary history of all of them, but I thought I would share some of my more special books that generally inspire and motivate me.

1. Just Kids by Patti Smith

Oh Patti. She is one of those women like Stevie Nicks who just has a magical aura. Despite knowing her music and forever admiring her aesthetics, I didn’t know much about her until I read this.

‘Just Kids’ is a memoir of the time before she really made it, when she was living with Robert Mapplethorpe and paving her way through New York in one of it’s most bizarre and creative times. It shouldn’nt been such a  surprise to me, considering her lyrics, but this book is just beautifully written. Truly, from the first line, I was under her spell. I have already read it 3 or 4 times and I can tell this is one I will keep on my shelf forever.

2. Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

I’ve talked about this book before, but it is still one which inspires me when I’m itching to make something. This is a craft book with a difference.

With project based on materials like Wool, Leather, Silk and Cotton, I love that Ellis goes into the history of different types of fabric. She makes you think about the whole process of creating, right from the raw materials. Filled to the brim with minimal and aesthetically pleasing craft projects (I am not into twee flowers…), I love everything about it. I made my weekend bag using her patterns and I really want to get making more. This is my go to for sewing and making.

3. Women in Clothes edited by Sheila Heti and others.

A year or so ago, I somehow stumbled across the website for Women in Clothes. Women could submit their thoughts on their personal style and aesthetics and then they were there for you to read. So, I found myself in an internet wormhole and read for far too many hours. No surprise then that I wanted the book when it came out.

I am genuinely fascinated by all of the different considerations that come into style, aesthetics and clothing decisions. I feel like there are so many influences into why women choose certain things and why they feel good in particular pieces and that is what all of the mini interviews and essays in this are about. I don’t necessarily agree with all the thoughts inside it, but it is fascinating nonetheless. With it being broken down into little sections, this is one of those that is lovely to dip in and out of, perfect for a few quiet hours on the sofa with a cup of tea. Have a read of some of the online surveys and see what you think.

4. Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes

Sali Hughes is one of the reigning queens of Beauty. Everyone raved about this book so when I found it, tea stain and all, in a charity shop for 90p, I couldn’t resist.

Working as I do in the beauty industry, I find this such an interesting book. She breaks everything down, from detailed information on skincare to  more whimsical sections on prepping for dates and events. Sali is authoritative and informative and this is definitely one to read if you are into your beauty products. Again, not everything in it should be taken as gospel (it is only one woman’s opinion after all) but there is no doubt that you will come away with some new ideas and information. Plus, it is Sali Hughes and you can’t deny the Sali Hughes effect!

5. Six Novels by Colette

This is a book I have inherited (read: stolen) from my mum’s bookshelf. My mum has always had the entire collection of Colette novels on her shelves and I grew up watching her read and re-read them and at some point, I picked them up too.

In case you didn’t have a mother who was a bohemian French Literature student in the 70s and don’t know, Colette was a French novelist who belonged the the liberal Parisian artistic set from the early 20th Century. Her novels are all about women, love, marriage, sexuality and female independence, all set in 1920s and 30s France. This big old tome of mine includes six of her best known and well loved novels, with achingly French titles like ‘Gigi’ and ‘The Vagabond’. The writing is magic and the stories just pull you in and transport you to a place which is so far away from our current day to day and yet deal with so many of the same thoughts. In this case, mama knows best and this is one of those books I pick up time and again.

I am always looking for more books to cram onto my shelves, and I am also kind of nosy, so tell me; which are the books that inspire you? Let me justify adding a few more to my collection!

      

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