Did anyone else grow up thinking that ‘self-help’ books were something you’d never buy; something that only people who’d totally lost all hope read?
When I was younger there seemed to be a social judgement that self-help books just meant you in-fact had no chance of help
I don’t know if it is that I now work, live and breathe in the wellbeing industry but self-help books seem to have got a public eye makeover. These books are now topping best seller charts and most people would be able to name one, or at least recognise one of the beautifully designed covers.
Just as a self-help book is meant to help you re-invent yourself the whole genre seems to have had a reinvention itself. And this is such great news. The new generation of self-help books, or as I am rebranding them 'self-love' books, are being read by millions and genuinely improving people’s lives. These self-love books are filled with empowerment, laughter, tears, honesty and truth. The genre is large, covering so many different styles and approaches but one thing all these books have in common is that they have the potential to change your life, one powerful page at a time.
And okay, I am no literary expert so this may not be an officially recognised genre. I love a rom-com or historical fiction book but these self-love books just hit different; it’s like getting a between the lines glimpse at all your favourite motivational quotes.
This list covers a handful of self-love books that I’ve read in the past 9 months – but there are so many more to read. Scroll to the bottom to see what’s on my reading list for the next 9 months!
1. Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton
Without a shadow of doubt this book is my favourite from all the books and all the genres I have read in several years, let alone the last 9 months. Witty, real and alarmingly relatable, this book has you smiling, laughing and cringing, knowing that you too have experienced so many of the things Dolly has. It is almost as though Alderton has experienced your life and written it into a book, perhaps with a little more glam, drama and comedy. This book reminds you that we all have tumultuous lives, and that love between friends is priceless.
2. Speak Your Truth – Fearne Cotton
Okay so I’m only 30% of the way through this book so whether I can fairly put it at number 2 I don’t know but since this is my list, I’m making the rules (A little bit of confidence shining through, no doubt picked up from one of these books). Written in a similar style to ‘Everything I Know About Love’, Fearne’s book is filled with anecdotes and realism. You don’t get the feeling of being lectured, instead you get the feeling you are cosied up chatting to a good friend about how you are trying to be more you. And let’s face it we all need a reminder to speak our truths from time to time. There’s also great little writing prompts for you to use to really harness what’s being said, which helps to take it from a good book to something you truly put into action.
3. Good Vibes Good Life – Vex King
Absolutely Brilliant. I really enjoyed this book. Nothing was too complex, and it was broken down into bite size chapters which mean you can dip in and out and let each chapter sink in. These little bite size chunks definitely help with the fact the book is long and not always captivating. But books in the self-love genre aren’t always written to gripping, they are there to help you. While there was nothing in this book that was news to me, it is a gentle reminder of all the things we should know but often forget.
4. Lunar Living and Lunar Living Journal – Kirsty Gallagher
Lunar Living – The lunar living book is a great way to dip your toes into the world of the moon and star signs. Whether you are full on moon girl with crystal rituals or perhaps just want to find a way to deepen your journaling and self-reflection this book is great. There is a good balance of science and spirit in there, which makes the book accessible. Lunar Living Journal – I went from 0 to 60 when it came to the lunar living books. I bought the book on my kindle and within the week had pre-ordered the journal. The journal can be started at any point in the year and each moon phase in each sign has specific prompts which is a great way to really harness the fluctuations of the moon. Before I got the journal, I had been writing new and full moon reflections and intentions in my journal for almost a year but this lunar living journal gives me a chance to reflect much more deeply.
5. Everything You’ll Ever Need You Can Find Within Yourself – Charlotte Freeman
While this isn’t a book in the traditional sense of having paragraphs and chapters I still believes it deserves a place on this list because it has definitely helped me love myself more. This collection of poems is perfect. It is a beautiful blend of uplifting and hard-hitting (in a gentle way). Some of the poems will resonate deep within you, some will make you feel seen, some will make you smile. But that is the beauty of poetry isn’t it, to express in words what we all feel deep in our souls?
6. Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
While it took me a while to read this book and sometimes I fell off the wagon, I really like that it is backed up by research. The research is balanced with anecdotes which really help to make it relatable and memorable. There have been several times in the past few months I’ve thought to myself “oh wow this is a great example of X”, where X is a research topic from the book. This book shows you all your flaws in communicating and relationships, but in an actionable way. It does not leave you depressed or with a sense of false bolstered optimism, instead this book leaves you with the tools you need to truly dare greatly.
...And then there's the one I didn’t love...
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty - Florence Given
I’m just going to say this now, I did not enjoy this book. I know it is a popular book at the moment and that is an unpopular opinion and I am not saying don’t read it, I’m just saying I didn’t enjoy it. It is a hard read, some of the points made are very astute, some are hard hitting because they make you reassess your engrained values, and then I found some just a little too forceful. I am a feminist and I believe in equal rights, but sometimes I felt the points being made were shaming men and while I have been degraded by men (who hasn’t) I also have met feminist men who are as supportive as my feminist best friends. So yes, the book makes some good points, yes it made me reconsider some of my values, but there were also some points I didn’t agree with. But if we are going to develop as people and as a society then we should sometimes feel challenged, so by all means read the book, challenge yourself, and see what you make of it. We are all entitled to make our own decisions and hold our own beliefs.
So what’s next on my list? The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle More than Enough – Elaine Welteroth What a Time to be Alone – Chidera Eggerue Think Like A Monk – Jay Shetty
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