Hi lovely RMS readers. I’m Alice and I have recently joined the RMLtd family.
I’ve worked in the wedding industry for almost nine years & have known Charlotte for about as long. It turns out Charlotte & I have the same taste in makeup (I.e we like it. A LOT) & I have the same taste in music and podcasts as Adam (i.e. Lauren Laverne on 6 Music and Adam Buxton) so hopefully that means we’ll all get on, too.
I also love reading. I genuinely think that a well thought out book is one of the best gifts you can buy someone. I used to have a notebook where I wrote down new books to read, then the list went on to my phone & now it’s straight onto my Amazon wish list.
Below I have listed the 5 books that have shaped/moulded/affected my life. I maybe wouldn’t go as far as to say they have changed it, but they have certainly made me view the world in a different way.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
This is not a children’s book post, I promise. Just bear with me. This book will always remind me of my mum, in fact she still says ‘I love you to the moon and back’.
I recently went to a baby shower and we all had to bring a children’s book. I bought this one and the coos from all the women when the mother-to-be opened it was so heartwarming.
I think it’s the most perfect children’s book because its just so simple and beautiful. It teaches to love your family, think about what they meant to you, and most importantly, to say it.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is my guilty pleasure. I know it’s not the most eloquent writing, I know there are gaping plot holes, I know the ending of every chapter feels like clickbait but I just love. It.
I’m super happy because they are everywhere at the moment. The Good Girl, The Girl On the Train, The Girl Before. Hell, you put a ‘Girl’ in the title and a massive plot twist and I’m yours. Discovering this type of book was great to me because I find them so easy to read. I’m not a massive fan of the ‘chick lit’/traditional ‘holiday reads’ but with these books, I can just pick up when my brain is tired but I feel I should do something with it to stop myself blindly scrolling through Instagram.
Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley
This is the book that I come back to year after year. The book starts in Cornwall (on the Camomile Lawn, hence the name) in 1939 where a group of cousins meet, as they do every year, at their aunts house. It then follows the family and their friends as the War takes over their lives. Generally, I don’t really read history/war novels but the descriptions of wartime London are just so atmospheric that I get completely gripped.
But also, this isn’t ‘a book about war’. The older I get, the more I understand some of the characters more and some of them less. I have read it so many times that I honestly now feel like the characters are my friends, which just shows how incredible Mary Wesley’s writing it. Essentially, this book is about relationships – with family, friends, the rest of the world. It’s about juvenile lust, adult love and an event that changed everyone’s lives forever.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong era? I do all the time and this books always makes it worse/better.
The first chapter starts when Patti was born in 1946 but then quickly leaps forward to 1967 to when a young Patti Smith moves from Chicago to New York. She quickly meets the creative, inspiring & wild Robert Mapplethorpe. There starts a wonderful love affair that will span years but also sexual orientation & artistic endeavours. They both have nothing, then have something, then they have everything.
I have suggested this book to so many people who are visiting New York. You need to crack the spine on it as you are flying over the Hudson & it will devour you, as New York itself does. It’s the most perfect love letter to the city in the 70’s. Think the Chelsea Hotel, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, smoking too much, drinking too much & redefining what art & love means.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This book was given to me just after my dad died a few years ago and I was desperately sad, but it’s the book that I feel has helped me more than I can describe at particularly dark moments.
It is essentially a collection of agony aunt letters that were all written to ‘Sugar’ on a US blog called The Rumpus. (‘Sugar’ is actually Cheryl Strayed, who is an author and wrote ‘Wild’ which has since been turned into a film with Reese Witherspoon).
If Just Kids is a love letter to NY, Tiny Beautiful Things feels like a love letter to humanity. I have gifted it to so many friends since, all of whom have been going through a massive, life changing event. At a crossroads and have no idea which path to take? There’s a letter for that. Someone you love died and left a hole in your heart? It’s happened to someone else, too. A friend has let you down in a seemingly irreversible way? Take a deep breath and open the book.
It sounds depressing, I know, but it’s the most life affirming book I have ever read. Sugar doesn’t always have the answers, (in fact, I should put in a disclaimer that her writing can sometimes feel like a Richard Curtis film and I appreciate that I am also guilty of this occasionally), but the biggest lesson that I took from this book is you are not alone. There’s always someone out there on your side.
Maybe you’re a book worm like me or you only read on the train to work, or in the bath. Maybe you are a busy mum so haven’t read a full book since your baby was a tiny tot but hopefully there is something for most styles here.
Which books have moulded you? I’m sure there are some surprising ones in there, if you really think about it. Also, which books can I buy my friends next?!
Have a wonderful, sunny bank holiday, everyone! x