When I was younger I devoured novels, allowing myself to get lost in the fictional world of characters. I also read (a lot) of dog encyclopaedias.
I bought a kindle when I moved to London after finding I was often unable to open a book on the tube (oh yes, the northern line), as I needed one hand to grip a pole and the other would struggle to turn the page.
While my kindle is handy for travel, I am still in love with ‘real’ books and can never leave a bookstore empty handed. There is something so special about holding a book in your hands and realising how much of it you’ve read, knowing there’s only a few pages left until you reach the final conclusion.
I am currently about to leave Sydney for a month to travel up the East Coast of Australia so naturally, my first priority is deciding which books to bring. As I am tiny, I don't think my little back can bear the weight of a backpack filled with books so I am simply taking one (or two) paperbacks with the rest on kindle.
My book preference has changed in the last few years, I now favour more educational, factual books over fiction. I love opening my mind and learning something new from books. Inspirational books and life advice books (such as #Girlboss and You Are A Badass), couple with books about humans (Sapiens) and animals (Secret Life of Cows).
I have included some books that I bloody love below and hyperlinked to where you can find them in case any tickle your fancy!
I’m fascinated with books about animals and how we treat them, learning more about what changes need to be in place to protect animals. As someone who lives a plant-based diet, it’s easier to try to ‘ignore’ where meat comes from as I don’t consume it. However as my diet is a moral choice I believe that power comes from knowledge and the only way to create change in others and the world is to continually educate yourself and not shy away from the tough realities of the meat industry.
- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer This book is so eye opening, whether you’re a meat eater or plant/based. Eating Animals is a book that I've had recommended to me by so many people. It was written by Jonathan as a way for him to find out 'what meat is'? Where does it come from? How is it produced? What are the economic, social and environmental effects? Are there animals that it is straightforward to eat? Are there situations in which eating animals is wrong? It's not simply a book about vegetarianism, animal agriculture is a hugely complicated topic and one that Jonathan wanted to shed light on. There were some hard to read parts and it left me questioning how on earth we got to this point where factory farming is allowed.
- The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young I devoured this book in one sitting. A beautifully written, thought-provoking read that brings to life stories of cows on an organic farm (and also hens, lambs and pigs). The writer, who runs the farm, tells of the different personalities she has encountered over the years sharing wonderful stories and anecdotes - some full of joy and others that made me shed some tears. From an older hen losing a leg by a fox only to gain two hen ‘bodyguards’ who never left her side, to the cow who sought out the comfort of her mother three fields away after losing her calf during a traumatic birth.
It’s hard not to think about other farmed cows when reading this book. While I don’t eat animal products and, the thought makes me so sad, I am most concerned with animal welfare and farms like this are so much better than the factory farmer alternative. I read Eating Animals recently and the details of this are like something out of a horror movie, yet people often don’t think before they buy meat and go for the cheapest option meaning terrible things for the animals. Consumers who choose vegan or organic products can influence the market place.
This book is filled with endearing stories of these intelligent creatures and it is so heartbreaking to think that these animals are put through so much pain and suffering just for someone to enjoy a mere few minutes at dinner. A few mouthfuls for what? Every piece of meat begins with an animal suffering. There is no such thing as ‘humane’ meat. No animal wants to die. Plain as.
“It is perhaps easier to assume that animals have no feelings. They can then be used as generators of profit without any regard being given to their actual needs, as satisfying those needs is allegedly not worth the cost.”
W.H Hudson said, “Bear In Mind... that... animals are only unhappy when made so by man.”
- You Are A Badass I wrote in all the margins of this book and spent my time highlighting some great advice. Books like this really inspire me to pursue a life I love, questions ‘why not me?’ when it comes to having what you dream of. With Jen's no bullshit tone, it’s hard not to love this book.
- The Life Plan I love books that give you space to write your own goals in! Basically I write in all books so this is a bonus. Beautifully put together and filled with wonderful photos to inspire. Shannah is a life coach and gives you strategies to live a meaningful life. This was one of my books for the new year (coupled with a gratitude journal)
And some books on my yet to read list:
- Vagina: A New Biography combines cutting-edge science with cultural history to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence.
- Tom Hanks’ collection of short stories
- The War on Women
- Richard Branson’s autobiography (packing for travels)
What is your favourite book? Would love to hear your thoughts so that I can add to my travel kindle list!