Category Archives: Personal development

Self help and personal development

Making lists just got fun, social and super clever

We are all about clever shopping at Booko, whether that’s finding the best price, shopping internationally, choosing second hand or setting your own prices. We have a brand spanking new feature on Booko that we know will make your lives a little easier. 

Sometimes we have no idea what to read and just need a recommendation, other times we’re looking for books to give as gifts but have no idea what the recipient would enjoy. Today, we are taking all of the guesswork away and are launching the ‘following’ function in our hugely popular list section. 

Now you can follow a number of lists which suggest books to read, movies to watch or even ideas for Santa. 

Let’s start by having a look at our current list function. 

When you log into your Booko account a drop down menu appears to the left hand side of the site and you will see Lists and Following as options. 

When you click on Lists you are shown all of the lists you have created on Booko. 

You can also add more lists here. We often suggest making lists for all different reasons such as books for each course at uni, gift ideas, a wishlist of books that you’d love to read this summer, bookclub books, movies you want to watch oneday the options are endless. 

You can change the settings on these lists by clicking on the little pencil icon to the side. Here you can choose to make your list private, sharable or discoverable. 

Private means only you can see what is on the list, sharable allows you to send a copy of the list via a link (super handy when you are giving Grandma ideas for Christmas presents) and finally, discoverable is our new option. It allows you to share your list with everyone and they can follow along as you add more books to your list. 

Because your privacy is super important to us, you can change the setting of your lists whenever you like, you can easily switch from private, shareable and discoverable by clicking on the pencil icon. 

When you click on Following in your drop down menu, it shows all of the lists that you follow, these include all of your own private lists, any that have been shared and sent to you via a link, along with any of the discoverable lists you have decided you’d like to follow. Again, you can unfollow any list at any time by clicking the ‘unfollow’ button to the right hand-side of the list. 

How to find a list to follow.

In the menu bar at the top of the Booko website you’ll see Blog, History, Alerts and Lists as options that you can click (along with the super handy country flag which allows you to shop in different countries and currencies). When you select Lists, a dropdown menu appears with Manage My Lists and Discover More Lists along with all of the lists you have previously created. Manage My Lists takes you straight to the list function above where you can change settings on your lists, along with adding and removing books, adding a description about the list and renaming the list. 

Discover More Lists is where you will find book recommendations galore. 

All of the lists that Booko and our community of users have set to ‘discoverable’ will show up here. We have made a few lists to get you started and will continue to add to them but it is also a space where the Booko community can share topics, authors, genres, gift ideas and favourite books. To follow a list, simply click on the orange ‘follow’ button to the right. If you’d like to take a closer look at the list, just click on the list title and a new page will open showing all of the books in the list along with their blurb. You can then click on the book image and add it to one of your own lists, set a price alert, or even buy it straight away!

As always, prices are constantly being refreshed behind the scenes so it doesn’t matter how old the book is, how long it has been on someone’s list, we will always show the most recent price. 

We were inspired by our book loving community to create this new feature, you have so generously recommended books in the past and we wanted to give you a space so that this can continue. So get clicking, make a list, add your favourite books to it, set it to discoverable and we’ll follow along.

As usual, we’d love your feedback on this new feature so we can make sure it serves our community’s needs best. Drop us a line at booko@booko.com.au with your thoughts and suggestions.

Enjoy!

Six of the newest memoirs hitting bookshelves now

Autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, there is something magical about reading insights into people’s lives and learning from lessons they have grappled with. Perhaps it’s the unspoken trust that comes with them sharing stories so personal with us that makes reading an autobiography inspiring. 

We are excited to share these six memoirs that are hot off the press. We know you are going to enjoy them. 

Whose memoir do you recommend? Be sure to share with us in the comments below so we can add it to our reading list. 

The Asparagus Wars by Carol Major

The Asparagus Wars is a deeply moving memoir about the battles waged against terminal illness and a mother’s struggle to comprehend the battlefield in its wake. While some family members wage war against her daughter’s disease with natural therapies, and doctors fight on using the latest developments in medical science, she longs to take her daughter to Paris instead, the city that inspired the young woman’s writing and art. The Asparagus Wars asks questions about notions of victory at all costs. Shot through with fearless wit and resonant description, this story will break your heart but leave you richer for the experience.

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as its inimitable subject himself. This book will be a joy for both lifelong fans and for a whole new generation. John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator. At 5 feet 11 inches, in trademark dark suit, dark glasses, with dark messed-up hair and a mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his own brand of slightly sick humour is never far from the surface. I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson, Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso, Gil Scott Heron, Mark E. Smith and Joe Strummer, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic take on popular culture over the centuries: from Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe to Pop Art, pop music, the movies, fashion, football and show business – and much, much more, plus a few laughs along the way.

No. 91/92 A Parisian Bus Diary by Lauren Elkin

In Autumn 2014, Lauren Elkin began keeping a diary of her bus commutes in the Notes app on her iPhone 5c, using it to take in the world around her. During that year, the Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred and Lauren had an ectopic pregnancy, requiring emergency surgery. At that point, her diary of dailiness became a study of how we digest major events personally and collectively as a city, observed from the height of the bus. No. 91/92 is a love letter to Paris and a meditation on how it has changed in the two decades the author has lived there. It’s a celebration of community and a time when we could all observe each other in our fleshy up-closeness. 

The Audacity by Katherine Ryan

From the star of The Duchess and the host of ‘Telling Everybody Everything’, the debut book from superstar comedian Katherine Ryan. ‘While I’ve been very blessed to have worked in comedy for over a decade, The Audacity gives me the opportunity to connect with people more fully and honestly than a panel show allows. I’ve learned to be a sharp-shooter on stage, but there are so many stories that I’m eager to tell in more sincere, longer form. I hope it gives people a laugh, an insight, and hopefully some encouragement on how to live their most fulfilled, authentic lives.’ The Audacity details Katherine’s journey from a naive ex-Hooters waitress fresh off the boat from Canada to comedy megastar, chapters cover How to Potty Train Your Baby at 10 Months, How to Cut Off Your Racist Aunties, How to Marry Your High School Boyfriend and How to Co-Parent when you’re a Single Mum. The Audacity combines Katherine’s unerring ear for the perfect line with the warmth, compassion and hard-won wisdom that makes up a life on and off stage.

Coming Clean by Liz Fraser

Coming Clean is a searingly honest memoir of loving an alcoholic both through the heaviest drinking years and into recovery. When Liz Fraser’s partner fell into a catastrophic vortex of depression and alcoholism, Liz found herself in a relentless hailstorm of lies, loneliness and fear, looking after their young child on her own, heartbroken, mentally shattered and with no idea what was happening or what to do. As she and her family moved between Cambridge, Venice and Oxford, she kept the often shocking truth entirely to herself for a long time, trying in vain to help her partner find a path to sobriety, until she herself finally broke from the trauma and started to speak out only to find she was one of hundreds experiencing similar things, also living in silence and fear. Part diary, part travel journal and part love letter, Coming Clean is the true story of addiction of many kinds, mental collapse and heartbreak. Above all, it offers a voice of deep human compassion, strength and hope for recovery.

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

Written in Phoebe’s unforgettable voice and laced with her unparalleled wit and with spot-on pop culture references. From the values she learned from her parents (including, but not limited to, advice on not bringing outside germs onto your clean bed) to her and her boyfriend, lovingly known as British Baekoff, deciding to have a child-free union, to the way the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage in America, and, finally, the continual struggle to love her 4C hair, each essay is packed with humour and humanity.

It’s insightful, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, but a collection of essays that will stay with you for years to come.

Enjoy!

Spring Clean Your Mind – 6 of the best mindfulness books on the market

Spring cleaning is usually associated with physical spaces, but our mental spaces can benefit from cleaning and decluttering too.  If the new season has inspired you to aim for a fresh start, here are some books to help you declutter your mind, learn better habits, and strive for greater calm and happiness:

Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

It’s so easy to accumulate clutter when we live in a consumerist culture – but clutter can impact our emotional wellbeing by leaving us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and out of control.  So it is no surprise that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and regular explorer of the topics of habits and happiness, looks at how to improve mental clarity and happiness by decluttering your home.  Outer Order Inner Calm is is full of advice on how to develop your own system to reduce and manage clutter; it also gives inspirational examples of how decluttering can reduce our sense of paralysis around the status quo, by creating headspace for considering new possibilities.

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter your Mind, and Focus on the Present by Nick Trenton

For many people, overthinking causes spiralling negative thoughts that affects both physical and mental health. It is exhausting, distracts you from what’s truly important, and can feel inescapable.  In Stop Overthinking, Nick Trenton offers 23 techniques that help us learn about our negative spiral triggers, identify and manage anxiety and stress attacks, declutter our minds as well as adopt relaxation techniques. Together these tools become a transformative strategy that ends vicious thought patterns by helping us control our thoughts, change our habits and ultimately rewire our brains.

Digital Minimalism in Everyday Life: Overcome Technology Addiction, Declutter Your Mind, and Reclaim Your Freedom by James W Williams and Amy White

Have you ever felt that devices and apps are taking over your life, or that you are wasting too much time, energy or focus on your smartphone?  Such problems seem more urgent than ever, but Digital Minimalism in Everyday Life is here to help.    James W Williams and Amy White offer useful discussions, tools and tips to help you regain control over your tech, using it in a more intentional, effective and ultimately enjoyable way.  There are chapters covering very timely issues including digital detox; digital addiction; decluttering your inbox/ desktop/ home screen; minimising the distraction of notifications; and excessive screentime for kids.

Kindfulness: Be a True Friend to Yourself with Mindful Self-Compassion by Padraig O’Morain

Kindfulness weaves together two self-care tools – mindfulness and self-compassion – into a powerful approach that can lower stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with yourself and with others.  Kindfulness can be particularly helpful in managing perfectionism and self-criticism, and allows you to overcome procrastination and get on with your true goals. Kindfulness is a gentle, easy-to-read book with plenty of approachable exercises and affirmations to help you get into kindful thinking.

Still Life: the Myths and Magic of Mindful Living by Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco is a yoga teacher and blogger who has been informing and entertaining her fans with her understanding of yoga traditions.  In Still Life, she explores the practice and the misconceptions around mindfulness and meditation.  Her tone is wise but tough – she explains that mindfulness is not a cure-all, nor is it always easy or full of positivity; yet the process can improve our lives.  Still Life offers readers practical tools for developing a consistent mindfulness practice, as well as funny and compassionate anecdotes about Rebecca’s own experiences with mindfulness.

The Practice of Not Thinking: a Guide to Mindful Living by Ryunosuke Koike

The Practice of Not Thinking, a bestseller from Japan, helps us live more mindfully by re-engaging with our senses.  Tune into the present by looking instead of merely seeing, listening instead of hearing, and feeling instead of touching; this acts as an alternative to (over)thinking, which tends to create negativity and anxiety.  Zen priest Ryunosuke Koike uses his understanding of Zen and Buddhism to develop practical tips on how to breathe, listen, speak, laugh, love and sleep in ways that help us improve calm and appreciate more.

Six of the best Spring Cleaning Books on the Market

Life has been a bit of a curve ball this past year which resulted in us all spending a lot of time inside our homes. Our homes have morphed into office spaces, schools, home gyms, restaurants, bakeries, puzzle worlds, and libraries so we thought it may be time for the annual spring clean. We have rustled up 6 of the greatest titles on the market to help you shed, mend and curate your things. 

Make yourself a cup of tea, pop your feet up and get ready to be inspired. 

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Okay, so this one seems a tad scarier than it is. It’s all the title’s fault really. This book is a charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life. In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming. Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you’d ever use) and which you might want to keep (photographs, love letters, a few of your children’s art projects). Digging into her late husband’s tool shed, and her own secret drawer of vices, Margareta introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.

Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch

All the best cleaning tips to shine your sink and soothe your soul. Discover how to transform your home. Cleaning doesn’t have to be that job you dread. Not when Mrs Hinch is here to show you her sparkly ways. Mrs Hinch has taken Britain by storm with her infectiously addictive charm, clever cleaning hacks and her passionate belief in the life-changing magic of tidying. With the help of her cloth family, Mrs Hinch will help you turn your house into a home. Whether you’re a daily duster or looking for a monthly makeover, Hinch Yourself Happy shows you how to create not only a cleaner house, but a calmer you. If you want your kitchen to sparkle, then this is the book for you.

The Art of Repair by Molly Martin

For Molly Martin, it all started with a pair of socks. Her favourite pair. When the heels became threadbare, her mother got out her darning mushroom and showed her how to reinforce the thinning stitches and bring them back to life. She has been stitching and darning ever since. In The Art of Repair, Molly explores the humble origins of repair and how the act of mending a cherished item carefully by hand offers not just a practical solution but nourishment for the soul. Using her own beautiful illustrations, she guides us through the basics of the craft – from piecing and patching to the ancient Japanese art of Sashiko. This book will stay with you long after you put down your needle and thread. It offers an antidote to our increasingly disposable lifestyle, encouraging us to reconnect not just with the everyday objects in our environment but also with ourselves.

Create Space by Dilly Carter

Some of us just want to cut the clutter, live better with less, give ourself some headspace, and enjoy life more. Create Space shows you how taking steps to clear and simplify your living space can also clear your mind, improve your relationships, and enhance your wellbeing. This room-by-room guide to organising and decluttering your home is packed with ideas, advice, tips and techniques that are practical and functional as well as beautiful. Turn chaos into calm with step-by-step methods that you can adapt and sustain for your own needs. When you stop allowing your life to revolve around things that don’t matter, you instantly gain energy to focus on the things that do. Reclaim your space, your time, and your mind right now, to reorganise your living space into a place of sanctuary.

Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath

Designer, Photographer, Creative Director, Doyenne of the unique and decorative, Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier, Lynda Gardener, is always on the hunt for finds to enhance her homes and decorating projects. Her ability to curate and display these personal treasures has created a trademark style that is loved internationally. Curate, the highly anticipated book by creative duo, Lynda Gardener and journalist and stylist Ali Heath, reveals how to create a home that is truly individual. With their shared love of a monochrome aesthetic and natural imperfections, they explore the eight Elements that bring a space to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art. Ten aspirational homes show the style in practice, including a converted warehouse, one-bedroom studio, bijoux apartment, historic cottage, country estate, new-build barn, remote shack, period townhouse and rural retreat. With gloriously evocative photography and plenty of down-to-earth ideas, Curate will encourage you to embrace your individual style, dream big and create a timeless interior of your own.

Let It Go by Peter Walsh

Whether you’re selling your family home, blending households, or cleaning out your ageing parents’ home, sorting through a lifetime’s worth of accumulated possessions can be a daunting and stressful experience. When decluttering guru Peter Walsh went through the process of downsizing his childhood home and dividing his late parents’ possessions among his family, he realised that making these decisions about mementos and heirlooms creates strong emotions and can be an overwhelming chore. In Let It Go, Walsh helps you turn downsizing into a rejuvenating life change. He offers useful tips and practical takeaways, including how to understand the emotional challenges that accompany downsizing, establishing a hierarchy of mementos and collectibles, calculating the amount of stuff you can bring into your new life, and creating strategies for dividing heirlooms among family members without drama. Change your mindset around possessions and learn to Let It Go.

Enjoy!