Wowsers, Christmas will be here before we know it! If you’re looking for menu inspiration then this week’s post is a must read.
With the biggest gift giving day of the year fast approaching (yikes it’s only just over 3 weeks away) it’s easy for panic to set in and totally ruin your budget. So let’s flip that panic and make the festive season much more merry by embracing our inner creativity and having a clever little crafty Christmas instead.
Our elves have scoured the internet for titles that we think have the most fun craft to try. So sit back, grab yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and let your imagination flow…
Weaving Within Reach by Anne Weil
The resurgence of the ’70s in fashion and home decor has brought about a new trend in crafting; weaving. Anne Weil gives macrame basket weaving, and other weaving skills a makeover with beautiful photography and styling with projects that can be made on various easily sourced looms, and even some that don’t require a loom, with just about any kind of material or fibre (including yarn, leather, and paper). The photography is light and bright, and the book’s look is a little bit bohemian. Best of all, projects are organised by time commitment (one hour, weeknight, and weeknight projects), so readers can craft at their comfort level…and you could totally finish something by Christmas!
Craft the Rainbow by Brittany Watson Jepsen
What began as an Instagram hashtag and project collection (#CrafttheRainbow) that quickly went viral has become a show stopping book, offering a rainbow of completely new project ideas. Learn how to make playful party decorations, luscious flowers, amazing cards, and sophisticated wreaths, garlands, centrepieces, and more than you can imagine, all with nothing but the creative power of paper. Sought-after designer Brittany Watson Jepsen is known for the unusually imaginative and amazingly beautiful designs she creates for her website and host of clients (including Anthropologie). In Craft the Rainbow, Jepsen walks readers through the easy basics of transforming simple paper -including tissue, crepe, cardstock, leaves of books, and vintage and recycled paper- into vibrant, fanciful, handmade projects suitable for every occasion.
Japanese Stitches Unraveled by Wendy Bernard
Japanese stitch patterns are eye-catching and much sought after by devotees, but before now, they often seemed out of reach, whether locked behind Japanese-only instructions or tangled up in difficult-to-decipher illustrations. Japanese Stitches Unraveled offers over 160 rare patterns inspired by these elusive and intricate Japanese stitch designs, along with fully illustrated charts, familiar symbols, and clear instructions for every single stitch. Each stitch pattern receives Bernard’s unique four-direction makeover-topdown, bottom-up, back-and-forth, and in-the-round. To showcase the knitting in action, Bernard also includes instructions for six garments as well as her famous formulas for knitting without a pattern.
Go on, give it a go, you know you want to.
By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering by Nicole Miyuki Santo
In a world of screens and social media, people are constantly searching for ways to reconnect to the handmade and the authentic to add a personal spark and a beautiful look to everyday objects and occasions. The art of modern lettering is a point of connection, a way of crafting letters and words into something that delights the eyes and feeds the soul. With unique projects and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, By Hand provides an inspirational jumping-off point for readers who want to incorporate lettering into a slower, more intentional lifestyle. Blending the aspirational and the instructional, By Hand brings the beauty of lettering beyond the page, through 30 distinct projects, from dip-dyed place cards to acrylic home furnishings. Relatable lessons introduce readers to the essentials of lettering, including tools (watercolour brushes, brush pens, and markers), fonts, and essential lessons, with the warm and welcoming approach of popular Instagram letterer Nicole Miyuki Santo. Encouraging lessons sprinkled throughout the book add a touch of mindfulness, while bright, airy photography and step-by-step lettered samples make this lovely volume a stunning approach to an on-trend pastime.
Discover a fresh, new take on the traditional craft of macrame, a craft that was incredibly popular in the seventies, is currently enjoying a renaissance. Macrame projects are the best way to bring the current trend for hippy luxe, boho interiors into your home (oh and for other people too…sorry totally forgot we are thinking of crafting presents for other people!) Macrame for Beginners includes very on trend macrame projects for inside and outside the home. You can choose from 12 different projects with an ‘easy’ and ‘more advanced’ version for each so you can develop your skills as you go. Learn all the basic macrame knots with the knot tutorial library so you can get started with your favourite projects whether it’s the ubiquitous hanging plant holder or a statement arch for the garden or a doorway.
The Flower Expert by Fleur McHarg
Flowers are a beautiful gift to receive. Fleur McHarg is a florist in the true, traditional sense of the word. Guided by the eternal wisdom of Constance Spry, the trailblazing early 20th century British florist, Fleur believes in letting flowers be the stars of the show by working with the natural shape of a flower or branch. When it comes to beauty, you can’t beat nature – but you can learn how to showcase it for startling impact. The Flower Expert is a stunning celebration of Fleur’s artistry and her ability to fuse modern and classic to create a style that suits each occasion.
So much craft…so little time.
With only 5 weeks until Christmas (oh yes, you read that right!), time is ticking to ensure your gifts reach family and friends who live overseas. But fear not, we are here to help.
If you fancy purchasing a book, DVD or board game as a gift for someone living abroad, Booko has some clever functionality where you can purchase in their local currency and the gift gets shipped directly to the recipient. How great is that!
Here’s what you do:
First off, jump online to Booko.
In the top right hand corner, there will be a flag (it’s usually your local country flag). Click on this and all the countries that Booko works with will appear. Select the country flag that you want to send your gift to. What’s great is that when you choose a different country, both the shipping charges and times are specific to that country (so it’s easy to make sure your gift will make it in time).
Let’s have a look at an example…
In the screen shot above we have selected the USA. From here, we will have a range of online booksellers that we can purchase from, just like you do when shopping in your local country on Booko. All prices and delivery charges have now been converted to USD. We can also see the shipping times involved.
We decided to purchase this book from Amazon UK, which is based in the UK but ships globally. Because it is getting close to Christmas, you may want to choose a book retailer that has speedy shipping times. It makes sense to get the book delivered directly to your family and friends, it saves on postage costs, postage times and it gives you greater security that it will arrive before the big fellow in the red suit!
Do remember that when shopping online it is important to keep in mind the delivery dates for the country you are sending to. We’ve made a handy little table to help you with this.
Last Order Dates for Christmas (using standard delivery)
|Shop||To AUS||To NZ||To US||To UK|
|Amazon AU||13 Dec (Country)
19 Dec (Metro)
|Amazon CA||14 Dec||14 Dec||14 Dec||14 Dec|
|Amazon UK||21 Dec|
|Angus & Robertson||TBC|
|Book Depository (dispatched from AU)||23 Nov – 12 Dec (Country)
10-13 Dec (Metro)
|5 Dec||5 Dec||5 Dec|
|Book Depository (dispatched from UK)||10 Dec||5 Dec||10 Dec||17 Dec|
|Booktopia||13 Dec (Country)
17 Dec (Metro)
|Wordery||10 Dec||10 Dec||14 Dec||17 Dec|
Some stores have express delivery or even same-day delivery options; these details and further country information can be found by clicking on the store name.
(Just a little fine print…Booko cannot take responsibility for deliveries which do not arrive by Christmas so please check the delivery estimates when ordering).
Finally, if you end up missing the postie completely and there’s no way a book, board game or DVD is going to arrive in time, then you always have the option of sending a gift voucher from one of the book stores. Gift vouchers are emailed directly to your recipient…which means you can sit back and pat yourself on the back for being clever this Christmas.
Ho Ho Ho.
Secret Santa gifts can be tricky…not only do you need to show that you are being thoughtful, but it also needs to remain affordable.
We’ve had a look around the internet and come up with a list of fab books that are sure to delight any name you happen to draw out of the hat.
For your work bestie
Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales
As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next? In this wise and layered book, Leigh talks intimately with people who’ve faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead finds strength, hope, even humour. Leigh brilliantly condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear and grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness. Along the way, she offers an unguarded account of her own challenges and what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows. Warm, candid and empathetic, this book is about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have.
Prosecco Drinking Games by Abbie Cammidge
First up, we really recommend you drink responsibly…but you can still do that while reading this! Get the party started with this awesome collection of Prosecco-themed games to play with friends. What could be better than getting the gang together, grabbing a glass and cracking open a bottle of bubbles? Why, throwing a few Prosecco-based drinking games into the mix, of course! There are over 25 games that use everyone’s favourite sparkly tipple – ranging from hilarious Beyonce Bingo to the organised chaos that is the Prosecco Olympics. So what are you waiting for? Choose your game, pop a cork and prepare to laugh. A lot!
For the newbie
Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson
This book is filled with powerful ideas and simple proven tools that will help you transform your wishes into dreams, and then into an achievable one-page roadmap for creating your dream life; a life designed by you for you, and for your loved ones. Kristina Karlsson, the woman behind the inspiring global success story, kikki.K, shares personal insights from her amazing journey, from humble beginnings on a small farm in Sweden to the 3am light bulb moment that led her to chase and achieve dreams that are now inspiring a worldwide community of dreamers. Filled with simple and practical magic and inspiring stories and wisdom from people who’ve dared to dream big, this book will show you how to harness the power of dreaming to transform your life in small, simple steps. Featuring stories of: Dr Tererai Trent (Oprah Winfrey’s all-time favourite guest), Arianna Huffington, Stella McCartney, Sir Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Li Cunxin (author of Mao’s Last Dancer), Alisa Camplin-Warner (winner of a remarkable Olympic gold medal), Michelle Obama, and others. Whether you want to get the most out of your personal life, career or business, the insights on dreaming and doing in this book may be your most important learnings this year.
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k by Sarah Knight
A brilliant, hilarious homage to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, showing how to shed your mental clutter for good. Aimed at overachieving but dissatisfied people everywhere. Sarah’s inspirational two-step “NotSorry” program shows how unleashing the power of not giving a fuck will help you shed unwanted guilt and obligations to redirect time, energy, and enthusiasm to your true priorities. Sarah reveals why giving a fuck about what other people think is your worst enemy-and how to stop doing it; how to sort your fucks into four essential categories; simple criteria for whether or not you should give a fuck (i.e. “Does this affect anyone other than me?”); and the two keys to successfully not giving a fuck without also being an asshole.So, get rid of the mental clutter, ditch the perfectionism and create the life you want – for good.
For the boss
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. Candid, humble, wry and gutsy, he begins with his crossroads moment when at 24 he decided to start his own business. He details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream – along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls how his first band of partners and employees soon became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything. A memoir rich with insight, humour and hard-won wisdom, this book is also studded with lessons – about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.
Taskmaster by Alex Horne
Taskmaster- 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People is the first book based on Dave’s flagship game show with a difference. In the show Greg Davies, as the Taskmaster, sets a series of ridiculous tasks to a group of comedians with Alex Horne assisting as his right-hand man, coaxing the hopeful champions to think creatively while completing various challenges – from trying to paint the best picture of a horse (while riding an actual horse), to destroying a cake in the most beautiful way. Taskmaster- 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People is the closest thing to being a contestant on the show (without being a contestant on the show). It is a painstakingly plotted, carefully crafted collection of preposterous tasks, a personal introduction to the Taskmaster world and a fully-interactive guide to indulging your competitive streak with friends and family from the comfort of your own living room. From making the most artistic tea-stain on the page to creating a self-portrait while blindfolded, this book requires you to think – and draw – outside of the box. Rivalry is encouraged, dodgy tactics rewarded and bribes accepted. In short, the reader gets the total Taskmaster experience in the form of a book. Part board-game, part choose-your-own-adventure, part self-help guide, it is to books what Taskmaster is to TV; uniquely original and deviously addictive. Expect cheating. Expect arguments. Expect both cheating AND arguments.
For the person you’ve only ever seen in the lift
The Honey Badger Guide to Life by Nick Cummins
Are you jaded by modern life? Do you dream of ‘going rogue, running hard, standing tall, fearing nothing, getting off the grid and attacking life?’ Then meet The Badger . . . The Honey Badger Guide to Life is a maverick guide to a better life for anyone who wants to live at maximum revs and get smarter, stronger and happier in the process. With his hilarious stories, Aussie eccentricity, dedication to family and incredible lust for life, Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins has inspired Australians of all ages. The Honey Badger Guide to Life teaches novice Badgers how to survive and thrive in the urban jungle with tips on health and hygiene, sex and romance, culture and cooking, money and career, life and death, manners and morals, friends and family. Buckle up and listen in as The Badger schools you in how to; Give a speech, Win an argument, Administer a ‘man hug’, Tell a joke, Break-up with a bird, Survive in the wild, Stare down a bull and much more! Jam-packed with crazy yarns, dinkum Badger-isms and practical wisdom acquired on his adventures around Australia and the world, this hilarious, warm (and weird) book will enlighten, entertain, baffle and inspire you to embrace life . . . just like The Honey Badger.
Suburbia: The Familiar and Forgotten by Warren Kirk
“The sentiment that flows through these images is a balm to the knowledge that time is passing and things will change,” – William McInnes. Warren Kirk’s photos will strike a chord with anyone who’s grown up in the Australian suburbs in the past 50 years. Somehow both achingly familiar and unimaginably strange, these luminous images continue his 30-year project of documenting a way of life that is slowly disappearing, along with the people who lived it. Taken with loving attention and considerable skill, and with the utmost respect for the people and places that appear in them, Kirk’s photos of shops and houses, of gardens and lounge-rooms, of people surrounded by the things they love, are beautifully evocative and powerfully nostalgic.
We can’t get enough of this wonderful Ted Talk by Grace Lin, it’s such a great reminder that the books on the bookshelf can be both mirrors and windows for our children.
August usually brings new releases in thrillers, sports biographies and political/military history – typical “Father’s Day Gift” books. But what if your dad is not a typical Dad? This year, Team Booko has looked further, to see what other interesting titles we can find. So here’s our pick of quirky, challenging and absorbing reads for the thoughtful, intellectual and playful Not-Average-Dads out there.
Dads are the Original Hipsters by Brad Getty
Help your dad relive his youth with this collection of photos from the 60s, 70s and 80s, which comprehensively show that dads are the original hipsters. See these vintage dads grow big beards, ride fixies, listen to vinyl, wear tight jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, and drink home brew (craft beer!). The snarky captions lovingly make fun of modern hipsters (and dads). Dads are the Original Hipsters started life as a blog (a modern badge of quality – only the most successful blogs get book deals) and it screams “Father’s Day novelty gift” – in an ironic way, of course. Lots of fun for dads and kids of a certain age, and for new hipster dads too!
Reservoir Dad by Clint Greagan
Reservoir Dad is another successful blog-turned-book. Clint Greagan is a stay-at-home dad who has spent the last ten years tending to four young sons and a prize-winning blog. Reservoir Dad is a record of those ten years – the funny bits, the sentimental bits, the gross bits and the frustrating bits. Clint Greagan is funny, bawdy and candid as he writes about juggling parenting and relationship maintenance (with the lovely Reservoir Mum). He is insightful about his non-traditional role, and his masculine perspective on parenting is refreshing. Reservoir Dad won’t just resonate with stay-at-home-dads, but with anyone who has ever wrangled young kids; it offers comfort and solidarity to shell-shocked young parents too.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715 – 2015 by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker and M. Esguerra Clarissa
Blame Queen Victoria for making men’s fashion so bleak and boring – prior to her era, elegance in menswear often meant vibrant colours and intricate decorations. Luckily for men who love to express themselves through clothes, history is coming full circle, with colour and flair returning to men’s fashion. Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear is the stunning coffee-table book accompanying its namesake exhibition at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Tracing 300 years of history, it celebrates works by iconic designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Saville Row tailors. Designs are analysed to show how historic dress continues to influence current fashions, and how menswear, like womenswear also use padding and shaping to express body ideals. Reigning Men offers fascinating history, splendid imagery as well as design inspiration.
Who Stole My Spear by Tim Samuels
What does being a man mean, in the age of man-buns and paleo diets? Societal expectations about “good masculinity” is changing rapidly, with efforts to destroy long-standing blokey attitudes that favour sexism and violence. Men as a gender is still advantaged, but on an individual level, many are struggling against expectations to be everything to everyone: career high-achiever, committed spouse, hands-on parent. Who Stole My Spear is Tim Samuels’ survey of what men and masculinity is all about in modern society, with discussions on corporate culture, monogamy, relationships and parenthood, religion, pornography and mental health. Its lightheartedness makes for easy reading yet does not detract from the confronting questions it poses.
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food is not the usual grilling/barbecuing-themed cookbooks normally pitched at men; instead it aims to explain the science behind cooking and tasting. Understanding why particular techniques are used will turn cooking from black art to logical process – which helps beginner cooks achieve better and more consistent results. It also helps more experienced cooks learn how to cook beyond following recipes. And not only the explanations are good, the recipes sound delicious too – from simple dishes like pancakes to fancy ones such as duck confit. Written by a software engineer and published by O’Reilly Media (better known for computer-related texts), its geek pedigree is never in doubt, but Cooking for Geeks will also appeal to anyone who loves to understand the “why” of everything.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Recently I saw Outlander referred to as “a good starting point for men to get into romance novels” and can’t resist sharing this suggestion.
It works because Outlander is not just a love story; as we follow the adventures of Claire Randall, a 20th-century nurse who unintentionally time-travels to 18th-century Scotland, her story encompasses fantasy, history, action (and war), political intrigue, and sex as well as burgeoning romance. Fans love it for its clever mix of genres, historical detail, excellent character development as well as Diana Gabaldon’s emotionally-affective writing. An acclaimed TV adaptation offers another way to engage with this beloved book series.
For more Father’s Day ideas (even the more traditional kind), check out our Pinterest board.
Growing up, books were how you made sense of the world. Some books stood the test of time and made a lasting impression, along with the ‘life lessons’ they conveyed. Here is a retro list of some of the books you enjoyed as a child and the lessons they taught us:
Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines….”
The first few lines of Madeleine always seem to spring from your memory easily. The series of Madeleine books contain rich, intricate artwork and beautiful rhyming prose. In a world where precision and order was admired and encouraged, Madeleine was feisty, brave and always up for an adventure.
Life lesson: Be courageous
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
“Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy.” The Giving Tree has been a popular childhood book for the last 50 years. 50 years! The boy and the giving tree have a relationship where they can communicate. At various stages throughout the boy’s life, they boy comes to the tree asking for something to solve a problem, which the tree gives, selflessly, until there is nothing left to give. The relationship between the tree and the boy has been described as modelling the parent-child relationship.
Life lesson: Give without keeping score
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
This was our class novel in Grade 7 with one of my favourite teachers. It’s a firm favourite and had the class in floods of tears. Written in 1978 and now made into a film, it’s the story of 2 lonely children who are able to see the magic in each other that many cannot. 5th graders Jesse Aarons befriends a newcomer to the town, Leslie Burke. Both social outcasts, they create the mythical kingdom of Terabithia where they both can truly be themselves. When tragedy strikes, Jesse learns to overcome it.
Life lesson: Friendship conquers all
The Lorax by Dr Seuss
The Lorax was Dr Seuss’ personal favourite among all his books. It’s most commonly thought of as a modern fable: the threat of greed to nature. The idea for the Lorax came from the anger of the author (Ted Geisel). “In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.” The Lorax has been lauded as a brilliant teaching aid when discussing environmental issues with children.
Life lesson: We must speak for the trees (and all other living things).
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden celebrated it’s 100th birthday in 2011. A beloved classic, The Secret Garden is about a young girl called Mary who loses her parents and is sent to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion in England. Lonely and with no-one to play with, she learns of a secret garden on the grounds. A chance meeting introduces her to her cousin Colin who has an unidentified illness which prevents him from walking. Both the garden and Colin thrive from the new friendship.
Life lesson: The only way to have experiences is to leave your comfort zone.
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh is yet another cult classic and essential part of any child’s library. The tales of Pooh and his friends are gently told and illustrated beautifully (I love this one due to the simple and elegant drawings by E.H. Shepherd). Each Pooh tale expresses a range of life lessons, most due, in part, to the bear’s positivity. The values of empathy, gratitude and creative problem-solving are featured in just about every tale, making these books easily digestible values-based stories for children.
Life lesson: Cherish your friends
Philosophy considers Life’s Big Ideas – truth, reality, morals, ethics, existence of God. It is an important intellectual pursuit – but is often associated with dead white males, academic stuffiness and difficult abstraction. Luckily, many philosophers work hard at demystifying philosophy for the general public. These popular philosophy works contextualise philosophy within the modern world, showing their relevance to everyday issues and challenging our values. Some recent bestselling philosophy titles include:
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
The instant success of Alain De Botton’s latest book confirms his status as philosopher du jour. Part-fiction, part-meditation and part-instruction, The Course of Love is about Rabih, a Beirut-born architect, and Kirsten, a Scottish surveyor. We follow their relationship for 14 years – through courtship, marriage, children, domesticity and infidelity. Popping the bubble of the “happily ever after”, Rabih and Kirsten’s story is interspersed with playful, sometimes snarky musings that analyse the reasons behind their actions, and wittily capture what love, sex and relationships mean today. Sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in a romantic relationship, The Course of Love is the long-awaited sequel to Essays in Love (known as On Love in the US), which follows and analyses a love affair from its ecstatic beginning to its despairing end.
A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton
Nigel Warburton is an academic with a knack for clarifying complex ideas – a skill he uses, to great acclaim, for popularising philosophy. His first book, Philosophy: the Basics, is now a classic primer on the topic; he is also the creator of the successful Philosophy Bites podcasts. A Little History of Philosophy is a very readable overview of Western philosophical thought from Socrates to Singer. Each of its 40 short chapters uses a key philosophical question – How do I know what’s real? What does it mean to be free? – to introduce the work of a major philosopher. With a mix of explanation and anecdotes, A Little History of Philosophy is a witty, entertaining book suitable for both inquisitive youngsters and adults.
Thinking of Answers by A. C. Grayling
A.C. Grayling relishes in the role of public intellectual, because he believes that philosophy can help us think through questions that arise in everyday life. Thinking of Answers, a collection of recent writings for publications including The Times, New Statesman and New Scientist, exemplifies his approach. Each essay is a response to a question posed by readers and editors, such as “can money ever be an end in itself?”, and “is friendship the highest form of human relationship?”. These fascinating, tricky questions cover topics as diverse as beauty, sport, Darwinism and travelling. Not only do these responses offer a framework for dealing with life’s tough questions, they are an education in themselves – A.C. Grayling is extremely well-read, and his allusions to literature, history, science (and everything else!) will have you google-hopping from one reference to another.
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically by Peter Singer
Described by New Yorker magazine as “the most influential living philosopher”, Peter Singer has been influencing our moral and ethical thinking for over 40 years, through seminal works such as Animal Liberation. The Most Good You Can Do discusses effective altruism, a social movement that encourages followers to do the most good they can. This has two main components – maximising the time and money we can offer, and determining how to achieve the maximum benefit from these resources (such as by choosing the most effective charitable causes). Using a number of case studies, Peter Singer shows that effective altruism can bring greater meaning and fulfilment in our lives, while making a real difference in alleviating extreme poverty.
Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World by John Shelby Spong
John Shelby Spong is a retired bishop who has been both praised and condemned for his progressive, reformist views on Christianity. The title of this book captures his philosophy perfectly – he argues that current approaches to Christian faith, with its emphasis on a supernatural God and a preference for literal interpretations of the Bible, can no longer be reconciled with our current (scientific) understanding of the world. Instead Bishop Spong advocates a more analytical approach, common among bible scholars but often frowned upon in congregations. Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World is John Shelby Spong’s guide to the origin, context and meaning of the Bible, book-by-book from Genesis to Revelations. Its critical analysis and fresh insights help guide readers towards their own understanding and engagement with Christianity.
My Son’s Kindergarten class have incorporated the concepts from the book ‘Have you filled a bucket today?’ into their everyday vernacular. The book uses the metaphor of a bucket to explain how positive behaviours have an effect of ‘filling’ others’ as well as your own bucket. Negative behaviour has the opposite effect.
Books seem to be an easy way to teach values in a relatable way for children. In today’s blog we explore 6 popular books that teach positive behaviours in children:
Have you filled a bucket today? by Carol McCloud
This award-winning book is based around the metaphor that everyone has an invisible bucket that can be filled or dipped into by a person’s actions (or the actions of another towards this person). Having such an easily relatable concept as a ‘bucket’ helps children understand the impact of their actions and words on others.
The Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Gosh, what a fantastic title for a book. There is a mine-o-saur that lives in our house that could surely benefit from this book. The mine-o-saur in this books grabs all the toys, blocks and snacks, shouting “Mine, mine, mine.” When will he learn the secret to making friends is sharing? The value ‘sharing is caring’ is explored in this colourful and beautifully illustrated book.
One Hen : How One Small Loan made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
What I love about this book is how it teaches children about what life can be like for others, particularly in countries where affluence is not so prevalent. Based on a true story, tells of how a poor Ghanaian boy buys a chicken through a community loan program, which eventually helps lift him, his mother, and his community out of poverty.
The Empty Pot by Demi
The value taught in this book is honesty, which can be challenging to model when you’re trying to compete in a society that values winning above all else. Set in China, Ping is set a challenge by the Emperor to grow a flower from seeds that will never bear flowers. When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.
Sam Tells Stories by Thierry Robberecht
The best way to make new friends is to try and impress them, right? This is certainly the case for a lot of children (including mine). This book explores the process and how honesty is the best policy. Sam tries to win his new classmates over by telling a story that isn’t true. When he is confronted with the truth, he decides to set the record straight and learns the benefits of honesty in the process.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Is there anything more gruelling than the first day of school when you don’t know a soul? Maya tries to befriend Chloe who, in turn, makes fun of her shabby clothes and refuses to play with her. Their teacher takes a lesson on kindness and Chloe realises that her behaviour has been wrong. This book is beautifully written and illustrated. It also doesn’t end in the conventional way we are conditioned to expect books to. There isn’t a happy ending and Chloe learns that her opportunity to show kindness to Maya was lost.
Consider what words of advice, experiences or books you have read that have made a lasting impact on your life. The best thing about reading when you are going through a challenging time or even just a period of change, is that someone who has been there before can help, if only in a small way. Here are our recommendations of books that have changed our lives for the better, or tipped our perspective on its head for a moment in time.
The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons
The funny thing is, we feel like we have a reasonable understanding of how our mind works. The authors of ‘The Invisible Gorilla’ challenge this when they show just how our mind plays tricks on us and why people succumb to everyday illusions. The Invisible Gorilla shows how our intuition deceives us and how we can ‘train our brain’ to withstand it’s effects.
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Why does the line at the grocery store always slow down when we join it? In this book, Harvard psychologist Gilbert argues that our ability to remember past happiness is flawed. Added to this is that our ability to predict what will make us happy is not well developed. The net result is that our human minds are working against our own happiness. This book explores how we can best challenge ourselves to seek happiness.
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The premise of this book is that every day you go to work to trade the hours of your life for money. If you spend that money on things you don’t need, you are essentially trading your life for material possessions that don’t add value to your life. This is a classic financial self-help book that offers a nine-step program for how to live a more meaningful life, showing readers how to get out of debt, save money, reorder priorities, and convert problems into opportunities.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
“A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” A classic book that has helped thousands for over a century, “As a Man Thinketh” is based on the premise of ‘you are your thoughts’ and provides a guide on how to use your thoughts to the betterment of your life.
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
This book explores the thinking that the internet, for all its instantaneous information, is making us stupid. We are losing the ability to think deeply due to the ease with which we can easily source the answers to just about any question we can think of. “The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.”
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicolas Taleb
From the author of international bestseller The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness is the bestselling account of the hidden role of chance in life and the markets.Everyone wants to succeed in life. But what causes some of us to be more successful than others? Is it really down to skill and strategy – or something altogether more unpredictable? This book is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world.