My own creative writing has been on hold lately because of illness and death in my close family, but I’ve continued to read a few books both old and new, and with the help of the “Your Year in Books” service provided by Goodreads.com compiled a list of my personal Top Ten from 2015.
In the fiction category, I like mystery novels and psychological thrillers. Three of my favourites are The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly, and Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent, all by women writers from the UK.
I didn’t read many new titles in the field of orthodox medicine and psychology last year, with the exception of Trauma by military psychiatrist Gordon Turnbull who specialises in PTSD. Besides reviving memories of my own former career, this was relevant to personal experiences of recent months. For a less orthodox approach, Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth is jointly written by Tommy Rosa who is a survivor of the near-death experience, and holistic cardiologist Stephen Sinatra. While many of the spiritual insights are not new, they are always worth repeating, and this is an uplifting text. As is is A Course in Miracles Made Easy by Alan Cohen, a readable overview for those of us who are unlikely to tackle the original text.
The quirkiest book on my list is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese author Marie Kondo, who has a lifelong passion for organising material possessions. I have yet to attempt putting her system into practice, except to follow the command “Never ball your socks”.
Three very different biographical titles: The Dragon’s Blessing by Guy Allenby tells the life story of Ian Gawler, who has done so much to promote holistic cancer care since his remarkable recovery from a sarcoma. In Disgrace with Fortune by Jean Hendy-Harris, a racy account of the life of a sex worker in London’s Swinging Sixties. And The Last Enemy by Battle of Britain hero Richard Hillary – a book I first read in my teens and have re-read several times since.
This was a difficult choice because there were many other books I found entertaining, interesting or inspiring.