Two Books to Help Get You Through the Winter

After a tiresome year of deadlines and dreary desktops, we’re all in need of a little TLC! So, whether or not you’ve dosed up on some well-deserved Vitamin D, why not replenish your busy minds with a bunch of soothing post summer books? These two remarkable reads will surely set your souls sizzling with both adventure and tranquillity.

IKIGAI, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life 

The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. Beat the boredom of your 9 to 5 with a simple touch of IKIGAI, García and Miralles offer simple quotidian means of applying one small peaceful
principle in order to transform the busy haze of our day to day lives. Having carefully studied the healthy habits of humans from the ‘Blue Zones’, this book brings us inspiring interviews with purpose enriched people who have remarkably reached the ripe old age of 100 (and over). Their sacred secrets of longevity spill across chapters ranging from dietary patterns, physical and mental exercises and captivating quotes.

The international bestseller offers theories primarily centred around the ancient Japanese principle of IKIGAI, a calming technique supposedly attributed to living a long and happy life. The word embodies a soothing sense of self-purpose, joy, inner peace, mindful awareness and flow. But how does one go with their own flow? This is a question which the book encourages you to ask, and eventually answer for yourself as it is inherently subjective to each individual.

You may intend on spending only a few minutes on this one flow activity, but the sheer tranquillity and joy it produces can allow you to lose yourself for up to hours in it- (similar to how I often approach a ‘10 minute’ nap). Nonetheless, this book is as calming and serene as its pale blue, blossom treed front cover. It’ll not only educate you on the peaceful practices of Japanese culture but will prompt you to begin these practices within your own daily life.

Fierce Fairy Tales and Other Stories to Stir Your Soul

Mirror on the wall, you’re the fairest of them all…

Nikita Gill beautifully intertwines modern topics such as mental health, heartbreak, self- esteem and body-image, within the twinkling enchantment of fairy tale poetry. The poet sheds an alternative light on the traditional characters we all know and love, rendering them less far far away, and more relatable to the present day. Tough little Tinkerbell is seen to embrace her commanding temper and misunderstood dragons are deemed as no demons at all.

What I admire the most about this compact collection of poems, is how they invite adults to confront their demons, by reverting back to blissful childhood tales. This time, however, it is not by the conventional help of a knight in shining armour who rescues these characters from their monsters, but instead a timeless triumph of self-love, resilience and
independence. In other words, this book is basically the Beyoncé of fairy tales!

The narrative of each unique poem is applicable to a multitude of people and varying emotions, acting almost as an empowering remedy, which the reader is able to prescribe to themselves as a hopeful reminder that magic and child-like hope most certainly does still exist! Feeling defeated? Read a poem about how Gretel learns to fight off monsters with or without the help of her brother. This wonderfully written collection of short poems ultimately combats the cynicism of reality and replenishes faith in all things enchanting, positive and victorious.

So, this Winter, I challenge you to dive into this mystical poetic quest, which can even have you re-embarking on your own. As Nikita Gill puts it herself, this book is; ‘for you, who has never forgotten the magic. It wants you to know it remembers you too’…

I hope I’ve encouraged you to get stuck into these two incredible books to help escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. If you aren’t lucky enough to be chasing the sun, I hope you will enjoy these post-summer reads as much as I did. Keep shining from the inside out!