For most of us, the holidays are starting to seem like a distant memory! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun….I took it really easy over the holidays and spent most of my time lounging/ lifeguarding by the pool while the kids basically lived in it. This gave me lots of time to read some inspiring books!
I chose my holiday reading stack really well!
I enjoyed each and every page – so much so that I read all 6 books in the last 3 weeks! And because I’ve enjoyed them so much, I thought I’d share my thoughts on them over here. So bookmark this post if you are keen for a new read!
Inspiring Books I Read Over the Holiday Season
The Meaning of Mariah Carey
I started reading this one just days before Christmas – how fitting! Mariah is the queen of Christmas after all. I absolutely loved this book. I used to study music while I was at school (up until I was in grade 10) and Mariah was the subject of one of my assignments I had to do. I thought I knew alot about her but wow there is so much more to her story. It also goes to show how little information was actually available back then without the internet 🙂
Mariah has a reputation for being a Diva with many demands, but there is so much more to that story and the book provides so much insight into it all.
Mariah has had a phenomenal career (still does) but there has been many mishaps and struggles along the way. Her childhood wasn’t easy and I felt really inspired reading about her humbling and healing she has been through.
If you’re a Mariah fan, I would highly recommend this one!
“Bassie – My Journey of Hope” by Basetsana Kumalo
Former Miss South Africa, Basetsana Kumalo, is a South African personality we all know. The former beauty queen has been on our television screens for many years, presenting on Top Billing and also produced many television shows we are all familiar with.
But her story is so much deeper than this. In the book Bassie shares intimate stories of her relationships with her mentors, including Nelson Mandela. Bassie has ultimately paved the way for many others in this country, especially women of colour and that is what makes her story so extraordinary.
As a South African women, I would highly recommend you read this one!
“Beautiful World, where are you” by Sally Rooney
If you’re a happily married millennial like me and have absolutely no clue about how it is to have a crush on someone or date someone in this day and age – this book will give you a taste of it – ha!
What’s it about?
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix who works in a warehouse and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
This is the second Sally Rooney novel I’ve read – Normal People, was the first. Loved them both!
Rise by Siya Kolisi
It was absolutely great to read Siya’s story in his own words. The book is a reflection of his childhood, his personal struggles, his career thus far as well as some of his goals for the future.
I loved reading the behind the scenes of some of the most historic rugby matches he played as well as the Rugby World Cup where he led the Springboks and brought home the trophy!
Siya is a true inspiration and not just on the rugby field. He leads with a positive mindset and his book is a reminder that anything is possible!
You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union
I was really looking forward to reading this one and saved it for the holidays! I read Gabrielle Union’s previous book titled “We’re going to need more wine” and absolutely loved her short stories.
You got anything Stronger? is basically a follow up memoir to We’re going to need more wine, and it literally kicks off where she left off in 2017. This book has a big focus on her family life including that of her infertility struggles and experiences with friends and family.
Gabrielle Union covers so many different eye-opening topics in her short stories – racism, aging, life as a black actress in Hollywood, parenting and more.
I highly recommend you read “We’re going to need more wine” before this one!
Wahala by Nikki May
I received a review copy of this one from Penguin Books. I absolutely loved this quirky story of 3 friends who have quite the personalities. But then there’s a “frenemy” from the past who steps in their circle and all the drama unfolds!
What’s it about?
Ronke, Simi and Boo are inseparable mixed-race friends living in
London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English,
though not all of them choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their
thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he
must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home
motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her
eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in
town, she is determined to fix their futures for them. Cracks in
their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is
not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the
women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may
just have repeated itself.
The storyline is rich in culture and you can literally taste the food they talk about throughout! There are even some recipes at the end of the book!
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I had to bring out the tissues for this one! It’s unbelievable that someone going through the absolute most had the courage to share their story in the most poignant way.
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.
It’s an incredibly sad yet beautiful read by a remarkable person. A must read!
Have you read anything inspiring over the holidays? I’d love to hear.