Books

my favourite books of 2017

books of 2017

 

I can't be the only person rubbing their eyes and thinking "Oh God, how is it the end of February already?!"...but here I am. I've never really managed to do my best books post of the year in a timely fashion - but I'm determined to never let it get to August like I did several years ago. In my defence, I had spent all of that year writing my own book! 

This time, instead of doing a measly Top 10 which is always difficult to whittle down, I'm just going to pick my favourites and tell you why, in the hope that you'll be moved to check them out too.

So here goes, of the 83 books I read in 2017, these were the ones that stood out. And as always, because I read and savour them like novels, cookbooks are included. 

My favourite book of the year - After by Nikki Gemmell

I am still reeling from this gaping wound of a book. Written in the aftermath of her mother's suicide, Nikki's words made me think long and hard about the relationship between a mother and daughter, how it can be so brutal and beautiful. After was absorbing, heartbreaking, thoughtful, tender, anguished and, as always, beautifully written. 

Fresh India by Meera Sodha

Absolutely stunning, and the first cookbook to make me feel hungry again after having the worst flu of my life over Christmas (sob!). I made the temple tomato rasam as a gentle reintroduction to solid food and it was exquisite. The smell of the garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and curry leaves frying together was so restorative I almost wept. Every recipe of Meera Sodha's I've made - whether from this book or from her Guardian column - has been sensational so I'd highly recommend you check her out if you like to cook. 

The Dry by Jane Harper

I'd heard great things about this book and wasn't disappointed. Even though I'm not normally a crime fiction person, I've been reading more and more of them lately! The Dry was riveting and well-written, brilliantly paced and intricately plotted. I didn't see the twist coming, which is always a good sign. I found the portrait of the claustrophobic, drought-ridden country town very authentic too. 

When It Happens To You by Molly Ringwald

Yes, *that* Molly Ringwald - who is as compelling a storyteller with the written word as she is on screen and stage. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this "novel in stories" had me intrigued from the first page. Over the course of the book, through these stories where the lives of various characters (convincingly) intersect, Ringwald creates a world where these flawed but ultimately good people find their lives punctured by betrayal, in its various forms. It's realistic and compelling reading, and her writing has a lovely lyrical quality in places. The characters are brought to life beautifully, I particularly enjoyed Betty the neighbour, and how the philandering Phillip was welcomed back into his estranged family. It's a book that makes you think, not just about life and family and relationships, but how might you feel, as the title suggests, when it happens to you.

My Life in France by Julia Child (a re-read)

I re-read this last summer in preparation for my first trip to Paris in over seven years. This is one of my favourite books and this read of it reminded me why. It is just pure joy, from start to finish. Julia finds herself in a foreign country, not speaking the language, knowing very few people and wanting to discover her purpose in life. "At age thirty-seven, I was still discovering who I was," she writes. I feel very similarly! Her delight in discovering the pleasures of food and cooking, and her incredible work ethic and refusal to give up on a project she believed in wholeheartedly, is a balm for the soul for anyone feeling a little cynical or dejected. Never give up! 

Island in the East by Jenny Ashcroft

A luscious historical novel that has a bit of everything - love, war, betrayal, heartbreak, tragedy, redemption and hope - resulting in a sumptuous, evocative read with characters that will linger in your mind long after you've finished reading. And, at time of writing, it's only £1.99 on Kindle! 

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski

I heard about this book on the Tea and Tattle podcast special Persephone Books episode, where Miranda and Sophie discussed their favourites. I read it in one weekend. It was absolutely breathtaking. It was desperately sad at times, even depressing, as it follows a father's journey to try and find his missing five-year-old- son after the Second World War, but all in all, it is a stunning novel about loss and hope. I'd even go so far as to say it's a masterpiece. 

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater

I think Nigel Slater could write a book about paint drying and it would still be a bestseller. This book is magnificently evocative and poetic in true Nigel style as he shares with us a celebration of his favourite time of year - Christmas, and winter in general. A cold Christmas is something I've wholeheartedly embraced living in the UK and for the very first time ever, I looked forward to winter after reading this book. All of his ideas - like enjoying a white port and tonic, in the same way you'd enjoy gin - are delicious and inspiring. A must-read for the colder months.

Between A Wolf And A Dog by Georgia Blain

Sometimes I think the best novels are those that are set over the course of just one day. Let's face it, a lot can happen. Between A Wolf And A Dog explores the goings on of one rainy day (and a little bit into the next) in Sydney, in the lives of several characters in one family, by blood and by marriage. Blain explores the pain and heartbreak of separation and betrayal, how life as we know it can be over in an instant, and captures the minutiae of life, from the sound of the rain falling to the colour of an enamel ring on a character's hand, with a poet's touch. The plight of one character's fate is all the more poignant knowing that Blain herself passed away not long after the novel was published. It's a wonderful book and hammers home all the more that the Australian literary community lost someone very special indeed with her passing.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

A completely gripping and engrossing novel with two parallel narratives. In the style of Sliding Doors, you see two storylines playing out if the protagonist, Joanna, had made a different decision. That decision is whether to leave the scene of a crime, or to dial 999 and hand herself in. I was completely engrossed in this novel as the story played out and Joanna grappled with the aftermath of this incident in both scenarios. The anxiety, guilt and fear that she feels - in both storylines - is palpable and will have you turning the pages! It's the sort of story that certainly makes you wonder how you would react if you were ever in the same situation. At the time of writing, it's only 99p on Kindle which is an absolute bargain!

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle

Having written a book about self-discovery after a marriage breakdown myself, I knew I'd enjoy this (and undoubtedly think "oh, she put that so much better than I did!"). I found it relatable on so many levels, not just the marriage breakdown side of things because ultimately this is a book about learning to save yourself, rather than a marriage, or anyone else. It's courageous and candid, and I'd highly recommend it if you've found yourself at a crossroads in life and need to see that it is possible to find your way through to the other side. 

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

A fabulous read - what a warm, witty writer Lauren Graham is. I especially liked the sections of the book that reflected on her own writing practice. It revolutionised my own writing practice last year and reacquainted me with the idea of good old fashioned discipline! Funny and inspiring.

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Normally I gulp books down in a day or two, sometimes hours, but occasionally one comes along that demands careful savouring. This was one of them. One of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver turns her exquisite touch to essays in this collection which covers everything from the creative life, meditations on the work of her own favourite writers like Poe and Whitman, or observing nature, such as a spider making a web in the stairwell of a rented house at 5am each day.  I love her boundless curiosity, and how she lives so thoughtfully and intelligently.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

One of the best books on grieving, trauma and healing that I've ever come across. Within just a few pages I was trying not to cry as Sheryl shared the terrible story of her husband's sudden death and the painful aftermath of it. It's a very readable and relatable book with lots of personal insight, research and practical advice - even, believe it or not, humour (she uses sarcasm to great effect in places!) - which anyone navigating a loss I'm sure will find helpful and of comfort.  It's a real tribute to human resilience. 

So, not a bad reading year....and my favourites only had one bloke (and a fabulous bloke at that) among them! In 2018 I'd like to read more British women writers and more women in translation. 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What were your favourite reads of last year? Do you have any goals for your reading this year? Do let me know!

The links to the books in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. 

if you want eternity you must be fearless: my favourite reads of 2016

Let's get something out in the open straight away - 2016 was a sucky old year in many, many respects and I for one was not sorry to see the back of it. This year, 2017, already feels lighter, like the heavy energy of the last twelve months has lifted. That said, there are still a few loose ends to be tied up and one of them was deciding on my favourite reads of the year and sharing them on the old blog, as has become a Phil Tradition.

I thought it would be hard to narrow down, as always, but for a change there was a clear winner....the book I was most excited about in 2016 and most enjoyed reading, in fact I enjoyed it so much I read it twice in two months, was The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose (Allen and Unwin, 2016).  It hasn't been released in physical form in the UK, so last September when one of my best friends was visiting, she brought me a copy over, mere weeks after release! 

The Museum of Modern Love  by Heather Rose

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Heather is one of my heroes. She has been publishing wonderful, exquisitely written fiction, for adults and children, for the best part of two decades now. Whenever someone has asked me in the past to name my favourite writers, and I listed Heather among them, nine times out of ten they wouldn't have heard of her. But this novel is getting her some much deserved and long overdue attention in Australian literary circles - in fact, it's been shortlisted for this year's Stella Prize.  (UPDATE: it won!!)

"I think art saves people all the time."

The Museum of Modern Love seems like such a simple story on the surface, but Heather Rose is in fact threading together many, multi-layered, complex themes and ideas, highlighting that simplicity is often a guise for the most complicated things, art most of all.

Intertwined with a unique exploration of art - what it is, what it isn't, how do you get it to mean something, how does the public's reaction to it influence its meaning and power - is a story about love, loss, grief, heartbreak, betrayal and, most of all, courage. 

The novel takes place against the backdrop of a real life event - the three-month performance of 'The Artist is Present' by Marina Abramovic in New York City in 2010. For those who don't know, the piece involved the artist sitting still for 7 hours a day and inviting members of the public to sit opposite her. There was no interaction in the traditional sense - no touching, no speaking - but artist and audience member sat opposite each other and held eye contact, for however short or long a time as the audience member wanted, or could bear. Many found it a very moving experience and came back again, to sit opposite the artist, and to be seen by her. 

"She watched as the final hours of The Artist is Present passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?"

In The Museum of Modern Love, a fictional tale unravels about several people who find themselves witnessing, or participating, in Abramovic's performance and how it affects their lives. The central character is Arky Levin, a celebrated composer of film scores, who is grieving for his terminally-ill wife who hasn't physically died yet but, out of supposedly wanting to spare him grief, moved herself into a care facility and cut off all contact with him.  His 22 year old daughter also seems to want little to do with him. Unsurprisingly, Arky finds inspiration is eluding him. Arky somehow ends up at "The Artist is Present" and, over the course of the next three months, watches the performance unfold and various aspects of his life untangle in response. 

I loved the insight into the creative process from perspectives other than writing and acting - the visual arts, architecture, music composition. For a novel, it is a remarkable manual for artists. It even opens with Marina Abramovic's "Seven Steps" (which I now have pinned on the wall above my writing desk).

Therefore, for me, The Museum of Modern Love is almost a manifesto. Heather Rose is asking us, as we read, to think about art and how we connect with it. Connection, after all, as shown through the interweaving stories of all the novel's characters, is what matters, and art is one of the most powerful ways we can connect with each other. But it takes courage to connect, because in reaching out, in asking to be seen, we make ourselves vulnerable. That is art too. Making art is an act of courage. Therefore, live (and create art) with courage. That is the key ingredient.

This is an original, beautiful and utterly compelling novel. I never tire of Heather's writing - to me, her words are like fine wine, only improving with time.

"Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless."

But wait, there's more

There were so many other books I read in 2016 that I loved, that gave me great comfort, that made me laugh and think, that have been consigned to shelves all within easy reach so I can refer to them again. Here are a few of them!

A Notable Woman  by Jean Lucey Pratt

A Notable Woman by Jean Lucey Pratt

 

I did a lot of research for my current work in progress, which involved reading a lot of war diaries, biographies and history texts about 1940s London. The best of these were A Notable Woman by Jean Lucey Pratt (Canongate, 2015) and Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson (Penguin, 2012). 

Jean Lucey Pratt was a lifelong diarist who also contributed to the Mass Observation project. Her collected diaries - A Notable Woman - cover nearly her whole life, from her first diary as a child in the 1920s to her old age in the 1980s. She was my age during the second world war and her diaries of course focus on those events but also her daily life and concerns, her dreams, anxieties and longings which for the most part remained unchanged by the war and all its dramas and hardships. She was still a woman who was figuring out who she was and what she wanted, and often pondered about all the what ifs, missed chances and the might-have-beens. It made me realise that the only thing that distinguishes each decade in history is technology - the human heart, with all its wants and needs, remains the same. I enjoyed her later years as much as I did the war years. She was funny, brave and inspiring. This book was a joy to read.

Millions Like Us is also a fascinating read, following the lives of a dozen women of various ages and backgrounds and the changes inn their lives over the course of the second world war.....and, most interestingly for me, what happened once peace came. The seeds of the feminist revolution that came a few decades later were sown, but many were keen for life to resume as it was, which made things very complicated. It was absolutely enthralling to read and an impressive piece of work, I highly recommend it.

Nobody Told Me  by Hollie McNish

Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish

Another of my favourite reads of last year was Nobody Told Me (Blackfriars, 2016), a poetry collection by Hollie McNish, which has since won the 2016 Ted Hughes Award. It is a collection of stories, taken from diaries the poet kept during her pregnancy and the early days and years of her daughter's life, of being a young parent in modern Britain. To put it simply - everyone should read Nobody Told Me. Parents, people who want to be parents, and people who don't want to be parents. Those who are and do will feel some solidarity and understanding, those who don't will have their ignorance smashed to smithereens. After reading this book you'll never think 'why would you bring a child on a train at peak hour?' ever again. Hollie's voice is mesmerising, raw, vulnerable, honest, and full of joy. I applaud her and her bravery.

The Course of Love  by Alain de Botton

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

I was also blown away by The Course of Love by Alain de Botton (Simon & Schuster, 2016). Known for his wonderful works of non-fiction, this time de Botton has written a novel that follows the relationship of Rabih and Kirsten over, as the title suggests, the course of their love.

This isn't your typical novel, that's for sure. It reads like a case history in parts, like philosophy in others, and there are other sections where  the writing is very lyrical indeed. Whichever genre you think it might fit best, it is a stunning exploration of what it takes to have a successful long term relationship. I think we all know that falling in love is easy. It is the maintaining of that love over the long term, over the course of our lives, that is the real challenge. 

Basically, the Romantic notion of love is what sets so many of us up for a fall. Romance is only part of the story. We are ready for marriage, de Botton writes, when we are prepared to love rather than be loved and compatibility, he explains, is an achievement of love - it shouldn't be a precondition. 

The exploration of this particular marriage between Rabih and Kirsten covers pretty much everything - disillusionment, loss of desire, adultery, "immature rages, late-night threats of divorce, sullen silences, slammed doors and everyday acts of thoughtlessness and cruelty", as well as the loneliness and fear of being vulnerable that can be felt in long term relationships. Alain de Botton has a voyeur's eye as he zooms in on Rabih and Kirsten, going beyond their physical bodies and into their hearts and minds, where he can see everything and how their past experiences, childhood traumas, their earliest experiences of love and what it meant and how you were supposed to show it, are now playing out in their marriage.  

There are many truths in The Course of Love, some of which (having been through a divorce and now having been repartnered for nearly a decade) I knew very intimately. Some of de Botton's observations were so accurate they made me squirm a little. I highlighted a lot of passages on my Kindle version!

Ultimately, I came away from reading this wonderful, wise book feeling reassured and comforted. Human beings are complicated and no relationship is perfect. Love can be quite messy, entailing a lot of compromise, and de Botton's stance is that you can only ever really love and make a success out of a long term relationship if you are prepared to accept that your partner isn't perfect and inevitably they will disappoint you. So much of our disillusionment in life comes from expecting people (not just our lovers, our friends and families too) to be mind readers and meet our needs without our ever having to articulate them, so we need to take a bit more responsibility for ourselves and our own happiness, rather than pour all our hopes into one person.  Also, the occasional blips that you might worry about are actually far more common than you think (well, that, or Alain de Botton must have had my house bugged at some point!).

I think this book should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking about getting married. Having got divorced at 26, when I remarried at 29 I think I definitely went into it with my eyes wide open and with realistic expectations - spare yourself what I went through in my first marriage to get to that point, however, and read The Course of Love instead! 

I could go on about all the books I read and enjoyed last year - if you want to see them, and what I'm reading on a more regular basis than once a year, I am on Goodreads and you are welcome to add me as a friend! 

The best book of 2017 so far? For me, it would have to be Between A Wolf and A Dog by Georgia Blain. I read it in the first few days of January and the poetic and moving experience of reading it I hope bodes well for the rest of my reading year (it has so far). 

What was the best book you read in 2016? 

 

 

 

The Latte Years is on sale this weekend!

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It's April 25 on Monday and it will be TEN years since I reached my goal and began living a completely different life.  A sweet friend from my blogging days in Melbourne dubbed it "Phil's Revolution Day" and I thought was a most apt description!

To celebrate, The Latte Years e-book is discounted on Kindle, iBooks and Kobo all weekend

And make sure you pop back on Monday because there will be an extra surprise for you!

Happy Phil's Revolution weekend to you all xx

 

where two roads diverged: the latte years hobart launch

The Hobart launch of The Latte Years a few months ago was not unlike a wedding - gathering in great excitement with my parents and siblings at the family home beforehand, with sparkling wine and hair and makeup preparations; a fancy car to take us right to the door; getting my photo snapped the minute I alighted outside Fullers Bookshop; speeches; even a CAKE (!); but most of all, seeing the faces of so many people I love and knowing they were all there to celebrate something very special.

Also like a wedding, it's amazing how suddenly you get so incredibly nervous, knowing that everyone's there because of you! 

But it was wonderful, utterly wonderful, in every way. Like my wedding day, I'd do it all again tomorrow and wouldn't change a thing.

An aside: towards the end of 2004, as it began occurring to me that I needed to start at least trying to extricate the shit out of the blades of the fan that was my life, I joined a T.S Eliot appreciation group that met once a week at Fullers Bookshop in Collins Street, Hobart. I was the youngest person in the group, by about a quarter of a century, but I loved it. Our leader was passionate and inspiring, and it was rocket fuel for my brain that had been lying dormant since graduating from uni two years before. The discussions always ended in the Afterword Cafe, where we were given coffees and slivers of fudge. So to say it was surreal, just over 11 years later, to be back there launching my own book, is something of an understatement! 

If you've ever been to Fullers, you'll know what an oasis it is. It's one of the world's loveliest bookshops, warm and comforting like a favourite relative's house, and smells like two of my most favourite things in the world - books and coffee.  It was amazing to be there, and to see my book everywhere I looked!

My friend and one of my most favourite writers of all time (if you haven't read Mothers Grimm, go and get it now, it's amazing!), Danielle Wood, officially launched The Latte Years. She began by reading a poem very dear to my heart, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", and these are a few of the very kind words that followed:

Phil’s story is not really so much about health, fitness and body issues, but about a journey every single one of us will understand - the journey to being the very best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.
...we are, every single day of our lives, every single moment, confronted by diverging paths. The choice of what to do, what to say, what to think....with each tiny choice, we are forging our character. And that’s what The Latte Years is really all about.

..it’s not a matter of choosing the steep, difficult and challenging path once. As Phil tells us in The Latte Years, you have to keep choosing it. Every single time two roads diverge in a yellow wood. And that will make all the difference.

And then it was my turn to say a few words and, to be honest, I was quite overcome. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love, for everyone in the room. A friend had flown over from New Zealand to be there, another from New South Wales, and another still had flown down from Melbourne that day as a surprise, and casually strolled into Fullers with her baby strapped to her back and into my gobsmacked, overjoyed and utterly overwhelmed arms. There were old friends there, some I've known for 30 years or more; family; former classmates, their partners and children; women who taught me in primary and secondary school; and even a handful of readers I had never met but who wanted to come and say hello (and I'm so glad they did!). It felt strange but unbelievably wonderful that this little book I had drafted and redrafted, smiled and cried over, alone in my study on the other side of the world was now out and being read. It was all now real. It had gone beyond a Word file on my Macbook and was now a real book. I was a real author. And I got to celebrate it by returning to where I'd come from, where the story began.  

Many of you would know that The Latte Years started life as a novel. Fiction is a wonderful vehicle for so many things but in this case, it was a shield. It was a way to distance myself from everything that had happened. I told myself I was trying to make it more universal but in truth it was a way of trying to rewrite the past, to bring everything to more satisfying conclusions than had been reached in real life.

But The Latte Years became the book it was destined to be, and that it needed to be. I had to write this book exactly as it is. Our stories choose us, we don’t choose them.

And the thing about being brave that we’re never told is that it’s not about feeling righteous and invincible, all swords and shields. Being brave is about putting the shield down.

I wrote this book because I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only person in the world who lost their way in their youth and life didn’t turn out as planned. I couldn’t be the only person who went through a divorce in their twenties and had to learn how to heal, trust and love again after heartbreak. I couldn’t be the only one who found out success has a dark side. I couldn’t be the only one who’s had ‘friends’ screw them over. I couldn’t be the only one who has reached a goal, that was once upon a time so out of reach, and then wondered ‘what’s next?’

And it turns out, I’m not. Far from it. The response to The Latte Years has been beyond anything I could have hoped for. I’m so happy that it’s helped so many people, because it’s also helped me. It turns out it was a book even I needed! I needed to remember the strength and power we all have to turn our lives around when we’ve lost our way. I needed to remember how empowering it is to take responsibility for your life and your choices.

Most of all, I needed reminding that the past is the past. I can’t change any of it. And now, I don’t know if I would, even if I could. Because it got me to right here, right now. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.

And then it was time to drink wine and sign some books. By the time we reached the end of the line, my hand hadn't been that sore since university exams in 2001, but it was totally worth it. I was told I had attracted a bigger crowd than Molly Meldrum! Ha ha.

One of the things I didn't anticipate writing a memoir is how INSANELY FUN it is when so many of your 'characters' show up to your book launch...including Sarah and Dave from Canada!! 

How often do you get a  world famous author  show up to your book launch?! I was a squealing fan-girl on the inside!

How often do you get a world famous author show up to your book launch?! I was a squealing fan-girl on the inside!

Fullers were amazing - they even did this gorgeous window display which I couldn't get enough pictures of. Occasionally I stood on the pavement and just stared at it (and got curious stares in return!). 

I know it sounds silly but I'm still having moments of OH MY GOD I WROTE A BOOK IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? and I have occasional moments of overwhelming pride and disbelief, when I see a picture of it being read somewhere, or my own copy on my shelf in my study, that I wrote that. It's still all sinking in, like I wrote in my last post.

Thank you again Fullers Bookshop and if you were there that night in Hobart, thank you for being a part of it. It was one of the happiest nights of my life. 

Now how about a (virtual) piece of that amazing cake? 

the latte years: the first week

This past week has been one of the most surreal weeks of my life, in the best possible way.  On Monday, The Latte Years came out and I felt like I did when I was a little girl and it was my birthday - absolutely beside myself with excitement and like the world was just a little bit magical. 

It has been amazing and frankly mind-blowing to see pictures of The Latte Years on shelves, on Kindles, in hands.

State Theatre bookshop, Hobart. Thank you  Isabel  for the photo!

State Theatre bookshop, Hobart. Thank you Isabel for the photo!

As crazy as this sounds, it’s still sinking in that this is real. It’s a REAL book. Even seeing these pictures I have to pinch myself a little. Possibly because the book isn’t out in bookstores here in London yet (you can get it online though), all the excitement has been happening 17,000 kilometres away. But it’s still been incredible. 

Fullers Bookshop, Hobart. Thank you  Rae  for the photo!

Fullers Bookshop, Hobart. Thank you Rae for the photo!

On Kindle! Thanks  Mezz  for the photo! 

On Kindle! Thanks Mezz for the photo! 

Readings Malvern, Melbourne. Thank you to my friend Leanne for the photo!  You can see a whole album of where  The Latte Years  has been spotted all over Australia and the world on my  Facebook page . 

Readings Malvern, Melbourne. Thank you to my friend Leanne for the photo!

You can see a whole album of where The Latte Years has been spotted all over Australia and the world on my Facebook page

As I sat alone in my study - almost this time last year - on the other side of the world, forcing myself back into Hobart of 2005 and Melbourne of 2006, and beyond, I wondered whether this was actually going to end up being anything worth reading, whether it would help anyone, whether I was doing the right thing. 

Writing The Latte Years took everything I had. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. 100 marathons would have been easier and I'd have had a more toned backside to show for it! But already, after just one week, I feel I have been repaid a thousand times over. I know it was all worth it. I’ve just been blown away by how people have reacted to this book so far - it’s beyond anything I dared to hope for. 

This book goes very well with coffee. Thank you to my friend  Phillippa  for the photo!

This book goes very well with coffee. Thank you to my friend Phillippa for the photo!

Every day I’ve been waking up to messages from people who have read it. People who stayed up until 1, 2 or 3am to finish it because they couldn’t put it down. People who have gone out and bought more copies for their friends. People who now feel less alone. People who are now inspired and fired up to do something outrageous and brave with their lives.

Which is exactly why I wrote it. 

The enthusiastic and loving reception my book has had so far is so incredibly humbling. I don’t think I’ve ever said the words ‘thank you’ so much in my life but it’s something I feel with every fibre of my being right now - thankful. So very, very thankful.

Have a lovely week, friends! And if you've bought a copy of The Latte Years, thank you! 

Much love, Phil xx