Book 1: Harry Potter.
Naturally. I did my PhD on this series, it got me into research and thinking critically about texts, and it brought me into contact with dozens of incredible people who love this series as well. It was my first fandom and the thing that ties me to so many other fans who share the same passion for the little boy who lived under the stairs.
Book 2: The Lord of the Rings.
Another one I’ve researched and written about. I love the scope of this series and how it drills down to the core of the characters so that the reader can really see what makes them tick. The mythos around JRR Tolkien as a man also fascinates me – every year I re-read his biography so that I can be inspired by his intensity of focus and his passion for his scholarship.
Book 3: On Writing.
I bought this in the first month after I moved to Sydney, where I eventually earned my journalism degree. I still read it over and over again. This is the book that got me thinking that maybe I COULD be a writer, in the traditional sense, instead of going the journalism route because I wanted a more secure trade.
But for real, though – this was a life changer and a LIFE SAVER during my PhD. I credit it for my scholarly output over the last few years.
Day 5: Brave New World.
I had to read this for school. At the time, I thought it was ok. It wasn’t until I read 1984 that I realised how complex and compelling Brave New World actually was. 1984 was clearly a dystopian nightmare that shows how terrible it is when the government takes control over individual freedom. Brave New World was far, far worse because it was actually convincing. The way that it was written seems to give the reader the sense that taking away peoples’ freedoms is the best option. In the end, I wasn’t sure whose side I was on in that particular conflict.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Chapter 10 is almost word for word how I felt when I was finishing my PhD and it was weird but great to see that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. It really went a long way to helping me articulate how I felt at the time.
How to be a Bawse. Excellent book about stoicism in business (though it never actually says the word). Also, just a really great read.