Peace of Mind: Our Reading List
Dear Reader – it’s March 2020. In the future, we will look back on this time when the Coronavirus pandemic gripped us all and a state of panic took hold. At the AHC, we wanted to offer both a break from the difficulty of the time and offer some light-relief as well as tips on staying physically & mentally healthy and staving off boredom when isolating – #isolateinluxury
One part of our mental health series ‘Peace of Mind’, is our reading list. What could be better than picking up a great read and settling in, perhaps by an open fire or in a deep hot bath, with a glass of wine or a cuppa? We hope Reader, that people took some inspiration from what our team are reading – and joined in with our virtual book club.
Wake Up: Why the World has Gone Nuts by Piers Morgan
Read by Eloic Montagnier, General Manager at Langshott Manor
I like Piers Morgan. There, I’ve said it. He resonates with me, but until I bought this book I didn’t realise why. Through his book – Wake Up – Morgan clinically dissects and analyses the mainstream headlines and social media trending of the last few years, with a focus on 2020. He is one of those controversial people that you either like or you don’t. But whether you do or don’t this book is one I feel it’s important to read. Morgan begins by educating the reader onf the historical origins of liberalism and then very quickly takes the reader on a whistle stop journey, demonstrating how it’s meaning has been hijacked and weaponised into a tool for the pursuit of virtue-signalling cancel culture and wonkdom. It’s a fascinating read, made more so by the fact that Morgan effortlessly lays bare this growing insurgency for the reader to evaluate, whilst impervious to public derision and safe in the sanctity of Wake Up’s 343 pages. I look forward to his next book.
Mad Girl, by Bryony Gordon. Read by Elliott Wakefield, Marketing Director
I read ‘Mad Girl’ at the beginning of 2020 on recommendation from a friend and I love the strap line – ‘a happy life in a mixed up mind’ (or world right now!). This is not a self-help book as Bryony asserts several times – more a retrospective observation of her 20s and early 30s, with the voice and perspective of someone who should, and indeed does, know better. Her wit and style is laugh-out-loud funny; the girl who is so challenged by her OCD that checking the iron is off simply isn’t enough – she’s taking it with her. It’s also sobering and at points highly emotional too – in a time of great focus on our mental health, Bryony shines an unflinchingly honest light on her illness and subsequent behaviour and downward spirals that resonates I think in varying degrees on personal levels for each Reader. There is something we can all take from her grit and courage and her determination to expose herself emotionally, giving her often dry opinion of her own behaviour but knowing too that we will be examining it too. It’s a brave book, written with charm, humour and honesty that allows you to look through the eyes of mental illness, and whether you also suffer or not, it gives a refreshing perspective on the issues surrounding mental health and is well worth a read.
The Lido, by Libby Page Read by Amanda Dougans, Marketing Manager
The Lido was my book club’s first book for 2020 and I loved it. I’m usually a thriller kind of girl but really loved this change of genre. (Best thing about a book club is that you read books that you might not normally choose). The book focuses on an unlikely friendship that develops between Kate, a 26 year old local newspaper reporter and Rosemary, her 86 year old interviewee as they come together to try and save their local lido. This is such a heart warming (but not schmaltzy) story and a real sense of community weaves through the whole book as we are introduced to the characters in the neighbourhood. Kate and Rosemary’s friendship blossoms as they galvanise their south London neighbours to join them in their fight to save the lido from turning into a luxury apartment complex. Just what is needed in the uncertain times we face – I felt such a sense of belonging and really felt myself rooting for them. Such an uplifting book about the importance of friendship and community and how ordinary people can fight for things they truly believe in.
me . you not a diary, by Dawn French. Read by Elliott Wakefield, Marketing Director
I read ‘me . you’ whilst on honeymoon last February, but I thought if there was a time for an uplifting ‘self-help’ book that urges you to look to the future, now might be it. I can’t say that whilst I was enjoying our time in exotic countries on honeymoon that I was connecting with the book as I might do now. This is less a book and more a gentle guide, sometimes on how to challenge yourself and sometimes on how to meditate and take stock, separated out month by month for the course of the year. Dawn encourages the reader to use the book as they see fit – devour it in a couple of sittings (as I did) or use it each month to start the new phase with the best of intentions, and hopefully to be kind to yourself. I certainly enjoyed the book and it is thought provoking – and now, whilst we are all at home it could be just the tonic to aid a little self-reflection and support our mental resilience. Of course it is peppered with Dawn’s characteristic charm and wit, and I find myself using the phrase ‘bum-tickling’ quite often to describe the sensation of nervy butterflies now!