X Eat Pray Love

    Eat, Pray and Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

    ‘One woman’s search for everything‘ is the tagline of this memoir. And American author, Elizabeth Gilbert, makes a great job of that search. It all boils down to pleasure, devotion and balance. Following her divorce, Gilbert ups sticks from her super successful life in New York and heads out into the world to discover what she truly wants from life. This involves living on spaghetti in Rome and taking Italian lessons from a pair of hot twins, three months at an ashram in India, scrubbing the temple floor at midnight before ending the year falling in love in Bali. Readable and funny, this voyage of self discovery will make you laugh out loud and want to jump ship immediately.

    X Shantaram

    Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

    “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”… So begins the adventurous tale of Lin – a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes from prison and ends up settling in the underworld of contemporary Mumbai. Set amongst the city’s hidden society of beggars, gangsters, prostitutes, holy men, soldiers and actors, it’s action-packed– think burning slums, passionate love affairs, Bollywood, war in Afghanistan, betrayal, and pretty much everything else out there. Gear up – this is a long but mesmerizing book which you’ll never want to put down.

    X The Hundred-foot Journey

    The Hundred-Foot Journey, DVD

    It’s east and west at its best here with this feel-good movie produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. The Kadam family displaced from Mumbai end up in a tiny village in the south of France and open a restaurant ‘Maison Mumbai’, 100 feet from the one-Michelin star restaurant “Le Saule Pleureur” run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Cue great rivalry however hearts are softened when Madame discovers a culinary genius in the young Hassan Kadam and takes him under her wing. Further enchantment follows with a blossoming romance between Hassan and her pretty sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) and even love for Madame Mallory herself. Heartwarming stuff.

    X 81FZeUD4wXL._SL1500_

    Flow Yoga: Strength & Stability with Nadia Narain, DVD

    It’s time to make sure that your body doesn’t fall to pieces. And Nadia Narain has the answer:  Flow Yoga. She’s hot on ‘building strength’. This, in turn, gives you correct alignment by increasing the supportive power of your muscles. It won’t happen overnight but be patient  – it’s worth it. Starting with session one, you slowly build up each day, moving onto the next programme when you are ready for a more challenging routine. Practice – and you will emerge a more powerful, stronger and stable you.

    X Half of a yellow sun

    Half of A Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

    Adiche, author of Purple Hibiscus, has triumphed once again with this heart-breaking masterpiece about the Nigerian Civil War. Village boy, Ugwu, goes to work for Odenigbo, a radical university professor. Shortly afterwards, they are joined by Olanna, a young woman who has abandoned a life of privilege to live with her charismatic lover. Into their world comes Richard, an English writer who has fallen for Olanna’s sharp-tongued twin sister, Kainene. However, when bloody civil war engulfs the nation in 1967, they find their lives brutally torn apart and drastically changed in ways they could never have imagined.

    X A map of the world

    A Map of The World, Jane Hamilton (Black Swan, £2.10)

    Piercing drama about guilt, betrayal and the power of forgiveness. Alice and Howard Goodwin’s peaceful life is shattered when a neighbour’s two-year-old drowns in the Goodwins‘ pond while under Alice’s care. Tormented by the accident, Alice descends into further darkness when she is accused of sexually abusing a student at the school where she works. Soon, Alice is arrested, jailed and as good as convicted in the eyes of her suspicious community. Now, Alice must find her way again, using her own map of the world, as she fights through a maze of lies, doubt and ill will.

    X Unknown 2

    The Body Balance Plan, Emine Ali Rushton

    Clear, concise, intelligent. This is what the world has been waiting for when it comes to Ayurveda. The ancient and philosophical medical system, which originated in the wisdom and spirituality of India, has finally been translated into a language that makes it easily applicable to 21st Century Living – a time when, more than ever, we need to return to the ancient knowledge of our elders. I have found this book to be an indispensable soul nurturer, educational but also readable, with essential nuggets for everyday life, including advice on eating with the seasons, the power of spice, curbing cravings, and understanding your own body type. It is a guide for life. The sort of book you read, and then continue to dip in and out of, which really does say a lot.

    X Tuesdays with Morrie

    Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

    This best-selling memoir by newspaper sports columnist, Mitch Albom, tells of the time he spent with his dying 78-year-old sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. Written initially as a labour of love to help pay for some of Schwartz’s medical bills, this moving book details the fourteen Tuesdays they meet. Interspersed with the professor’s lectures and life experiences, it’s clever and psychologically fascinating. Albom finds himself increasingly inspired by Schwartz’s stories as their rekindled relationship turns into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

    X The Shack

    The Shack, William P. Young

    So extraordinarily good you can’t believe it’s true. Mack’s youngest daughter, Missy, disappears during a family holiday. She is found to have been viciously murdered in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, sunk in his ‘great sadness’, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment, he goes to the shack on a wintry afternoon and steps back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there changes his life forever.

    X Life of Pi

    The Life of Pi, Yann Martel

    ‘Life is a story… You can choose your story… A story with God is the better story is how Yann Martel sums up his fantasy adventure novel. Pi, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, loses his family and their menagerie of animals from the family zoo when their boat taking them to Canada sinks. He survives stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a spotted hyena, an injured Grant’s zebra, an orangutan named Orange Juice and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Barack Obama described Life of Pi as ‘an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling’. Mr Obama is right – this is a book you’ll never forget.

    X The five people you meet in Heaven

    The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

    A book which makes you think. ‘There are no random acts in life’ is the theme of this enchanting novel. In a heroic attempt to save a little girl from being crushed to death on an amusement park ride, maintenance man Eddie is killed. He is sent to Heaven where he encounters five people from loved ones to strangers who signficantly impacted him while he was alive. Big life lessons abound here including: every life touches another; the importance of making sacrifices for others, and that love is never lost in death, it just moves on and takes a different form.

    X Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach

    A spiritual classic celebrating the strength of the individual. Jonathan Livingstone is a seagull frustrated about life. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion. Believing that it is every gull’s right to fly, Jonathan Livingstone leads a peaceful and happy life as he continues to practise. He finds his greatest reward in teaching younger gulls the joy of flight – and, in turn, the power of dreams and the perfection of knowledge. This novella is a delight through and through and a joy for people who follow their hearts.