These books, I must confess, are usually of the self help variety - an unfortunate addiction I have been unable to kick for many years. Ah, the hours I have spent lurking in the "Mind, Body, Spirit" section of Waterstones, lovingly inhaling the aroma of proper printed books, tinged occasionally with a waft of Costa Coffee.
I have never had the brass-faced cheek, mind you, to plop myself down on the chairs provided and start reading a book cover to cover. Some people obviously don't know their bookshop from their library. And who'd want to buy a book that someone has already thumbed, scuffed or otherwise defaced, however, infinitesimally?
Anyway, the pile has grown to a structurally unsafe mound and I must confess that not all of these books have not actually been read cover to cover. To give you a rough idea of my various current passions, I've listed some of them below and included links to them on Amazon, lest you wish to join me in my odyssey of weirdness.
1. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
I know I should probably employ a large dollop of scepticism when reading any of Byrne's work (Author of "The Secret) but, whatever your views on the Law of Attraction, passing your day in a positive frame of mind is usually more productive than being a miserable git.
2. The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle
Basically, keep the peace by letting your husband do whatever he wants. (that's Doyle's version). My version is keep the peace by letting your husband do whatever he thinks he wants - after several weeks of subliminal programming (also known in this house as nagging).
3. Essential Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes
I like Weekes' approach to stress management. She explains very well that many of the physical conditions we put up with are created by our own worries and thus simply do not exist. Dr Weekes was a doctor in Australia (she passed away in 1990) and for some strange reason, whenever I read this I hear Dame Edna's voice. ("Pull yourself together, possum).
4. The Joy of Gardening by Eileen Campbell
A lovely gift from my walking companion, "The Sybil" who was instrumental in helping me to get my garden into vegetable and flower bearing shape this year. It's a collection of inspirational quotes and thoughts about gardening to chivvy you along when you realise you can't lift a bag of compost on your own and you don't know your perennials from your elbow.
5. 5:2 Cookbook Recipes For Fasting by Angela Dowden
I did toy with this diet this year but the idea of spending two days a week eating just 500 calories was too much for my delicate, ahem, constitution. Research suggests that this pattern of eating helps conditions such as diabetes and is implicated in longevity so I may yet give it a go but certainly not when it's this dark and cold.
6. The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice
A country girl is whisked off to London in the Sixties to become a pop star. I haven't read this as I have an allergy to "chick lit"- if indeed that's the genre it belongs to. I have tried to like "chick lit" but I normally find the plots so sugary and contrived, I need to go and clean my teeth after a couple of chapters.
7. Confidence And Success with CBT by Avy Joseph and Maggie Chapman
This is one I bought at another 'temptation location'. It's very glamorous. Brace yourselves - yep, WH Smiths at University Hospital Wales, Cardiff. Damn them with their "Buy One Get One Half Price" offers. Still it's better than a kilo of chocolate for £1 isn't it? CBT, just in case you don't know, is cognitive behavioural therapy. It's a kind of therapy which gets you to talk about and express your issues. Ask yourself probing questions - e.g. why do I always succumb to "Buy One get One Half Price" offers in WH Smiths?
8. Taking Control of TMJ by Robert O. Uppgaard
This is a very helpful manual for those who suffer from jaw joint problems. You'd be amazed how much jaw pain can blight your life - from headaches, to problems opening your mouth and related dental problems such as tooth clenching and grinding. I'll be posting more about TMJ later this year but if you do suffer, you have my sympathy. I am lucky because the University Hospital of Wales is home to the dental school which has a clinic for TMJ sufferers. Now you know one of the reasons why I lurk in WH Smiths!
9. Tarot Made Easy by Nancy Garen
Now this one is one of the most thumbed and loved. I brought this original version in 1991 and have kept it ever since. For Tarot buffs, I still like the Rider Waite pack for its clarity and tradition and I find that, as long as you don't overuse them, you can generally get quite an insightful answer to your most pressing questions.
10. Poirot & Me by David Suchet
I am a complete Agatha Christie buff and my box set of Poirot is constantly played. Suchet is the definitive Poirot as far as I am concerned and I was delighted to get my mitts on a signed copy of this courtesy of the lovely folk at the Chepstow Bookshop. I am hoping The Husband will take me to Greenway, Christie's lovely Devon home this year to see if it will inspire me to finally start writing my own crime fiction.
11. How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body by Dr David R. Hamilton PhD
More along the general theme of "we are what we think we are". I am fascinated by the body's miraculous ability to heal even the most serious of illnesses and think there's a lot to the Eastern approach to medicine - i.e. treating the body holistically, rather than the Western approach of diagnosing ad hoc and prescribing drugs which usually address only the symptoms and not the cause of the disease. This book contains a list of specific visualizations you might like to try. It certainly makes the point that responsibility for our own health is in our own hands, rather than those of our physician.
12. The Promise by Graham W. Price
The subtitle to this one is "Never Have Another Negative Thought Again" and while I haven't managed that state of cognitive nirvana, Price does offer a useful view that blaming ourselves for past actions is pretty useless because we can only do what we are able to do with our current level of awareness. In other words, generally we act the way we do because we don't 'know' any better. 'Knowing' here though is deeper than a basic understanding of right and wrong - it refers to how spiritually advanced we are. I obviously know that eating the contents of my children's selection pack is wrong. Sadly, I am not yet spiritually developed enough to put the Curly Wurly back in the fridge. Make of that what you will CBT fans.
13. Diana Vreeland, Empress of Fashion by Amanda Hamilton
This is a fascinating biography of the late, great Diana Vreeland who worked for Harpers Bazaar and Vogue and made the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1964 (the year I was born). An undeniable style icon, she fascinates me because she seems to have been one of those women who knew what she stood for and radiated power. It's a quality that few women have but one that you definitely know when a woman does not. It's something that, say Helen Mirren, has in buckets but Jennifer Aniston is a thousand haircuts away from.
15. E2 by Pam Grout
This is my current favourite. Its subtitle is "Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality". Each experiment takes about 48 hours and in it you challenge the universe to prove theories such as the Universe is a benevolent, friendly place which just wants to give you what you want. The catch of course is that you'll (to quote Dr Wayne Dyer), see it when you believe it. I'm having great fun trying to manifest a whole variety of things and if I do, I promise to report back!
I think 2015 will be a year of returning to the Classics such as Dickens, Austen and Bronte. I'd love to hear what is lurking in your bed book pile and what you are planning to read this year.