Self-care books to read this Valentine’s Day

2018 is undoubtedly the year of the woman. The #metoo movement and the headline-grabbing news about women fighting for equal pay and treatment in the workplace are inspirational. Women are being heard, ruffling some feathers and creating change, not only in Hollywood but across the globe in all kinds of industries. We feel empowered like never before and ready to smash the patriarchy!

But January has disappeared all too quickly and February has arrived, bringing with it Valentine’s Day. The day where we, as women, still feel that twinge of inadequacy when another bunch of flowers is paraded past us, proudly sitting in a vase on our colleague’s desk while other women coo around them like a bunch of magpies do to sparkly things.

We can’t help feeling a bit crap if our partner doesn’t buy into Valentine’s Day. You may even tell your friends that you like it that way, all the while sulking on your couch, continually refreshing your feed, feeling miserable and jealous of all these Insta representations of perfect love lives full of filters and flower crowns.

Well, we put it to you to shake off these feelings and keep the momentum of 2018 going! Whether you’re being taken to Aria for a candlelit dinner with your lover, staying in with takeaway and snuggles, or heading home alone to your fur babies and your favourite meal for one, Valentine’s Day should start with you and the love for the women closest to you.

To keep you distracted from falling into outdated tropes, and getting sucked in by a naff-looking velvet heart with an overpriced rose pinned to it, we’ve selected some feisty reads for all kinds of women. They are your friends in book form!

The Extrovert

Being loud is lovely! Without loud women, we would not laugh the house down. Extroverted friends will always fiercely support your cause; they’ll fight to the death for your honour and will return a faulty item to the store for you if you feel a bit scared.

Shrill by Lindy West is a book without much of a filter, so if you have a delicate constitution, this book will not be for you. However, if you’re a smart, funny woman and a bit of a feminist who isn’t afraid of a big bunch of swearing, then you will devour these “notes from a loud woman”.

As a writer, Lindy lives and breathes the stand-up comedy world in the USA and, within these 260 pages, shares her life. She covers her difficult teen years, what life is really like as a plus-sized woman, what it’s like to try and make it in a male-dominated industry, and how she came to love herself (and be lovingly adored by her husband.)

Shrill is full of smart observations with witty prose, written by a loud woman with a big heart.

The Introvert

Quiet women stealthily run the world. There would be no Alpha females without Beta ones thoughtfully listening to us, giving us sound advice, and tactfully engineering us out of sketchy social situations.

Beta: Quiet Girls Can Run The World by Rebecca Holman starts with this seemingly simple question. What does success look like today for women? Is it marked by hitting the gym at 5:00am every morning before buzzing from presentation to presentation all day long? Is it working later than everyone else and scowling at others who leave on time because you’re so VERY busy? Can you only be successful if you rule your team by fear and by always getting your way?

Women in business are far more individual, and the above is a huge generalisation, but I bet you thought of a particular work colleague when you read it. The stereotypes of women at work are either that of a ball busting Alpha female who terrifies all who fall in her path, or the quiet secretary, nice to everyone, buzzing around getting stuff done but with little acknowledgement, or fashion sense. The Devil Wears Prada is a classic example.

This book demonstrates that the loudest isn’t always the winner and that Beta women can support each other into success.

The Realist

Okay, so if you are a realist, you recognise it in you and champion it. No point living in a fantasy land right? If you have a bestie who tends to tell it like it is, yeah, sometimes the truth bomb over a bottle of Pinot Gris can sting a little, but has she ever been wrong about it being time to ditch that loser, lose the cape or go for that job?

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight is that friend in book form. Grab yourself a glass of wine, a notebook and a box of tissues, and prepare for 200 pages of tough love and an ever-so-gentle kick up the bum. There are some useful tools to be found here and some whip-smart anecdotes to get you out of that rut and on the path to your own greatness!

The Spiritualist

If you wake every morning to sun salutations and follow every mind, body, spirit Insta account you see – but still feel stressed, you know the importance of being with your “self” but might not know the best way to get it. If you’ve started your year at breakneck speed, you want to see the finish on a high and with success, not heartbreak. If you don’t burn yourself out, cultivate an inner voice which is kind (not critical) and take time to be quiet, you’ll increase your chances of kicking those goals.

The Gift Of Silence by Kankyo Tannier is a little book full of peace and quiet. Do you know you should spend less time on your phone, but still fall asleep with it in your hand? Do you tire of the noisy commute, or the incessant chatter in the office which you can never seem to escape? If so, The Gift of Silence is for you. You don’t need 30 minutes a day to meditate. Just five minutes on your own can be all you need to start feeling less anxious, more in control and ready to own your day.

Grab one of these books, all written by amazing women, for amazing women from your local bookstore and give yourself or your bestie the epic gift of self-care this Valentine’s Day.

Follow @Duffythewriter on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more book reviews with a focus on strong fictional characters and smart women.

Image credit: UnsplashHatchetteHodder, HatchetteGoogle Books

Jo-Ann, or Duffy as she’s known in the wordy world, is an ex-pat Brit who has lived an incredible Australian life since 2005. Duffy is a freelance writer, and when she isn’t creating engaging content for small Australian businesses, she has her nose in a book as a reviewer for Australian publishers and independent authors. You can follow Duffy on all social media platforms as @duffythewriter or visit her blog

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