Book Theme

Bookish: Book Theme – Life

book themeEach month I do a blog post based on a Goodreads group called ‘Play Book Tag.’

The group choose a theme and then people share, discuss, recommend and review books that fit the theme.

The theme for February had me singing the below song in my head over and over again. Thanks Goodreads group. Thanks.*

*If you can’t detect the sarcasm, trust me – it’s there.


What is life

It’s that thing that gets in the way of stuff we want to do. It’s also that thing that we fill up with really cool things and cool people.

But how does this translate into books?

My first thought was ‘life writing’ aka autobiographical works but it seems that the topic of ‘life’ is more broad then that. From what I can see the books listed as ‘life’ appear to include the below:-

  • Life writing/ autobiography (phew, I wasn’t massively far off)
  • Fictional stories that are about specific life events i.e. a wedding, divorce, a particularly complex incident
  • Fictional stories that are about the expanse of a character’s whole life or a wide section of their life experience
  • Non fictional accounts of a specific topic designed to help guide or motivate others, think broad self help.

What are some life books

If I go off the above categories than I guess examples would include the below:-

Life Writing/ Autobiography

  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Fiction About a Specific Life Event

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kasey

Fiction About a Characters Life

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult

Non Fictional/ Self Help/ Motivational

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

what is popular

This is based off of the ‘Popular Life Books’ list on Goodreads which contains 1,250 entries. The top ten are: –

  1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  4. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  5. How to Win Friend’s and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  6. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  9. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I’ve heard of all but #4 and #9 and have read none.

My usual question: What do I think?

It’s a very male heavy list this month and seems dominated by motivational or real life experience books.

I don’t think this is my genre if I’m honest although I have read autobiographies (including the ones I listed) and have enjoyed them very much, despite them being sad and harrowing reads.

I’ve got a copy of The 7 Habits on my desk at work and I keep swearing that I’ll get round to reading it and my colleague has read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. She likes the ethos behind the book but says its quite repetitive because the same message is being delivered just in different ways. The message amounts to – ‘don’t worry about what other people think of you.’

For every fan of Elsa it basically means, ‘let it go.’

What are my favourites.jpg

I can’t choose any favourites from the list because I haven’t read any. I also haven’t read a great deal of motivational/ self help books but if I look at the categories I listed above I guess I would go for:-

The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson – it isn’t a self-help or motivational book but a practical guide to writing via the snowflake method. I’m trialing the method out to see if its suits me.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – it’s not a favourite because as you know, I’ve not read it but I do want to give this one a go.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – I know this is considered autobiography but because I have decided autobiographies count as ‘life’ I wanted to include this. Again, it’s not really a favourite because I haven’t read it but this is on my TBR as I really want to read it.


What are your thoughts on the ‘life’ genre? Do you agree with how I’ve categorised what counts as ‘life’ or was some of them a stretch?

Let me know if you’ve read any of the books mentioned in the post above and what your thoughts are!

See you in March for another ‘Book Theme’ – topic TBC

14 thoughts on “Bookish: Book Theme – Life

  1. Shout out to my dude Frankl. Really surprised he was even in the list. Bravo, Goodreads.

    Considering i quote him often (i wish logotherapy was more popular, instead of the current western paradigm of drugs being the main go to) and generally have a very similar philosophy that’s highly influenced by his work, i should probably actually read the book and not just all the side material.

    Life is probably my favorite “genre/theme” in media. So much things can be gleamed from the mundane lives of fictional people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I don’t even know what his book is about! (and haven’t heard of him either actually!)

      I think life books done well can provide an interesting perspective and you’re right – mundane lives can highlight a lot about human nature and how people live.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lol I think I’m kinda like your co-worker when it comes to self-help books. They often are a tad obvious in their morals, and they tend to TELL you what they want you to know (rather than me piecing it together for myself), so I generally prefer fiction in that regard.

    I too have I Am Malala on my TBR! I really appreciate autobiographies of people from different cultures (my last read similar to it was Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, which I absolutely loved), so it’s definitely on the list. Though I will admit that it’s been on my TBR for…more than 3 years. Alas, I am ashamed. 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh Born a Crime is definitely one I want to read! I watched some of his stand up shows on Netflix and they were both hilarious and insightful. I’ve got some friends who have married white South Africans and their viewpoints on race are mixed. Like really mixed. It’s an insight into other cultures so I think I’d find Born a Crime fascinating. I adore Trevor Noah though so it’s probably an automatic yes!

      I really want to read I Am Malala, I think it would also be a hugely interesting read if not quite uncomfortable at times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think that I Am Malala would make me uncomfortable and really sad, which is partly why I’ve been avoiding it. Last time I read a similar book, I bawling uncontrollably at 2 in the morning, which was kind of traumatic for me lol.

        Oh and Trevor Noah is amazing! I watch his Daily Show all the time, and his take on politics and even everyday interactions with other people are so insightful. He’s kinda my role model on how I want to interact with the world; not to mention, his humor is so funny. If you’re ever on Youtube and need a laugh, watch his raw “Between the Scenes” clips – I recommend “Trevor Chats with a French Audience Member,” “How woke is too woke,” and “Trevor bumps into President Obama.” His thing is stand-up comedy, so his unscripted stuff makes me laugh the most. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve watched some of Trevor Noah’s shows on Netflix and I think I actually love him!! I’ve not heard of his ‘how woke is too woke’ though so I think I’m going to need to check that out!! His face when he has certain guests on his shows just reach me. You can tell he’s curbing so much of what he actually wants to say!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha that GR list IS bit of a sausage fest. 😀 It’s weird when I think about it, because you’d think female writers would be more inclined to write those super emotional, life-based stories than male writers.

    I haven’t read too many autobiographies but Yes Please by Amy Poehler is a fave! It’s super funny but also really introspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I was a bit surprised and I guess I thought the same – that female writers might be more introspective with feelings and more on board to dispense advice but I guess not.

      I haven’t read many autobiographies either but really should. I do like Amy Poehler, I’ve just finished watching Russian Doll on Netflix which I think she co-wrote/ co-produced and wowsers. Just…. wowsers….


    1. I know it was a typo but I would love for their to be a book called ‘How to Wind Friends’ I feel that would make for most interesting reading! I’ve seen the movie but not the book and the movie wasn’t entirely what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it. I like the idea of reading these types of books, I just haven’t managed to do it yet!

      Liked by 1 person

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