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  • Writer's pictureLaura Monaghan

Top ten books for the Earth signs

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Welcome to the second post in this Zodiac inspired series. This one is dedicated to all the Earth signs; Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Below are a collection of ten books filled with self love and trauma, history and myths, as well as poetic fantasies and stories that will snap you right back into reality. Enjoy x




1. Her body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.


A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.


Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.



2. Lore by Alexandra Braken

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.


Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.


The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.



3. Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.


To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world—all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way—unexpectedly.


An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.



4. The song of Achilles by Madeline Millar

Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.


They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.



5. The book thief by Marcus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.


By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.


But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.


In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.



6. A forgery of roses by Jessica S. Olsen

*To be published on March 29th 2022

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.


But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor's dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.


Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harbouring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.


Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.



7. Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

*To be published on March 1st 2022

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.


When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.


Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.


With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.



8. Can’t hurt me by David Goggins

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse coloured his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him "The Fittest (Real) Man in America."


In Can't Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.



9. The art of resilience by Ross Edgely

Ross Edgley famously ran a marathon pulling a 1.4-tonne car and climbed a rope the height of Everest (8,848m), after living with Yamabushi warrior monks in Japan and partaking in Shamanic pain rituals with fire ants in the Amazon jungle. On his epic 1,780-mile journey around Great Britain, which lasted 157 days, Ross swam through giant jellyfish, arctic storms, ‘haunted’ whirlpools and polluted shipping lanes, going so hard, and so fast, his tongue fell apart.


Ross’s previous book, The World’s Fittest Book, was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller and explored the science of physical fitness. Now, in The Art of Resilience, Ross uses his swim experience and other amazing endurance feats, where he managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable pain, hardship and adversity, to study the performance of extreme athletes, military and fitness specialists and psychologists to uncover the secrets of mental fitness and explore the concept of resilience, persistence, valour and a disciplined mindset in overcoming adversity. This ground-breaking book represents a paradigm shift in what we thought the human body and mind were capable of and will give you a blueprint to become a tougher, more resilient and ultimately better human – whatever the challenge you face.



10. The Queen’s gambit by Walter Tevis

When she is sent to an orphanage at the age of eight, Beth Harmon soon discovers two ways to escape her surroundings, albeit fleetingly: playing chess and taking the little green pills given to her and the other children to keep them subdued. Before long, it becomes apparent that hers is a prodigious talent, and as she progresses to the top of the US chess rankings she is able to forge a new life for herself. But she can never quite overcome her urge to self-destruct. For Beth, there’s more at stake than merely winning and losing.







For all of the Earth signs out there who are reading this post, comment down below if you've read any of these books and if you have, what did you think of them? Bonus points if you've read (or want to read) all ten!


Sending love,

Laura x



References

Big W, 2011. The song of Achilles cover. [image] Available at: <https://www.bigw.com.au/product/the-song-of-achilles-by-madeline-miller/p/171988>. Goodreads, 2006. The book thief cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19063.The_Book_Thief?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WwLDO8bG4i&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2007. Eat pray love cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19501.Eat_Pray_Love?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=c7pk9xfn4P&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2017. Her body and other parties cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33375622-her-body-and-other-parties?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=8vRLyZwh8L&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2018. Can't hurt me cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41721428-can-t-hurt-me?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=ASDtjSBs6p&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2021. Lore cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53375824-lore?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Ailt1net9K&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2022. A forgery of roses cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51941042-a-forgery-of-roses?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=sCOSUAVoVO&rank=1>

Goodreads, 2022. Edgewood cover. [image] <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57693515-edgewood?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=lA1YC4bAJp&rank=1>

Harper Collins, 2020. The art of resilience cover. [image] <https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9780008356989/the-art-of-resilience/>

Penguin Random House, 1983. The Queen's gambit cover. [image] <https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/177410/the-queens-gambit-television-tie-in-by-walter-tevis/>


**Each book description belongs to its respective author.

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