Books To Take On Your Internal Travels

Sophie Howarth chooses six favourites


by Marcus Aurelius

Philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote his meditations in the 2nd century AD as a way to help himself handle stress and stay true to his own values. There is so much wisdom in here about cultivating gratitude, finding quiet time, and keeping things in perspective. This is old but gold.

Let Your Life Speak

by Parker Palmer

I turn to Parker Palmer for guidance a lot. His warmth and wisdom have been honed by plenty of personal struggle, and he writes with insight, compassion and humour. He explores what it means to live an undivided life, one in which our inner truth can feed our outer actions and vice versa. He’s the go-to man for anyone who wants to live with integrity.

Staying Alive edited

by Neil Astley

A household essential, the way Collins DIY manual used to be before the internet. I turn to it whenever I need to feel heard, understood, stretched or soothed. 500 poems written in the last 1000 years, this is the book that led me to first encounter so many of the sublime voices who have gone on to feature in our range of Words To Hang On To.

The Humans

by Matt Haig

Sometimes we just need to get a bit of distance from ourselves. This ingenious thriller about an alien sent to earth to observe our species points out the best and the worst of what makes us human. It begins by lamenting the deep inefficiency of being emotional, but ends by persuading us that our emotions are the best thing about us. A paean to our human strengths and flaws.

How To Stay Sane

by Philippa Perry

A guide inside your own mind and a bridge across to other people’s. Philippa Perry is funny, real and very, very wise. She’s distilled years of hard-won clinical experience as a psychotherapist into an easy to read and completely indispensable little handbook. My copy has the corner of just about every page turned over.

The Worrier’s Guide to Life

by Gemma Correll

On the first page we meet a foetus who is worrying if its umbilical cord is normal, if all the other foetuses in the world are further along in their development, and if it looks stupid in its ultrasound photo. The next 100 pages continue to absolutely nail that pesky thing we all know as anxiety. Gemma Correll is funny, real and compassionate. You will nod your head and laugh from your belly reading this one.

Sophie Howarth is Founder of the Department Store for the Mind. Follow her @howarthsophie