We grill our favourite people on the books that changed their lives...
As part of our new Shelf Life interview series, we’re speaking to some of our favourite names to find out which books they truly treasure – the ones that have shaped them into the people they are. Our first interview is Delta Goodrem, who tells us she’s a huge reader. “When I’m asked to talk about books or my relationship with books, I’m very extreme – I love fantasy and imagination or I love learning,” she explains. Here are the five books that mean the most to her – for the full interview, visit our Instagram page.
“Going back to this book, I know I’d see it differently, but in my mind there was so much imagination going on about this tree, the journey and the different people we saw along it. In my current state, I haven’t had the time to read as much as I would like, and I read books for a different reason now – which is why I’m a songwriter and why I love the arts. But where it all started for me was the imagination of books when you are a kid. Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway tree was one of the very first instances of like ‘Wow, where have I gone?!’. I loved that idea of the tree having magical properties and I think that was something I gravitated to because I grew up out of the city. I had a very outdoorsy childhood – you know when people say, ‘is there a kangaroo out the back?’ type vibe? The school I went to was in the hills and amongst all the trees. Even in my home in Sydney, when I look out it’s really important I see nature because it’s where I find my grounding. I find something very magical about nature.”
“I remember there being these magical properties to the idea of a giant peach and the idea of overcoming a struggle at a young age. I created scrapbooks at a really young age, so a lot of the time I used visual books or photography books – anything I could put into my scrapbook that I saw as visual art. That would become part of my music and would shape what the music sounded like. Before every album, I will see a picture and even though I haven’t written the album, for some reason I know what that visual is. But my point is on James and the Giant Peach for example, is that there were very visual descriptions of fantasy. And part of me could really take that in and really see it and feel like I was there. I remember on one of my first songs saying that cartoons don’t look the same anymore and not really understanding why they don’t look the same anymore. I loved cartoons! I loved the escapism, the colour and the brightness. And it’s the same I guess with these books – all of that magic.”
“This book is about that idea of finding light in the dark. And I guess the reason that books and stories like this are so successful over time and carry on to generations is because of the feeling and the metaphors – they give you a belief in something that no-one else can see. It’s the idea that this extraordinary world you create can be totally different to the world you might see around you. I love all the half-humans and the ice queen and all these over-accentuated versions of people. If you imagine a person’s energy and their characteristics, what’s great about fantasy is that you can level it up to a whole other place. Turkish delight is so associated with this book too – personally I don’t mind it, but I have a sweet tooth so anything sweet you’ll probably get past me… “
“Five or six years ago, I remember a really dear friend – one of my mentors – shared this book with me. I think that in that moment, a book feels really special – a person delivering that message and choosing a book for you feels like a really special gift. It’s a book that feels quite sacred and I think books like this are important to help check in with your true calling, to reset yourself. I’ve had some pretty big resets in my life and this is one where you can go back and highlight all the different feelings it gives you. He [Paulo] had a great quote – I think he said it only took him two weeks to write the book because ‘it was written in his soul’. I connected to the idea that when we have that true calling – or true love – it’s part of your being. It’s the same as a song – when a song is written in your soul, it happens really quickly. All of my songs that have connected with people at a deeper level, have been quicker. I think this book is a staple.”
“I read this not too long ago, maybe in the last two or three years. I definitely want to pick it up again, it’s something that has some really interesting theories and thoughts – it’s spicy. I felt like for me to even pick this book up was actually quite far away in the sense that I’ve always deeply cared for people about everything. I think that concept of ‘let go and things come to us’ and the subtle art of not giving a f*ck was such a foreign concept. I guess that’s what I loved – I learned how to say no, it was really refreshing. I found it really powerful as a book and my girlfriends and I would talk about it. I feel that as life has happened, I’ve got a new connection to that space and there are some beautiful messages in it that are really direct and truthful. It was quite a lightbulb moment, so I really loved the counterbalance between what I learned and felt. There’s some great truth bombs in here.”
Delta’s Christmas album, Only Santa Knows, is out now.