Free ebook

free ebook

36 Books that Shaped my Story

My free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ is a gift for Quiet Writing readers. It celebrates books we love as our creative legacy and provides clues to our emerging story.

It’s a 95-page journey through the books that have shaped my life and influenced me creatively. Through this, you can find new books to influence your journey. Plus you can reflect on reading as a vital form of creative influence in your own journey in reading over time. From this, there are clues within as to what you might wish to creatively birth from all that you have read and valued in the context of your life.

The story of 36 Books

When I started working out what to include as a special gift and free ebook here, I wanted something that summed up the heart of Quiet Writing. I wanted to create something that:

  • sparked creativity
  • shared generously and
  • provided a springboard for others for their own reflections on their lives and creativity.

And I kept coming back to books – sharing books that made a difference to me, sharing how they influenced me and shaped my life, reflecting on how this can be a source of growth.

Words are at the heart of Quiet Writing – the words we read, the words we write, the words we say to ourselves or another person such as a trusted friend or coach as we form our vision and process our journey. The words we listen to as we read, as we engage with another fully and the words we want to write.

And story is the shape the words make – the narrative we weave through the body of work that we create through career, our creative endeavours and our passions. This story is unique – no one has read the same books as you in the same way; no one has the same life experiences as you; and you are the only one to combine your passions and experiences in the way that you do.

free ebook


Gathering special books around us

I’ve always gathered special books around me as a sort of altar, a source of strength, a connection to influence, like a wise chorus of silent voices surrounding me. So when I read Sage Cohen’s piece, ‘Honor you lineage’ in her book, Fierce on the Page, it rang special bells of resonance. In her beautiful piece, Sage explains:

I have always been magnetically drawn to the books I need as teachers. Recently I cleared a shelf and, with great reverence, placed on it the books I most love – the ones that have shaped me in the way that water shapes stones, almost imperceptibly over time.

She invites us to gather the books we most love around us and to sit with them and appreciate how they have influenced our vision and sense of direction, especially in our writing life.

And importantly, she flags that in the light and strength of these books and words, the heart of what we want to write is lingering:

I wonder if that’s really all our writing asks of us: to know what we love, to listen, and to give ourselves over to what presents itself.

So that’s what I did to create my free ebook – I gathered the special books that have shaped me over time and spent time with each of them, honouring what they have brought to me. And it became a fascinating and deep exercise. Choosing them, remembering what they have given me, unpacking and unravelling it a little more, organising it into a continuum and seeing how it fitted in the context of my life – was an insightful joy. And I learnt so much about myself and the recurring themes in my life.

It became a deep excavation and navigation of what I love and how it drives me.

And that is the heart of Quiet Writing – it’s about gathering the threads of our lives, finding the connecting pieces and weaving them together.

I communicate this heart and this spirit, through writing and life coaching, the twin hearts of Quiet Writing, so we can work with it in a supportive way to shine. For when we find those connecting pieces, those values, those desires, those long-held passions and values, they can help us negotiate the next phase more successfully and work out what we really want to do and feel.

free ebook

What to expect in ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

So what can you expect in the free ebook, ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’? It starts with a personal essay about the rationale and process and draws the threads of the experiment and experience together into key themes.

The second part then tracks through each of the 36 books individually and shows how they appeared in the context of my life and the legacy and influence they have provided. There are also suggestions as to why you might want to read each book.

Taken overall, the book shows how the books you love can be:

  • a source of writing inspiration
  • a narrative for your life
  • a timeline for reflection
  • prompts for memoir
  • a way of gathering evidence about your body of work over time
  • a way of understanding what you really love
  • a way of noticing the key themes of your life, and
  • the key to the influences that are your guiding light.

I think you will find it a valuable read about the value of books and reading as a creative influence and a way of finding clues to help you enrich your quiet writing life.

What people have said about 36 Books:

Here are a few comments from readers:

Congratulations Terri, on an intelligent and perceptive book! Your 36 books have revealed some wonderfully different insights on the books I’ve already read and provided a rich list of new and intriguing titles to add to my reading list.

Most of all, it has encouraged me to reflect on the books I’ve read and the influence they’ve had in my life. It’s so true what you say about reflecting on the books we read as a direct means of getting to ‘what we love, what has supported us, how we want to feel and what we want to create and write’.

Thank you for giving us a window into your special experience with these books and your insightful reflections on how they’ve shaped your story.”

Colleen Reagon via Quiet Writing comments

“I am giving a massive shout-out to @writingquietly! If you aren’t following her Blog, please do yourself a favour and sign up. I’ve spent the last hour or so taking my time & going through her fabulous eBook ’36 Books That Shaped My Story’ {which is such a lovely gift for her subscribers}, and discovered some books I’d love to read – I’ve ordered a few and a whole heap have gone on my Wishlist. Thank you, Terri. Your book is fabulous and a delight for someone like me who loves books, writing, creativity etc. Reading about some of the books which have been so important in your life, and from such a personal angle, is so useful & inspiring.” 

@artemis.writes via Instagram

How to get your copy of your free ebook

To get your free copy of the ’36 Books’ ebook, just pop your details in the box to the right or below on this page and the ebook will be with you in no time!

You will also receive my monthly ‘Beach Notes’ newsletter full of inspiration about books, writing, story, narrative, voice, personality and all things quiet writing to inspire you. You will also be the first to know about Quiet Writing life coaching, guest posting, personality deep-dive and e-course opportunities when they are available.

I hope you enjoy ’36 Books’. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on and share our thoughts on reading, books, creativity, influence, story, narrative and writing. These are all fabulous inspirations central to Quiet Writing and the community here.

I can’t wait to hear your feedback – happy reading and reflection!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Honour your lineage by Sage Cohen – from Fierce on the Page

How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Being ‘Fierce on the Page’ – a book review

On the art and love of reading

How to craft a successful life on your own terms

Keep in touch – sign up to receive your free e-book: ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ + Quiet Writing Beach Notes, opportunities & inspirational resources!