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OCOCO Media Club Presents… World Book Day 2024!

In today’s ever-changing digital world, the value of reading a book has never felt so great. Thanks to the rise in technology, we now have the freedom to consume literature in a range of creative, convenient ways. Whether you prefer reading on your Kindle, listening to an audiobook or carrying a good old-fashioned paperback, we can expand our minds and immerse ourselves in fictional worlds however and wherever we like.


To celebrate World Book Day 2024, we’re bringing you a special edition of OCOCO Media Club, sharing the books that had a profound impact on our lives, as well as our top recommendations for your next read!


Graphic featuring a blue bar of soap, reading 'OCOCO Media Club presents World Book Day'. The OCOCO Media logo is featured in the top right corner.


The books that changed our lives…


Natalie:

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden


Photo of book cover, titled 'It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want: The world's best-selling book by Paul Arden'
Phaidon Press

I first read It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be when I was working for an education start-up, before I’d even launched my own agency, and I know it’s quite cliché to say – but I do not think my life would have been the same without reading it.


This was over 12 years ago now, but I remember that first read through vividly.


The book shares insights, experiences, and anecdotes from throughout marketing icon Paul Arden’s career, designed to entertain and inspire in equal measure.


At the time, it felt like it gave me permission to be creative and do things differently. Suddenly, I felt like seeing the world in my own, slightly different, perspective could be a superpower.


The book itself is short, which helps as I reread it at least once a year, whenever I need a little bit of a boost. Snappy chapters, stats, quotes and bite-sized spreads make its wit and wisdom easy to digest.


I encourage anyone to read it, and interestingly, I’ve had it recommended to me before on more than one occasion. Always particularly strongly too, with a “you would absolutely love this book” – and I really do.



Laura:

The Power of Letting Go by John Purkiss


Photo of book cover, titled 'The Power of Letting Go: How to drop everything that's holding you back' by John Purkiss
Aster

“If you learn to let go, your life will take off.” This self-help book from John Purkiss takes the reader through the stages of letting go and helps us to understand what will happen when we begin to do so. With proven techniques and in-depth case studies, The Power of Letting Go can help you to discover a new way to live.


I will preface this by saying that I felt as though not every segment of this book applied to me and I didn’t complete every activity because of that. However, I do truly believe that there is at least one element here that each of us can learn from. It’s true that letting go helps us to gain more from life. For me the biggest lesson from the book was to stay present. It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos of life and we can spend too much time worrying about the future. Through connecting with your senses, you can avoid stressful situations and enjoy the important moments in life. The final message of the book is “when we let go completely, we realise we’re consciousness itself.”



Jake:

Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell


Photo of book cover, titled 'Lion of Macedon' by David Gemmell. Featuring a Spartan warrior in battle.
Del Rey Books

As a young adult, I never enjoyed reading. I always loved good stories but would find myself limited to the narratives found in television and film. For some reason, the process of reading books and following a story in my mind just never seemed to click for me.


I had owned my copy of Lion of Macedon for a few years, a gift from my dad I believe when he was trying, unsuccessfully, to convince me of the joys of reading. One day at some point in my mid-twenties, I gave it a go. There was a lot at stake. This book had the potential to turn me into a lifelong book-enjoyer, or a cynical book-avoider, destined to remain forever jealous of those around me who could find such pleasure in the written word. Thankfully, to my surprise, I was able to follow the story, and loved it.


The book follows the life of Parmenion, a Spartan outcast caught between the two worlds of his heritage, and the many challenges he faces (no spoilers!) on his journey to become the most feared military general in the Macedonian army, and strategos to Alexander the Great.


It’s a fascinating blend of fantasy and history, prophecy and heroism, exploring legends of ancient Greece to their fullest extent - and beyond. Lion of Macedon, and the brilliantly satisfying conclusion to the story in the sequel, Dark Prince are wholly responsible for my love of reading. And while I have long since exhausted the published works of David Gemmell, he remains my favourite author, by far. In hindsight, it was a high bar to begin my reading career, but perhaps that’s exactly what I needed to change my life.



Nicholle:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Photo of book cover, titled 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen. Featuring woman reading a book.
Penguin Classics

If the world was burning and I could only save one book, it would be Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the novel changed the trajectory of my life when I first picked it up 15 years ago, sparking an interest in literature that would gradually flourish into two English degrees and a collection of overflowing bookshelves. It was even the subject of my university admission essay. Honestly, I could talk about it for hours.


For me, there’s something so special about reading an Austen novel. She was witty, satirical, years ahead of her time, and Pride and Prejudice, in my opinion, is her best work. Reading it completely changed my view of classic literature, which I had ironically prejudged as being too dated and difficult to enjoy.


The novel follows the turbulent relationship between the spirited Elizabeth Bennet and proud Mr. Darcy, as they dance (or not in Darcy’s case) with the rules of courtship. In between the couple’s flirtatious sparring and the Bennet sisters’ affinity for drama, Austen weaves social critiques of Georgian England into a web of passion, scandal and human folly. The dialogue is evocative, the characters are complex and the romantic tension is unparalleled.


One look at the sorry condition of my original copy and you would see just how many times I’ve poured over it. It’s my ultimate comfort read and I can’t recommend it enough.



We recommend reading…

Natalie:

If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair by Anya Hindmarch


Photo of book cover, titled 'The Sunday Times Bestseller. If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair' by Anya Hindmarch. Reading 'A wise, straight-talking and empathetic guide for anyone wanting to lead a happier life - Telegraph.'
Bloomsbury Publishing

Admittedly, I have selected If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair as I’m halfway through it at the moment. So far it’s a great read for any woman navigating business, family and life, and as the title suggests – the struggle of the constant wash/style dilemma. If you know, you know.


It’s anything but airhead though, as Anya Hindmarch shares everything she’s learned from her eclectic journey and career, along with great advice from others that’s she’s personally benefitted from over the years. It’s a true compilation of quick wins, practical solutions and profound observations.


I guess I’ll have to come back to you to let you know what I think of the ending, but for now, I already feel confident in making my days a little better and brighter. Because it turns out, sometimes it really is as simple as washing your hair.



Laura:

Stay True by Hsu Hua


Book cover, titled 'Stay True: A memoir' by Hua Hsu. Featuring a man taking a photo with a camera.
Picador

An in-depth memoir about growing up in the 90s as a Taiwanese American, while dealing with education, friendships and grief. This deeply moving book covers the happenings of life, how our taste in music intertwines with them, and how we use those experiences to impact later life.


Focusing on one friendship in particular, the author details meeting someone you wouldn’t usually socialise with, to beginning to understand them, and then what happens when you lose that person. The author captures the intricacy of emotions, how we do and don’t feel them and that really, it’s the people we meet that matter, rather than the experiences. This book may give you a new outlook on life and relationships. Although many of the author’s experiences are unique, it’s hard not to relate to the honesty displayed in this coming-of-age story.



Jake:

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy


Book cover, titled 'The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse' by Charlie Mackesy. Fetauring an illustration of a horse, a boy holding a mole and a fox.
Ebury Press

The year was 2020, we were all stuck indoors and feeling a bit glum. Fortunately, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse was chosen as an OCOCO Media Club read at the time. This book was exactly what we all needed. Contrary to the length of the title, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse is actually a short story, beautifully illustrated by the author, Charlie Mackesy. It’s a book full of life lessons and positivity. The ‘plot’ so to speak, is a simple one, it follows a boy and his three unlikely animal friends as they enjoy a short adventure together and share their unique perspectives as they contemplate life. Every page is a work of art, and more thought provoking than it would initially appear. There is a lot to dissect if you want to dig deeply, but the book can also be enjoyed at face value.


When life gets a bit much, as it often can, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse is my go-to read. With poignant messages of kindness and self-worth throughout, it’s a little burst of optimism whenever you need it.


I’d wholeheartedly recommend having this book on hand as you embark on your own adventures, whatever they may be.



Nicholle:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


Book cover, titled 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller. Featuring a bow and arrow in the shape of a heart.
Bloomsbury Publishing

This book will break your heart, and you’ll love it for doing so.


Building on Homer’s The Iliad, The Song of Achilles retells the story of the Trojan War and its greatest warrior from the perspective of his childhood friend, Patroclus. Following the friendship and inevitable romance between the two heroes, Miller recasts the epic tale of war as a devastatingly beautiful story of love, loyalty and immortality.


Awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2012, the novel is packed with spellbinding quotes that will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished it. I read this book over a year ago and I still often think about its closing lines. Yes, it’s that well written. Whilst the novel’s slow burning pace may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Miller’s lyrical writing style is immaculate; her descriptions are achingly rich and there's not a single word out of place.


The genius of The Song of Achilles is that the myth isn’t new, the characters are familiar, you know exactly how the war will play out, yet it’ll still surprise you. I hope you enjoy it!


 

Happy reading, from all of Team OCOCO!







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