I'm a reader, and I always have been.
As a child, I devoured "Nancy Drew," "Sweet Valley Twins" and every Enid Blyton book I could get my hands on.
My friends at school thought this was a bit weird, and most of them preferred watching TV over sticking their heads in books.
While they were all crushing on pop stars, I was daydreaming about Ken Matthews. I didn't have many cultural references, and I wasn't into music.
But, at 12 years old, I had read more books than most people read in a lifetime.
It's a habit that has stuck with me into adulthood, and I've now set myself a goal of reading 100 books by the end of 2015. Despite having read hundreds (perhaps thousands) of books, there are five I will always go back to.
These are the books everyone needs to read at some point in life:
For Those With Relationship Woes
America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford, $13, Amazon
When you've been with someone for a long time, you can sometimes pick fights over the silliest things. What should have been a very small issue can become a massive argument. This book puts all your relationship problems into perspective.
Through this book, Onassis becomes more than just JFK's wife.
For the first time, you see the public affairs from her point of view, and you understand the perils of being trapped in a high-profile marriage with a philandering husband.
Reading about Onassis' pain and utter humiliation will remind you that your situation could be so much worse. It's also worth remembering she survived it, as did her love for her husband.
So, you can survive the fact that your partner never cleans, is always late or is just a general pain at times.
For Those Whose Family Is Hitting A Nerve
"My Sister Clare" was the first book I ever fell in love with. I read it over and over again until the pages fell out, and then, I bought another copy.
It is the tale of three sisters growing up in colonial India. When their father dies and their mother is left with nothing, she remarries quickly and inappropriately, and the girls' lives change forever.
Clare is the middle sister and most beautiful. Their mother lives vicariously through Clare and ignores the others as a result.
The book follows the girls into adulthood as they grow apart and come back together again. It documents their fallouts, petty jealousies and dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket.
There may be times when you dream of being an only child, or you wish your family were just a bit more "Brady Bunch," but after reading "My Sister Clare," it's likely you'll find your imperfect family just a bit closer to being perfect.
For Those Feeling A Little Blue
This is a wonderful autobiography by an exceptional woman. "My Animals and Other Family" will leave you feeling fuzzy inside and inspire you to be a better person.
For anyone who doesn't know Balding, she is an award-winning TV presenter and was a former jockey. In this book, she discusses her eccentric upbringing by linking each chapter to one of her childhood pets.
In Balding's family, women weren't treated as equals to men, but she went on to prove them wrong, again and again.
Not only is she witty, smart and one of my personal heroes, but she is also a national treasure. By the end of this book, you will surely agree.
For Those Who Need A Role Model
Momentum: The Struggle for Peace, Politics and the People By Mo Mowlam, $1, Amazon
I've written about Mowlam before, but this book needs a mention.
Mowlam was a member of the UK Parliament at a time when there were few female MPs. She was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 1997 and 1999, and without her, the peace process may never have happened.
She was fun, clever and afraid of nothing and no one.
Mowlam was diagnosed with a brain tumor during her career, but she didn't let it stop her political ambitions. She documents this all in her book, and I guarantee reading it will make you more ambitious.
It may even restore the belief you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it.
For Those Seeking Entertainment
Keyes is one of my favorite authors, and her stories of the Walsh family never disappoint. This book follows one of the younger Walsh sisters, Helen, who is gripped with depression as she loses her home and becomes caught up in the crazy world of being a private investigator.
Helen is a terrific narrator, and this book will make you laugh and cry as you refuse to go to sleep in order to finish it all in one sitting.
This is the perfect holiday read, and it will capture your imagination like no other. By the end, you will be wishing you were one of the Walsh family members.
TV is all well and good, but nothing can transport you away like a good story. Let's face it: No one tells a story like an Irish person.