Bookends

Writer Rachel Tey wrote about her eating disorder in her children's book.
Writer Rachel Tey wrote about her eating disorder in her children's book.PHOTO: COURTESY OF RACHEL TEY

Who: Rachel Tey, 35, writer

After recovering from an eating disorder, Rachel Tey, an editor of research publications at a local university, decided to write a book about her journey.

The self-published children's book Tea In Pajamas is the result. The light-hearted action adventure follows the travels of 11-year-old Belle Marie as she tries to save her best friend Tess who has vanished in the storybook land of Belzerac.

Tey is married to Joseph Tey, 37, who works in educational publishing. They have a son, eight, and daughter, three.

Tey's book is available in paperback from amazon.com and in e-book format in Amazon's Kindle store, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Blio and Smashwords.

What are you reading right now?

I'm re-reading The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton, a famous autobiography of a once self- indulgent man who eventually finds his purpose in life as a Trappist monk. I find the book so engaging because I identify with the basic human desire for inner peace and enlightenment. It's a feeling of "what else?" that one ponders amid the busyness of daily life.

What books would you save from a burning house?

Firstly, it would be Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Emma Bovary gets into some bad company and has affairs and overspends to distract herself. It's a beautifully written tale and it also makes me wonder how differently this story would've played out if it was set in the modern day and age.

The next book would be The Stranger by Albert Camus. The protagonist Meursault does not care about anything or anyone and views life with such chilling objectivity that he has little regard for his actions or the part he plays in the broader scheme of things. For this reason, this character is abominable yet mesmerising.

The last book would be The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality For Real Life by James Martin SJ. It provides a practical framework for good decision-making and dispenses advice on how to manage relationships, money, work and prayer in a humorous, accessible way.

Through this book, I learnt to make choices based on what was self-loving and nurturing and to avoid those that would lead to despair. It taught me how to stand up to negativity that is characteristic of disordered behaviour and to learn to trust and love myself again.

•The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (1999, Mariner Books, $13.25), Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1982, Bantam Classics, $8.48), The Stranger by Albert Camus (1989, Vintage, $10.43) and The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality For Real Life by James Martin, SJ (2012, HarperOne, $14.23) are available at amazon.com.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe