Reading has always been a BIG part of my life – this list would be far longer if if I were to describe all the books that that have influenced my life. In particular I enjoy being inspired by, and learning from the books I read. The following have stuck with me over the years and are ones I’ve most definitely learnt from:
- Know My Name, Chanel Miller
Most of us will remember reading about the Brock Turner case in the news a few years back. The problem was in the title. It wasn’t Brock’s story to tell. It was Chanel Miller’s. Her account is so raw, so real, and so relatable. I am confident that anyone can, and should read this and learn from it.
- The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Charlie Mackesy
This is a wonderful feel-good book that deserves a place on every bookshelf. Filled with gorgeous illustrations and thought-provoking one liners, you can open it at any page and be inspired and have your mood boosted in less than 30 seconds. This is also a great one to read with children.
- The Naked Mind, Annie Grace
Phenomenal and life-changing. This book single-handedly altered both my conscious and unconscious relationship with alcohol. Annie manages to do this without coming across as pushy or self-righteous which is no mean feat. I’ve learned unbelievable amounts about how alcohol affects your physical and mental health, and love that it’s stuffed with facts and studies, too. Definitely worth a read if you’d like to understand what happens in your body when you drink.
- A Rosie Life in Italy: Why Are We Here? Rosie Meleady
Just the light-hearted, comical read I needed. Anyone who knows me well will know I have a dream of renovating a dilapidated Italian farmhouse, and Rosie did just that in the midst of the pandemic. She covered the highs and lows of her journey and touched on some hilarious Italian processes that I now know to be well-aware of (Uncle Francesca and doorframes included). She is active on social media and it’s been brilliant keeping up-to-date with how her renovation is progressing… although not so good for my jealousy levels.
- The Rutshire Chronicles, Jilly Cooper
The life I WISH I lived! Set in 1980s England, it doesn’t get any more quintessentially British than this. These books were my lockdown saviours. Yes, much of it is outdated in today’s world but I’ll forgive those parts for the totally desirable nostalgia of ‘Old England’ raucous equestrian behaviour, and the beauty that is Rupert Campbell-Black.
- Travels with Charley: In Search of America, John Steinbeck
I devoured this book in about four days. Steinbeck’s style of writing is iconic: frank, descriptive, upfront but honest. He’s written many well-known works of fiction including ‘Of Mice and Men’ but reading this book, which was from his own perspective (I’m aware some parts may have been slightly exaggerated) was like seeing into his brain. His dry sense of humour made the book for me. The personification of Charley (his loyal four-legged companion) was both hilarious and heart-felt. Warning: Not for those who are steering clear of catching the travel-bug.
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
I haven’t read this in at least a decade but the fact it still gets placed in my must-reads tells you all you need to know. The Bronte sisters were iconic in their dedication to having their work published and are hailed in the literary community. The story documents Eyre’s challenging upbringing living with distant relatives after the death of her parents and the development of her love with the famous Mr Rochester. The crazy lady in the attic was my favourite character.
- Born Free, Joy Adamson
I first read this book when I was seven. Adamson’s account of Ella, the lion cub, who she rescued and then returned to the wild is both heart-breaking and awe-inspiring. I’m a big believer of respecting the world we live in and this book was a catalyst for understanding our relationship with humans and nature.
- Things I Learned From Falling, Claire Nelson
Although I can’t relate to falling off a rock, breaking my hip in the middle of the desert and lying there for four days with no tangible chance of rescue, Claire’s desire to escape the life she was living hugely resonated with me. You really don’t understand your inner resilience and the pure beauty of life until you’re in a situation like Claire was. Reading this book motivated me to start writing again. Her story is poignant and life-changing.
- The Man Who Listens to Horses, Monty Roberts
An absolute classic. Admittedly, not one for the people out there who don’t obsess over horses, but if you’re a fellow horse-lover out and reading this (Hi!! You’re great!), you have to buy this book. Monty Roberts is infamous in the equestrian world for his success in training young horses with gentle and natural methods. Reading his life-story only increased the love I have for natural horsemanship and inspired how I trained my own young horse.
- Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm, Isabella Tree
Another non-putter-downer. This truly opened my eyes learning the devastation farming and humans in general has on the natural world especially in the last 25 years. We all have a responsibility to keep this planet going and this book was pivotal in understanding the role we play on supporting wildlife. I also had no idea how COOL trees are.
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