The older I get the more I favour non-fiction. I enjoy being inspired by, and learning from, the books I read. These have stuck with me through the years and are ones I’ve most definitely learnt from.
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
My dad bought me 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. My dad bought me this for Christmas this year and it 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.