The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

This is Bryson’s follow-up to the mega-bestseller Notes from a Small Island, which he wrote about his travels around Britain twenty years ago. This is the result of a brand new trip – from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath – to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. A celebration of everything that makes Britain so eccentrically wonderful, it will inspire you to explore what’s just outside your front door.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

If you’d rather read about goings-on a little further from home, this is the book that managed to outsell Fifty Shades of Grey in Italy. Scientist Rovelli explains complicated subjects such as black holes, quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity in his characteristic simple but entertaining style. Smart, inspiring, breathtaking.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

When she was a child, psychologist Angela Duckworth’s dad used to tell her that she was ‘no genius’ but as an adult she won the MacArthur Genius Award. This book is the result of her research into how naturally talented people aren’t always the most successful, and that grit and perseverance are far more important. The book is motivating and accessible as Duckworth teaches us how to get, cultivate and keep enough grit to get ahead.

What Would Beyoncé Do?! by Luisa Omielan

Looking for some hilariously funny motivation to make the most out of life? Try stand-up comedian Omielan’s memoir about turning 30 and realising that her life wasn’t quite as she’d expected it to turn out. When a friend pointed out she was the same age as Beyoncé, she decided to make the megastar her reference point. Honest, witty and uplifting, it’s a testament to taking control and living life to the full.

This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire

A totally unique look at modern relationships. Filmmaker Darbyshire spent six months quizzing thousands of people about love and relationships via his various social media channels. This book is a curated collection of the best, the most intimate, the funniest and the most beautiful responses taking the form of letters, poems and photographs.

This Mum Runs by Jo Pavey

In 2014 Jo Pavey won the 10,000m at the European Championships. It was her first gold medal. She was also 40 years old and had her second baby mere months before the competition. This is her story of overcoming the odds and training for the world stage while dealing with sleepless nights and nappies. You can’t fail to be inspired by Jo’s achievements and more importantly, her attitude.

On Liberty by Shami Chakrabarti

Until recently Chakrabarti was the director of Liberty, an advocacy group that campaigns for human rights, as well as chair of judges for last year’s Baileys Prize. This is her defence of universal human rights; why they are so important to society and how they ended up in danger. It’s an invitation to engage with this hugely important issue, to learn why it matters and what you can do to make a difference.

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Another thought-provoking read about human rights; this time the heartbreaking but hopeful memoir from activist Yeonmi Park. Park grew up in North Korea but when her father was sent to a labour camp, she escaped to China with her mother only to be captured by human traffickers. They eventually managed to flee to Mongolia and now Park works around the world speaking about human trafficking. Inspiring stuff. 

True Grit by Bear Grylls

Grylls is the poster-boy for adventure but in this book he looks at the stories of other famous survivors, explorers and adventurers. There are some pretty intense situations here – including the man who survived 47 days at sea only to be captured and imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp – but ultimately it’s a celebration of bravery and resilience in the face of extreme circumstances.

Reckless by Chrissie Hynde

Best known as a founding member of The Pretenders, Hynde’s life has been one long adventure. From the rejection of her idyllic 1950s childhood, to her musical education and the formation of the now-iconic band, through drugs, riots and tragedy, this is an honest, fascinating and engaging story of fame, music and finding your own path.

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