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Personal memoirs are complex to write and often hard to read. Some fall at the first hurdle by coming across as self obsessed, the author expecting readers to buy into a sort of self-therapy in print. Others can be too revelatory, when the author has failed to exercise any sense of self-editing and allows the urge to confess all, or explain minutiae, to get in the way of the wider story. They can, at worst, be self-indulgent tracts, of interest only to the writer. Robert James’ O’Brien’s wonderful Just One More Drive is none of those. It is a searingly honest, wonderfully written story of O’Brien’s metamorphosis from stuttering adolescent and confused pubescent in Ireland to becoming the man he hoped he could and always wanted to be. What makes this a really special account of one man’s discovery of his true self, is O’Brien’s ability to tell his story with admirable sensitivity to the people he lives with, works with and knows, but also to himself. He depicts his strong early sense of himself and his potential, and describes the frustration and self awareness of not being that person with such clarity that, from the very first chapter, you will be willing him to succeed, urging him to leap the hurdles that life has put in his path. And then there are the cars. From the Mini he owned on passing his driving test to the growling BMW beast he tames as he takes control of himself and his life, they appear throughout as avatars of his self-perceived status and mark the yardsticks of success on his path to self-discovery and self-assuredness. At its core this is a touching testimony of one man’s triumphs in his struggles, both of himself and for himself. It is, to use that much over used term, a “journey” on many levels and as you get to know him and how he thinks it will have you cheering him on, with every heart-warming page.
A spiritual memoir ‘Return to the light within’ by Dmitria Burby tells readers of the author's journey from corporate executive to rediscovering herself. Written to share her story of self-enlightenment in the hopes it will resonate and help others on their own journey. This book is succinct and well constructed, broken down into easy to digest chapters and sections that works through the author’s initial questioning of ‘who am I?’ to reconnection with her spirit and finding her purpose as a spiritual guide and healer. I liked the conversational and open tone used to write this book, it felt as though I was listening to someone’s journey without feeling directly instructed. I think that this would be an interesting book for someone looking for their own spiritual advancement, or perhaps those caught at a crossroads and looking for a more spiritual alternative to a more traditional self-help book. Regardless of personal beliefs there are plenty of lessons that can be taken away from ‘Return To The Light Within’. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Why do so many of us feel drawn to water? Researchers around the globe are increasingly intrigued by our psychological response to blue space: oceans, rivers, lakes, canals and waterfalls. Research is showing that they are good for us, inducing a positive mood and reducing negative feelings. Many people naturally gravitate towards the nearest blue space for their regular walks. There is an innate soothing quality that water brings, whether it's crashing waves, the gentle lapping beat of the water's edge or the reflections we see... Water brings on a meditative, 'blue mind' state. Dr Catherine Kelly uses the study of Blue Mind, a term coined by Dr Wallace Nichols, which explores the study of water and why it makes us happy, to explore and understand the importance of blue space (water environments) and their therapeutic benefits. Looking at the most up-to-date research and evidence that supports its importance for our wellbeing, she suggests how we can all integrate blue mind practices into our lives, providing examples and exercises that anyone can use to enhance their mental health. *** You can hear Catherine Kelly explore our emotional connection to water and the therapeutic benefits of cold water swimming at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
Is our destiny written inside our very DNA? Richard Rudd suggests that humanity is on the verge of a major shift in consciousness rooted in a new understanding of how our genes operate. He introduces this fantastic possibility, showing how the 'gene keys' are an inner language designed to transform our core beliefs about ourselves and raise us to a higher level of awareness. The book works alongside state-of-the-art online profiling software that provides instantaneous free 'Hologenetic Profiles,' based on astrological data and revealing the underlying genetic patterns governing relationships, finances, and health.
In Coasting, Elise Downing sets out to run the entire coastline of Britain - a 5000 mile / 300 day journey of pain, gratitude and discovery. Endearingly honest and unassuming, Elise describes herself as someone completely unsuited to the task - and yet she did it. She judges herself as an adventure imposter - and yet she isn’t. One wonders how on earth she manages to keep going - and yet she does. There must be thousands of women in their early twenties just like Elise - fresh out of a boozy university experience, career-disillusioned and in a toxic relationship - but the last time I looked they weren’t all queuing up in their trainers to set off round the country from Greenwich. There is certainly something extraordinary about Elise Downing, but of course she doesn’t think there is, and that absence of self-belief is what makes the book so engaging and relatable. With lots of support and encouragement from her adventure community, parents who should probably get an award of some kind and the inexhaustible kindness of strangers, she covers much of the distance with friendly co-runners and free access to warm spare rooms. The trip, however, is not without its traumas and tears - lots of tears - so many in fact one worries she might contribute to a rise in sea levels. Coasting is a classic adventure story wherein an individual has erased the challenges of their life through a bigger, all-consuming challenge and by putting themselves somewhere they perhaps shouldn’t be, has discovered much more of who they really are. *** Don't miss Elise Downing share the story of her run around the UK coast at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
The Comfort Book is just that. A beautifully packaged, beautifully comforting hug in a book. Haig’s lists, aphorisms, quotes, case studies and recipes are an antidote to today’s busy lifestyles, medicine for our crazy lives. It is suggested that you should read it how you want; “it’s as messy as life”. And there is something incredibly liberating about being told there are no rules on opening a book. So then I flicked. Because I could. Because I was given permission to. I came to a chapter: Short. Life is short. Be kind. And it make me stop and think about when I last displayed kindness. Am I too busy in my life juggling. existing. coping. to show kindness as much as I should. We need to give ourselves space. To breathe. And I spent 15 minutes on that page. Six words. Another page with 10 words I laughed out loud at. Pasta, is all I have to say. This book really made me stop. And think. And breathe. The pace of my life stopped each time I picked it up. And that space was so needed. The book is filled with Haig’s reflections on hope, survival and the messy miracle of being alive. He shares his collection of consolations learned in hard times and suggestions for making the bad day’s better. For now, I’m still enjoying it but know I’ll keep it by my bed or maybe next to the toilet for people to share. It’s a book to be savoured. To be enjoyed. To come back to. It’s a marathon. Not a sprint. He includes quotes from Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, Nietzsche, existential philosopher Rollo May, Bruce Lee. Haig’s witty. He’s wise. I love the way he writes, the way he imparts wisdom, shares his nuggets on life and I recognise that I haven’t got a routine baggy enough to live in. Thank you Matt for the comfort. I’m off to make Matt’s hummus. And eat crisps. And get some “baggy” in my life.
I was really interested to read this book, as I enjoy running myself. However, the thought of even one marathon is alarming let alone 35 in 35 days! However, that is what Alan Corcoran did in the summer of 2012. Following his father’s sudden stroke, Alan decided he needed to do something to channel his energy and raise money for the charities that helped his father. He thought up this idea of running around Ireland, which broke down to a total of 35 marathons. This book details his journey from thinking up the challenge, to setting it in motion, to each marathon at a time. He encountered huge challenges along the way even before he started, especially with the sheer amount of logistics involved from accommodation, to food, to a support team. He details each of the marathons that he completes and the highs and lows. I really felt for him along his journey and was willing him on as he encountered injury, after injury. The amount of determination this man has is incredible and I whole heartedly admire him for what he did – a fantastic read. Nicola Coen, A LoveReading Ambassador
Are your thoughts out of control--just like your life? Do you long to break free from the spiral of destructive thinking? Let God's truth become your battle plan to win the war in your mind! We've all tried to think our way out of bad habits and unhealthy thought patterns, only to find ourselves stuck with an out-of-control mind and off-track daily life. Pastor and New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel understands deeply this daily battle against self-doubt and negative thinking, and in this powerful new book he reveals the strategies he's discovered to change your mind and your life for the long-term. Drawing upon Scripture and the latest findings of brain science, Groeschel lays out practical strategies that will free you from the grip of harmful, destructive thinking and enable you to live the life of joy and peace that God intends you to live. Winning the War in Your Mind will help you: Learn how your brain works and see how to rewire it Identify the lies your enemy wants you to believe Recognize and short-circuit your mental triggers for destructive thinking See how prayer and praise will transform your mind Develop practices that allow God's thoughts to become your thoughts God has something better for your life than your old ways of thinking. It's time to change your mind so God can change your life. Exercises and appendix are available in the audiobook companion PDF download.
I came across ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ by Dr Derek Gladwin at the perfect time. This is a well-written and clearly structured book that forms a part of the MindYourSelf book series - a series created with the intention of providing clear, peer reviewed information from frontline professionals that, although not a replacement for personalised medical advice from your doctors, can help us to take better care of ourselves. Very clear and broken up into easy to follow chapters, ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ focuses on how we use storytelling in our everyday lives to form narratives about ourselves and the world around us. These narratives are formed by our experiences and shape the way we feel and think. Taking us gradually through why we tell stories to how to change the negative things we say and think about ourselves, Dr Derek Gladwin provides information and practical advice on how to reframe these negative narratives into positive affirmations as well as changing our perceptions of the world around us. I personally found the ‘Thinking Too Much’, ‘Living Moment by Moment’ sections to be most helpful. I really enjoyed the layout of this book, the summarising bullet points and the reflection questions throughout let you ponder over recent topics, allowing you the time for greater insight of how internalised narratives affect your thinking before moving through the chapters to more practical tips on how to change the stories we tell ourselves. I also liked the concept, as a bookworm I felt at home with the analogy of internalised beliefs are stories we tell ourselves, and how to practice editing and rewriting these narratives. I personally struggle to remember to implement the advice in self help books but I feel that the author has hit on a really clear to understand perspective with ‘Rewriting Our Stories’, and one that I know I will remember and be able to reflect on and utilise in the future. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
In addition to all the essential technical advice and insider knowledge that one would expect from a solid “How to..” book, the first half of How to Run a Marathon is very much focused on the “Why?". A few chapters in, you realise why radio presenter and sports journalist Vassos Alexander has afforded as much time to inspiration as he has to execution. Unless, deep down, you really want to run a marathon, it simply isn’t going to happen. To help you find the itch there are many inspiring (and funny!) tales of why running 26.2 miles is something so life-changing. From the blind to the barefoot, we hear the running stories of some extraordinary people from a man who seems to know everyone in the game. From Athens to Boston we run alongside a community where love and support are as present as personal achievement. And from Vassos himself we get the inside track on the very personal journey of the marathon runner in all its fun-loving, food-poisoned, rain-soaked and wall-hitting glory. Learn how to train, how to stretch, how to ‘respect the taper’.. and gain some crucial nuggets of wisdom: “A good laugh and a long run are the two best cures for anything”. This book has everything to get you over the line. Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
If you feel like a bit of a makeover is in order, but know that quick fixes never work, then our new Mind, Body and category could be perfect for you.
We have a selection of books that will give you the knowledge to make changes to your life physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
From books on better backs to coping better with relationship break ups all the books can help in some way, but please don’t expect any quick fixes or miracle cures!