11 books to uplift and inspire you
After a year of uncertainty, many of us are hoping to enter the new year with a positive frame of mind. Whether your resolution is to practise more self-care or if you’re simply looking to use reading as a means of escapism, we’ve rounded up our top picks that will uplift and inspire you next year.
When she was a girl, Alice Vincent loved her grandfather’s garden – the freedom, the calm, the beauty of it. Twenty years later, living in a tiny flat in South London, that childhood in the garden feels like a dream. When she suddenly finds herself uprooted, heartbroken, living out of a suitcase and yearning for the comfort of home, Alice starts to plant seeds. She nurtures pot plants and vines on windowsills and draining boards, filling her new space with green, and with each unfurling petal and budding leaf, she begins to come back to life. Mixing memoir, botanical history and biography, Rootbound examines how bringing a little bit of the outside in can help us find our feet in a world spinning far too fast.
Most failures can teach us something meaningful about ourselves if we choose to listen. In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, distilling them into seven principles of failure. The book recognises and celebrates the fact that failure connects us all and is what makes us human.
Jennifer Jones’ life began when her little sister, Kerry, was born. So when her sister dies in a tragic accident, nothing seems to make sense any more. Despite the support of her husband, Ed, and their wonderful children, Jen can’t comprehend why she is still here, while bright, spirited Kerry is not. When Jen starts to lose herself in her memories of her sister, she doesn’t realise that the closer she feels to Kerry, the further she gets from her family. Jen was never able to say goodbye to her sister. But what if she could?
Our senses have a powerful effect on how we think, feel and behave, yet we don’t use them to their full potential. For over a decade, multi-sensory marketing expert Russell Jones has been using the science of the senses to design products, brands and retail environments that tantalise our senses in revolutionary ways. In this new book, Jones takes research from the worlds of neuroscience, experimental and behavioural psychology and beyond, and shows you how to live more multi-sensorially; paying attention to the sounds, scents, colours, objects, shapes and textures that constantly surround you, to profoundly impact and improve every aspect of your life. Sense is a fascinating and revelatory look at how you can use your senses in a way you never have before.
As a clinical psychologist, Dr Nicole LePera often found herself frustrated by the limitations of traditional psychotherapy. Wanting more for her patients – and for herself – she began a journey to develop a united philosophy of mental, physical and spiritual health that equips people with the interdisciplinary tools necessary to heal themselves. After experiencing the life-changing results herself, she began to share what she’d learned with others – and soon The Holistic Psychologist was born. Dr LePera offers readers the support and tools that will allow them to break free from destructive behaviours to reclaim and recreate their lives. Nothing short of a paradigm shift, How To Do The Work is a celebration of empowerment that will forever change the way we approach mental health and self-care.
Deira isn’t the kind of woman to steal a car. Or drive to France alone with no plan. But then, Deira didn’t expect to be single. Or to suddenly realise that the only way she can get the one thing she wants most is to start breaking every rule she lives by. Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken. She doesn’t really want to be on it but she’s following his instructions, as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she’ll be able to let him go. Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Grace and Deira find that it’s easier to share secrets with a stranger, especially in the shimmering sunny countryside of Spain and France. But they soon find that there’s no escaping the truth, whether you’re running away from it or racing towards it.
Me Time helps you to make self-care a restorative, everyday practice – even when you might only have one minute free. Follow its four simple steps to transform yourself from surviving to thriving. Your wise, inspiring and sensible friend, this healing book effortlessly guides you through everything you need to know to carve out time for self-care and make these moments count.
Much of value has been written about sleep, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. The Art of Rest draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on: ‘The Rest Test’, the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. The survey revealed how people get rest and how it is directly linked to your sense of wellbeing. Counting down through the top ten activities which people find most restful, Hammond explains why rest matters, examines the science behind the results to establish what really works and offers a roadmap for a new, more restful and balanced life.
The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. Notes On A Nervous Planet explores how we can stay sane on a planet that makes us mad; how we can stay human in a technological world; and how we can feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious.
Where does self-confidence come from? How does it work? Why are some people more confident than others? On the surface, these seem like simple questions – but answers can feel hard to come by when we need them most. In this bestselling book, Charles Pepin brings to light the strange alchemy that is self-confidence. Pepin examines the role confidence plays in the lives of our most respected public figures including the likes of Madonna, Mozart, Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King and Serena Williams, and argues that above all, to live a life of confidence is to live a life of action. Drawing on the collective wisdom of philosophers, psychologists and the lives of people we encounter on a daily basis, Pepin invites us to probe the mystery and mastery of self-confidence.
Are you tired, stressed and trying your best but somehow still not doing enough? Has the bottom half of your to-do list been locked in place for months? Is everything becoming work as your job seeps into your evenings, you monetise your hobbies and perform your leisure time on social media? This is ‘burnout’. We are exhausted but burnout is not a personal failing. It is a creeping part of modern culture, shaped by deep-rooted political, historical and economic forces, and it is affecting how we work, parent, socialise and inhabit the world. Anne Helen Petersen identifies burnout with moving clarity – what it feels like and how it manifests across communities. Through her own experience, original interviews and detailed analysis, she traces the institutional and generational causes of burnout. And, in doing so, she helps us to let go of our guilt and imagine a possible future.