Back off from 50 Shades of Grey (I hope you already have), cheesy vampire stories and lousy self-help books that claim will help you land a millionaire or dream the lottery numbers. If you are looking for true inspiration and for books that will tickle your brain these page-turners are exactly for you!
I am particularly proud of this list as it is balanced and powerful. The true stories I collected will make you relive the deeply touching life of each character, while the specific setting of each story will enrich you with knowledge – history, psychology, probability, disease, social stigma, poverty, domestic violence, surviving, overcoming, enduring, succeeding. This is a small part of everything you’ll get. Forget about cheesy stories – these books will give you something to think of and something to talk about!
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? This book is a pure inspiration and is full of amazing stories and extraordinary achievements.
Goodreads rating: 4.28/5
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler.
Goodreads rating: 4,12/5
A touching story of the women who were forced to surrender their children between the 1950s and 1973. Because of the stigma attached to out-of-wedlock pregnancies, young expecting women were send to special facilities where they spend the last few months of their pregnancy, gave birth and surrendered their children for adoption. Ann Fessler uses history, statistics and commentary to capture the big picture. The fact that all stories featured in the book are true stories makes it an absolutely unique read.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
This book gave me a punch in the gut and was extremely eye-opening. Have you ever wondered what the life of a homeless, poor, hungry person is like? When you read Orwell’s account you will see it was no different than it is now. After you read this story you will have a brand new appreciation for the things you have.
“Besides, we both have brains. A man with brains can’t starve. Brains will make money out of everything!”
Goodreads rating: 4.09/5
The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco
In my opinion Eco’s novels are the Harvard doctorate to Dan Brown’s middle school nonsense and if you want to experience a real historical-religious thriller, Il Nomber De La Rosa (The Name of The Rose) is the way to go!
“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means…”
Goodreads rating: 4.08/5
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
If you don’t feel like talking in a world that won’t shut up, this book is the empowering read you need. It touches on problems all introverts face: the social stigma attached to being an introverted person. It seems in today’s world that it is always better to speak, even if you don’t have anything to say, rather than to keep to yourself.
Goodreads rating: 4.01/5
Room by Emma Donoghue
The story is told by a five-year old, but that is no reason to underestimate its power. Room is about a mum and a son who live in a single room and face the daily horrors of domestic violence and abuse. Room is all the little boy knows and he and his Ma will try to make the most of their situation.
“I call it mind over matter. If you don’t mind it wouldn’t matter!”
Goodreads rating: 3.96/5
Forever Today: A True Story of Lost Memory and Never – Ending Love by Deborah Wearing
This memoir shares the true story of English musician Clive Wearing. A disease destroyed the memory part of Clive’s brain at the time he became a recognised BBC music producer. He lost himself in amnesia, leaving his wife desperate to find a cure.
Goodreads rating: 3.83/5
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Do you believe that even some of the most improbable things can have the greatest impact? The Black Swan raises some very interesting and profound questions. According to Taleb black swans underlie everything in our world from major events such as rises of religion, wars and 9/11 to small events in our lives.
Goodreads rating: 3.83/5
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
It is amazing that even after 70 years, one can still discover new and enchanting stories of people who lived during the WWII. The book is about human folly. War slowly brings the worst part of human nature. The book will show a mother looking for sweets in a town with no food, people worrying about losing their jobs while others are losing their lives.
The novel was written in 1942, but the author herself was Jewish and soon after she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.
Goodreads rating: 3.78/5
22 Britania Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
“Housekeeper or housewife?” the soldier asks Silvana as she and eight- year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England at the end of World War II. “Survivor,” she answers. In England, Silvana’s husband Janusz is awaiting for them in a small place at 22 Britania Road. The war has changed the family so much though, they will barely recognize each other. Is love capable of turning these estranged people into a family again?
Goodreads rating: 3.60/5
Bonus Book: Success Unlimited by Kizzi Nkwocha
I am biased when it comes to this one, as I have written a chapter for it, but maybe this is one reason, I can assure you, you will like it. I did my best and so did other authors. Published by Mithra Piblishing, this book came out just this month (April,2015). It features some true success stories, tried and tested success tips that will help you break bad habits and make room for positive ones.
You can purchase it here.
Next on my list come:
Will let you know how these turn out!
Cover Image Credits: For Art’s Sake