Skip to main content

10 Books to Inspire You

5th May, 2020

Dive into books by and about inspirational people, and stories that will put a fire in your belly. 


1. My Life on the Road

by Gloria Steinem


Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker.

In vivid stories that span an entire career, and with the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman’s life-long journey.

A New York Times bestseller and the first book chosen by Emma Watson for her ‘Our Shared Shelf’ Book Club. 


Find out more about My Life on the Road here


book jacket image

2. Genius and Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947

by Norman Lebrecht


Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Bernhardt and Kafka. These visionaries all have something in common – their Jewish origins and a gift for thinking outside the box.

A unique chronicle of the hundred-year period when the Jewish people changed the world – and it changed them.

‘Lebrecht’s passion is persuasive, while the depth and variety of his reading and the sweep of his writing consistently engage.’ TLS


Find out more about Genius and Anxiety here



3. Priests de la Resistance!: The loose canons who fought Fascism in the twentieth century

by Fergus Butler-Gallie


In this spellbinding new collection, the Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie, bestselling author of A Field Guide to the English Clergy, presents fifteen men and women who dared to stand up to fascism, proving that some hearts will never be conquered.

 Who says you can’t fight fascism in a cassock?

 ‘… this book is a gripping story of bravery, derring-do and cunning in the face of Fascism… vividly told tales of 15 people who became caught up in the struggles against Fascism in Europe in the 1930s.’ Tablet


Find out more about Priests de la Resistance! here



4. A People’s History of Heaven

by Mathangi Subramanian


In the sprawling Bangalore slum of Heaven, five girls – Muslim, Christian and Hindu; gay and straight – form an unbreakable bond. These are girls who refuse to be silenced, no matter how much their city would like to forget they exist. But now Heaven is threatened by government bulldozers, and the friends must come together to protect the close-knit, vibrant community they call home. 

Sparkling with passion and courage and laced with humour, this is the story of five unforgettable young women and their fierce determination, not only to survive, but to triumph.

‘The women are not there for our pity; they are there to be listened to. How refreshing.’ New York Times Book Review


Find out more about A People’s History of Heaven here



5. A History of Britain in 21 Women: A Personal Selection

by Jenni Murray


They were famous queens, unrecognised visionaries, great artists and trailblazing politicians. They all pushed back boundaries and revolutionised our world. Jenni Murray presents the history of Britain as you’ve never seen it before, through the lives of twenty-one women who refused to succumb to the established laws of society, whose lives embodied hope and change, and who still have the power to inspire us today.

 ‘Fascinating…this entertaining book will be enjoyed by women of all ages.’ BBC History Magazine


Find out more about A History of Britain in 21 Women here




6. A History of the World in 21 Women: A Personal Selection

by Jenni Murray


Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science. Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. Anna Politkovskaya dared to speak truth to power, no matter the cost. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops.

And that is exactly what Jenni Murray is here to do, in a wonderful follow-up to her History of Britain in 21 Women.

‘Ambitious, engaging and accessible. Who better than Jenni Murray to curate this whistle-stop tour of the globe and introduce twenty-one women who in different times and different places dared to be different?’ Dr Anna Whitelock, author of Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen


Find out more about A History of the World in 21 Women here



7.  The Wishing Star – Playdate Adventures Book 1

by Emma Beswetherick


It’s the start of a new term and Katy can’t wait to have her two best friends over for a playdate.
Katy, Cassie and Zia find themselves transported into outer space when their rocket made out of recycled waste magically becomes life-sized. With the help of Katy’s cat Thunder, the girls navigate their way to the Wishing Star. But as they prepare to make their own wishes, the girls discover they have a greater mission: TO SAVE PLANET EARTH.

‘Every young girl should read this series!’ Amanda Holden


Find out more about The Wishing Star here





8. The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living

by Mark Boyle


Imagine a year living without spending money. Former businessman Mark Boyle undertook this extraordinary challenge and recounts the amazing adventure it led him on. Going back to basics and following his own strict rules, Mark learned ingenious ways to eliminate his bills and discovered that friendship has no price.

A testament to Mark’s astounding determination, this witty and thought-provoking book will make you reevaluate what is most precious in life.

‘He relates his travails with charisma, self-deprecation and an ability to look at the bigger picture… It’s an intriguing look at what can be done with determination and an open mind.’ The Big Issue


Find out more about The Moneyless Man here




9. The Sky is Mine

by Amy Beashel


Trapped under the weight of expectation and censored by shame, Izzy feels invisible. Her mum Steph and best friend Grace have always been there to save her. But with one under the control of her stepfather and the other caught in the throes of new love, Izzy is falling between the cracks.

As threats to her safety grow, Izzy wants to scream. But first she must find her voice.

And if the sky is the limit, then the sky is hers.

(For readers aged 15+)

‘A powerful page-turner with giant heart. A book that everyone needs to read. Izzy is my hero, and her voice deserves to be heard around the world. Stunning.’ Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe


Find out more about The Sky is Mine here




10. On the Other Side of Freedom: Race and Justice in a Divided America

by DeRay Mckesson


DeRay Mckesson quit his job as a schoolteacher, moved to Ferguson, Missouri, and spent the next 400 days on the streets as an activist, helping to bring the Black Lives Matter movement into being.

Now, in his first book, he draws on his own experiences. It is a visionary’s call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.

‘He forces anyone who reads his words to understand the humanity of the black body; the black body that has otherwise been demonised, made monster-like, or contorted into some negative narrative. A vital read, if you are to truly know resistance, and the stories it gives rise to.’ Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie


Find out more about On the Other Side of Freedom here




Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.

Select mailing lists