I adore autobiographies or memoirs and quite honestly don't read enough of them. Taking place either over many years or during a specific time, these books can give you an understanding of a life you'd quite like to have or inspire you to make changes in your own. Chances are, someone else has been there before and written a book about it. (And if they haven't, maybe you could?) The books I've chosen are inspirational to me. Writing, cooking and baking along with my new 'Good Life' type life.
1. Recipe for Life: The Autobiography by Mary Berry – Before The Great British Bake Off made her a household name with a younger generation Mary Berry was and is, first and foremost, a food writer. She was food editor for Ideal Home magazine in the 1970s and has written around seventy recipe books. Mary is an amazing woman and I'm always inspired by her. I also swear by her recipes.
2. Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook – This has to be the best book on writing I've ever read. Granted I've only read a handful but even so, if you're needing inspiration, or you want to know how a successful writer does it, read it. You don't even need to know your Doctor Who. Benjamin Cook is a journalist who contributes to the Doctor Who Magazine. He approached Russell about writing an article and their one year email exchange subsequently became a book. It's not a 'how to' but how he did it and the final year of Russell being the Head Writer of the successful TV series. Fascinating, revealing and insightful – I can't recommend enough.
3. On Writing by Stephen King – I've had this in my collection for numerous years but shockingly, not actually read it (am reading it now though!). It was recommended by Amanda and Debs from the Novelicious Team which nudged me to go and dig it out from my large to-be-read pile. I hadn't realised it was also part memoir which is why I'm including it here.
4. Pigs in Clover: Or How I Accidentally Fell In Love with the Good Life by Simon Dawson – If you're thinking of changing direction with your life, if you like animals or if you just want an honest and often funny account of someone giving the Good Life a go, then this is for you. Inspiring, funny, emotional and frank. I loved this book.
5. The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World's Toughest Rowing Race by James Cracknell and Ben Fogle – You might think this an odd choice. After all I don't row, I've no ambitions to cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat and it has nothing to do with food, writing or animals. But this book is truly and utterly inspiring. It follows James Cracknell (Olympic athlete) and Ben Fogle (presenter who came to our attention in Castaway) undertaking the Atlantic Rowing Race from The Canary Islands to Antigua in 2005/2006. They were completely under prepared for the trip, endured blisters, being capsized, arguments, bickering, sleeplessness and hallucinations. But they persevered and finally made it to the other side. This book inadvertently inspired me to give this writing lark a go.