Some of our favourite non-fiction reads take the form of memoirs, exploring inspiring life stories and the experiences and pursuits that can change a person’s life.
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
The Salt Path is a thoughtful and inspiring story of strength, endurance, and survival. It chronicles the author’s walk of the 630 mile South West Coast path with her husband, and her immersive narrative transports you along with them.
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey. The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world.
Find it here.
Rootbound: Rewilding a Life by Alice Vincent
If you’ve already read The Salt Path and crave something similar, try gardening columnist Alice Vincent’s Rootbound. Vincent mixes memoir, botanical history and biography, examining how bringing a little bit of the outside in can help us find our feet in a world spinning far too fast.
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.
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This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
Adam Kay is a former doctor and comedy writer, and this memoir based on his real-life diaries offers an honest, harrowing yet hilarious insight into the life of junior doctors.
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line.
Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
Find it here.