Sometimes life is just too goddamn busy to read an epic novel without needing to have days or even weeks in between each sitting. Thus, inspiring essays and short stories are usually here to save the day!

After a busy month of travelling to Cyprus, visiting family and planning my birthday celebrations, here are the inspirational reads and short stories that have kept me sane throughout my reading challenge and busy weeks…

1. Very British Problems by Rob Temple

“Forgetting to remove your book before stowing away your bag and taking the window seat, meaning you won’t see it again for nine hours.”

This completes No. 39 of my reading challenge: The first book in a series you haven’t read before.

Originally intended as just a neverending series of Tweets about common problems Brits fall prey to, Rob Temple successfully grew his social media following to be large enough to now have a Channel 4 TV show and a few books dedicated to the subject.

This was a rather hilarious read and made me realise that I’m not a weird introvert. I’m just a Brit. I implore any of you Brits out there to try reading this without: a) cringing at our awkward nation, b) laughing at said awkward nation or c) agree with each and every “VBP”. Very British Problems, I have to give you 5 stars.

2. Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth by Lonely Planet

“Commit to the experience of a lifetime.”

This ticks off No. 30: A book with pictures.

Although Lonely Planet has boomed into a giant corporation over the years, I still find them a treasure trove for travel inspiration, incredible photography and interesting experiences. I’ve read a number of their books over the years and always opt for their guidebooks.

This book: Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth was a free Kindle ebook and a great little nugget of travel inspiration for future trips and ideas to grow my own travel wishlist. It may be a little light on information in some places, but if you’re simply after some travel inspiration and an easy read, then this one definitely ticks those boxes. Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth, I give you 3 stars.

3. Secret Europe by Lonely Planet

“Think you know Europe? Discover the continent’s best-kept travel secrets.”

This book sees No. 8 completed: A book with multiple authors.

This was an enjoyable quick read from a few of Lonely Planet’s expert writers. You will likely have heard of a number of the locations included in this book, but you may never have thought of them as worth visiting:

  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Stryn, Norway
  • Gijón, Spain
  • Ribe, Denmark
  • Naples, Italy
  • Cyclades, Greece
  • Szombathely, Hungary
  • Vilnius, Lithuania

Although guilty of not going into much depth on each place, for another free ebook, that’s not really a huge issue. I enjoy reading about new places worth visiting, and as can be expected, there’s plenty of stunning photography included in this one. Secret Europe, I give you 3 stars.

4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Q: What is creativity?
A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.”

And this sees No. 20 of my reading challenge completed: A book with career advice.

You may recognise Elizabeth Gilbert as the brains behind Eat Pray Love, the inspiring true story of a woman venturing (solo) to Italy, India and Indonesia. Since then, Gilbert has written a few novels and now Big Magic – a book about living creatively.

This book is packed full of inspiration and advice for aspiring writers, and has been invaluable to me as a travel writer and business blogger. I think this book will continue to sit on my shelf as reference material for a long time to come. Big Magic, I give you 5 stars.

5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

No. 17 is now ticked off: A book involving a mythical creature.

As some of you may know already, my other half and I are reading the Harry Potter novels together. Can you believe he’s never read them before? Alongside the shorter reads of the past few weeks, we finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which quite frankly, needs no introduction.

I ADORE the Harry Potter books (and movies). The final two novels in the series are by far my favourite as you learn so much about Dumbledore and Voldemort. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I give you 5 stars (of course).

Well, that’s it until next time. I’m currently re-reading a few favourites from teenagerdom and my early 20s, which I can’t wait to share with you soon. Keep an eye out on my upcoming reading challenge blogs!

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Text Credits:

Rob Temple, Very British Problems, 2013
Lonely Planet, Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth by Lonely Planet, 2013
Lonely Planet, Secret Europe, 2016
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, 2015
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2005

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