Tag Archives: Inspiration

Born to Run by Cathy Freeman

Image result for book cover born to run cathy freeman

Title: Born to Run
Author: Cathy Freeman
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authorsBiographies, Indigenous Australians, Inspiration, Sport
Dates read: 20th – 22nd November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: We pressed them together to signify that we were blood brother and sister forever.


Hi guys,

Ever since I was little I only had one dream – to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

When I was twenty-seven years old, my dream came true. I’ll never forget that night at the Sydney 2000 Games – as I crossed the finish line, it was as if the whole of Australia was cheering for me.

Sometimes I still wonder how it happened. When I was growing up, I felt no different to anyone else. I lvoed having fun with my brothers, sleeping over at Nanna’s and going horse riding with my dad. But I especially loved to run. With the help of my family, coaches and teachers, I became the best female 400-metre runner in the world.

I hope you enjoy my story, and that it inspires you to chase after your dreams, too!

❤ Cathy


I remember watching the Sydney 2000 Olympics as a kid. Remember watching Cathy Freeman light the torch, remember when she won her golds. Although I didn’t understand what the “big fuss” was, I did feel that same national pride as everyone else. What I had never realised was that she wrote a biography seven years later. I only discovered this because I happened to be looking for a book written by a female athlete. And I’m really glad that I did…

This is one of the easiest biographies I think I’ve ever read. It is open, honest and fun. there isn’t a lot of detail throughout the pages, but rather, an outlining of each piece of information as you progress through the years of her life. And it was a far more interesting journey than I was kind of imagining. Freeman not only talks about her love of running and freedom, but she also discusses her thankfulness for her family and the support that she’s received.

Not only is this an inspiring story – it’s also one that is very much about family. There is not a chapter in the novel that doesn’t mention her mother and step-father, father and siblings. Anne-Marie her deceased sister is specifically talked about throughout. It’s not just about the journey and the hard work that Cathy Freeman had to put in to her passions to get to the Olympics. It’s also about the fun, the family and the journey. Something that I can’t forget and will definitely flick through again when I need a reminder that YOU CAN DO THIS!

My biggest regret with this story is the fact that I didn’t know about it until recently. This would have been a phenomenal book to read when I was younger. This is a good insight into a very well known Indigenous Australian and some of the hurdles that she had to overcome because of Australia’s racism.

 <- The Diary of a Young GirlBreathe: A Life in Flow ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Image result for julie and julia book cover

Title: Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Author: Julie Powell
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Food, Inspiration, Memoirs
Dates read: 18th – 20th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: But I did not live in 1961, nor did I live in France, which would have made things simpler.

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Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that’s “irresistible….A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef” (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves’ livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.


I absolutely loved the movie Julie and Julia, so when I found the book on sale, I was deliriously excited. Possibly a little too excited. But, as it turns out – I was probably all happy and hopped up on my new book purchase for a good reason. Because this novel is also amazing. I just couldn’t put it down. Actually, I think that my partner got kind of fed up with me talking about this non stop for about 24 hours.

Normally when I read a book that has been turned into a movie, I have a clear favourite. 99% of the time that favourite is the book – let’s face it, they just fit so much more in to a book than they can in a movie! That wasn’t the case with this! Both versions had amazing merit, but differed enough that I still couldn’t wait to read about the next insane experience that Julie Powell experienced in her year long quest for… something. She’s not entirely sure what, and neither am I. But I can tell you that it was a brilliant adventure regardless. And that I have to do something, but I don’t know what – well, that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately, so it was probably the best book for me to pick up at this point in my life.

One warning I do have about this book – don’t eat it while you’re hungry. Even if you’ve just eaten, you’re going to want to go into the kitchen and just whip up some random meal. At least, for my food obsessed self – I was constantly thinking about food and cooking while reading this. Sadly, I don’t really have the time to try and master French cooking… but it’s made me want to try!

Mostly this book is funny and cute. But, it’s also a great tale of finding yourself and figuring out what you want to do in your next life… or about a mid-life crisis. Either way, I could relate WAAAAAAY too much to this story. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I have NO IDEA what I’m doing with my life! Because you can find a random project to pursue and maybe find a little bit more about yourself in the mean time… although, a PhD could be that random project… I’m getting off track now.

 <- Cleaving ReviewOne (Wo)man, One Vote Review ->

Image source: Amazon

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony


The Elephant WhispererTitle: The Elephant Whisperer
Author: Lawrence Anthony
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: BiographiesConservationInspirationNon-fiction
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan Books
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: If he was shaking, it was with anger – not an overdose of electrons.

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When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of ‘rogue’ wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd’s last chance of survival – dangerous and unpredictable, they would be killed if Anthony wouldn’t take them in.

As Anthony risked his life to create a bond with the troubled elephants and persuade them to stay on his reserve, he came to realise what a special family they were, from the wise matriarch nana, who guided the herd, to her warrior sister Frankie, always ready to see off any threat, and their children who fought so hard to survive.

With unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, this is an enthralling look that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.


No matter how many times I read this book, I will still be in awe. Inspired. And wishing that I could return to South Africa. I actually originally bought this (and read it) on the way back to Australia from Johannesburg. And it was glorious. Impossible to put down, and one of the most inspiring conservation stories that I have ever read. Reading it the second time, well, my response really hasn’t changed in the slightest…

Lawrence Anthony is both an engaging storyteller and passionate conservationist. His maverick approach to problem solving and incredible gumption mean that you are on the edge of your seat the entire time you read of his exploits. And the fact that his life and exploits feature an amazing herd of elephants, and some incredibly picturesque scenery. After all, Africa has some of the most iconic animals in the world, and it is impossible not to imagine yourself going on game rides right alongside Anthony and his staff.

I love no-hold way in which this story is told. There is no sugar coating the difficulties of life in the bush and the horrors which it can entail. Nature takes its course, and rather than trying to redirect the ebbs and flows of life, Anthony partakes in all of its mystery. It reminds me why I love being out in the bush and just enjoying what our countryside has to offer, even if my countryside has far smaller animals than his…

 <- Babylon’s Ark Review The Last Rhinos Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love

Title: Eat Pray Love
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Biographies, InspirationMemoirs
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: But Luca and his friends didn’t go out to a bar to cheer themselves up.

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Elizabeth is in her thirties, settled in a large house with a husband who wants to start a family. But she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a rebound fling later, Elizabeth emerges battered yet determined to find what she’s been missing.

So begins her quest. In Rome, she indulges herself and gains nearly two stone. In India, she finds enlightenment through scrubbing temple floors. Finally, in Bali, a toothless medicine man reveals a new path to peace, leaving her ready to love again.


I’ve seen the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I thought that maybe the book would be mildly interesting since the movie was something I very much enjoyed. Especially since it’s supposed to be a great book about discovering yourself and finding your path in life. And, honestly, it was. The part that really shocked me though was the fact that it was so amazingly well and engagingly written.

Gilbert’s voice is one of those that you can see lingering throughout the next few generations. She discusses issues and realities that face every woman at some point in their lives. And she does so in a starkly honest manner. I love that in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the idea of women wanting to have children, and be the perfect housewives, this is a woman who wants to travel and has no interest in having children. And it’s a great reminder that it is COMPLETELY okay to feel this way. And it’s okay to go on a massive adventure to find yourself.

I loved how this novel was broken up – 109 small stories that all worked together but could also be read as somewhat separate tales. It made it very difficult to put down, but also gave great pausing moments when I actually had to be a responsible adult. It was so incredibly nice to have a small moment in which to disappear to Italy, India or Indonesia. A great moment in which to forget all about lives problems and travel on the wings of a woman who has truly experienced life at its fullest. And now I have to wait for the next few books I’ve order to arrive on my shelf…

 <- Committed ReviewEat Pray Love Made Me Do It Review ->
Image source: Book Cover Archive

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling


Very Good LivesTitle: Very Good Live: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: InspirationSpeech
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Sphere
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: It is my dream that within our lifetime the very idea of institutionalising children will seem to belong to a cruel fictional world.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life’s most important questions with acuity and emotional force.


I wasn’t expecting this. I hadn’t actually read the blurb, just bought a book by J.K. Rowling because I’m completely in love. And although it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Not an earth-shatteringly inspiring talk, but it was definitely a great reminder of the fact that you can overcome.

I’m at a point in my life when I am not only working incredibly hard, but taking a lot of risks with my future and feeling, quite honestly, overwhelmed and lost. And most of all, terrified that I’m going to fail. It was nice to read about the fact that others (who are imminently more successful than I will ever be) have failed. And then succeeded. It was a great reminder that even if I fail, I can find a way to move past it. Almost to embrace the thought of future failure…

And on that note, I am going to continue working in the hopes that even though I can, I won’t actually fail at this…

 <- More Inspiration reviews More speech reviews ->
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