Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue

Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue, Books to motivate and inspire you to take another step and push through one day at a time. Never give up! Biljana Hutchinson #books #memoirs #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment

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What do you do when it’s all going down? In times when it seems as if nothing’s ever gonna get better. When it appears that whatever you do is taking you deeper into the dungeon of despair? 

I’ve been there. Trust me. I tried and used different methods to get myself out of the darkness, and many of them helped me tremendously in getting back to normal, functional daily life. From simple everyday walks in early mornings through therapy and intensive physical training with a personal trainer to expanding my knowledge with new hobbies, then a new career and yoga. There was one constant that was part of all the methods that I used and the one that I enjoyed the most, reading. 

Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue, Books to motivate and inspire you to take another step and push through one day at a time. Never give up! Biljana Hutchinson #books #memoirs #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment

Reading for me is a go-to activity through thick and thin. If I’m down, I will look for an escape in books, either by exploring a new subject to give my mind a different focus or just by diving into a new world opposite of mine. If I’m happy, I’ll expand my TBR list with new purchases and pick a new read in excitement. 

I used to read fiction exclusively in my spare time, but in the past few years, I discovered a whole new world of non-fiction and developed a tremendous love for memoirs and autobiographies in particular. Many of them picked me rather than the other way around, I dare to say. Somehow, the timing appeared to be just right to come across a book that described what I was going through but also showed me that there is that famous light at the end of a tunnel. A book that soothes the scars and lifts up in times of blues. 

I picked out my favourite 10 that inspired me, carried me into the next day and pushed me to take another step. Here they are in no particular order. 

Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue, Books to motivate and inspire you to take another step and push through one day at a time. Never give up! Biljana Hutchinson #books #memoirs #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. A mind-blowing account of facing death and becoming a father at the same time. It’s a beautifully written memoir that combines science, language and literature. Inspirational and heartbreaking.

I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell. The subtitle of the memoir is Seventeen Brushes with Death, and it’s a collection of seventeen near-death experiences in an extraordinary life of the author. 

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Before he had a stroke, Bauby was editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine and a father of two children. After the stoke, he ended up in a 20-day long coma and woke up with a lock-in syndrome able to blink his left eye only. That is how he dictated this book.  

Living With the Dead Language by Ann Patty. If you are like me, a lover of Latin language and literature and memoirs then this is a perfect book for you. The story of self-discovering and redefining life purpose combined with good humour, honesty and beautiful writing will teach and entertain you. 

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. A memoir in books of a teacher and her seven dedicated students that tells a story of the power of literature and resilience in the times of revolution, censorship and denying freedom in Iran. 

Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue, Books to motivate and inspire you to take another step and push through one day at a time. Never give up! Biljana Hutchinson #books #memoirs #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Together with Reading Lolita in Tehran, this memoir is on my list not only because I am fascinated with that part of the world but because, although different, both are testimonies to resilience, wisdom and strength in difficult times. Persepolis is a graphic memoir with a tremendous amount of humour and heartbreak. 

Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill. Published in 1954, this story of Douglas Bader is an inspirational account about an RAF pilot who had it all in 1931. Then, one December morning after an air crash, Bader lost both of his legs but and had to learn to walk again. He served as a fighter pilot in the Second World War.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A memoir that is trying to make sense of a time when one faces an unexplained illness of a child and a sudden death of partner after 40 years of life together, all at the same time. Honest and powerful. 

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. A multilayered and innovative memoir about taming Mabel, a goshawk and liberating self in the times of grief after the author lost her father. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Insightful and hilarious, this is a collection of essays about moving to France, learning the language, eating in restaurants and many more. 

So, there! I gave you some ideas and added more to your to-be-read list. If you’re anything like me, it’s probably a neverending one.

Have you read any of the books on my list? If not, what one would you pick?

What do you do in the times of blues? What is the one thing that makes you feel better instantly? 

Let me know in the comments box or get in touch with me.

Memoirs to Read When You Feel Blue, Books to motivate and inspire you to take another step and push through one day at a time. Never give up! Biljana Hutchinson #books #memoirs #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment
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Health Tips, Myths and Tricks by Morton E. Tavel, MD Review

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Health Tips, Myths and Tricks by Morton E. Tavel MD. Find some of the most searched answers about health, wellness and nutrition in one place. Ever wandered should you eat breakfast or if chocolate is good for you? Want to find out the truth about artificial sweeteners? And more? Read this book and my review, while you're at it.

Health Tips, Myths and Tricks, A Physician’s Advice by Morton E. Tavel, MD is a book that answers the most popular questions about food, health and fitness at this age of the internet. We all googled at least one of the issues explained in this book at least once in our adult life.

The book is user-friendly mainly in two ways. First, Dr Tavel writes in an easily readable, so-called plain English for all with no medical background to understand and absorb. Second, it is written to be read either from cover to cover or, more likely, in small chunks as a lexicon. A reader can scroll down the well structured laid out table of content, find a question of interest and read only the required chapter.

Dr Tavel’s guide consists of 62 chapter divided into three parts. The first part is packed with Tips on health and wellness that readers can learn and then apply to their daily life not only to improve wellbeing and, say, lose weight but also to save money. One can read what a good breakfast is and what are the benefits of it; are the coffee and chocolate good or bad; or what is the truth about olive oil and artificial sweeteners.

In the second part of the book, Dr Tavel debunks the Myths, so the reader can finally find out the facts about energy drinks or fortified food; or should we buy organic food and who should follow the gluten-free diet.

The third part is about the Tricks used in marketing to extract the money from the consumer in exchange for a questionable product that is, in many cases, useless and in some cases could be even dangerous. The Tricks cover the examples of dietary supplements, alkaline water, body detoxification methods, and much more.

The most compelling part for me was the third part that explains and teaches us how the scams are done but also how to search for information, critically question the presented ‘facts’ and how and where to verify these ’facts’.

Health Tips, Myths and Tricks contains a tremendous amount of research data presented in a conversational but methodical way that is easy to adapt and digest. It is a practical read with concise chapters and actionable advice.

I give Health Tips, Myths and Tricks 3 out of 4 stars because some of the examples contained unnecessary details but I do recommend this book to everyone who wants necessary information on some of the most searched questions of modern-day health, wellness and nutrition. In the end, I will mention the unfortunate cover too. I would strongly revise the book cover in case of the next edition.


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Book Update


For those of you who follow, you know that the working title of the book was In Extremis. A close friend of mine who worked with me on it from the beginning which was almost three years ago came up with the title, I loved it, and we were even contemplating on keeping it for publishing.

Then, I stopped writing for different reasons for about two years. Earlier this year, in March, when I decided to finish the book and thus wrap up the last six years of my life, I googled the title and a list of eight (?!), not one, not two but eight different books with the same title opened up before me.

At the time, Ivana was already working on the book cover, and she came up with that beautiful first one, that is still my favourite, the white one with poppies that resemble blood stains around the gunshot wounds.


About Page, Book cover and what else can you expect from my blog, Biljana Hutchinson
Book cover. Still working on the book…


‘I have to change the title’, I said to Ivana and so the email exchange started. Ivana understood and was able to quickly translate everything that I gave her into that beautiful cover that you can see now with the new title.

At the moment, there are 30 000 words in the manuscript, and there will be about or up to 20 000 more. Updates on the writing to continue as writing continues…

How do you like the cover?


With Shakespeare & Butterflies

With Shakespeare & Butterflies, our awesome day visit to Shakespeare's Centre, The Birthplace of The Bard in Stratford-upon-Avon Biljana Hutchinson #travel #dayout #England #Shakespeare #TheBard

I wanted to go to Stratford-upon-Avon ever since we moved back to England, but had my opportunity only yesterday. It’s the time of summer holidays, and like most of the days, it was one of our days out, so we went. The weather was beautiful in the Land of Cadbury, we packed snacks, checked the route and went.


With Shakespeare & Butterflies, our awesome day visit to Shakespeare's Centre, The Birthplace of The Bard in Stratford-upon-Avon Biljana Hutchinson #travel #dayout #England #Shakespeare #TheBard
Entrance to the Shakespeare Centre


Stratford is a medieval town in England’s West Midlands, and I heard about it for the first time in my first year of high school, the first time I read Shakespeare. I believe it was Romeo and Juliet, though I may be wrong as it was a long time ago, it was for school, literature class. I didn’t get into it straight away, I liked Romeo and Juliet, but didn’t want to read the rest of his opus at once. I was too busy being a teenager. Reading Shakespeare continued throughout the years in school, then in my own time and that is how I got to like more and more of his plays but also sonnets.


With Shakespeare & Butterflies, the adaptation of Shakespeare plays for children Biljana Hutchinson #travel #dayout #England #Shakespeare #TheBard


There were no adaptations or Shakespeare for children when I was a kid, at least not where I grew up. A few months ago, I bought The Shakespeare Stories for my children, adapted for children and illustrated, and they love them, especially my daughter. I also have two mugs, one with Shakespeare love quotes and the other with insults, with Shakespeare’s portrait, then there is a mid-size bust of him in my little office corner, so when I asked my kids shall we go and see where little Will was born, they shouted Yeees! They expected to see William in person and probably play with him.


With Shakespeare & Butterflies Visit to Shakespeare's Centre The Birthplace of The Bard, Stratford-upon-Avon Biljana Hutchinson #travel #dayout #England #Shakespeare #TheBard


Our first stop was Shakespeare Centre. The Birthplace of the Bard is the museum with the little shelf of published translations of plays and sonnets in different languages, including Serbian. You can see the exhibition of Shakespeare and friends, have an opportunity to take a selfie with Shakespeare, in a cardboard version but still, and then there was a souvenir shop that actually was a bookstore, as expected.


Now, that was something – there were plays singled out and collections, sonnets, books of quotes, colouring books with quotes, manga Shakespeare, activity books for kids, sticker books, you name it. Plus the usual souvenir stuff, keyrings, playing cards, fridge magnets and whatnot. It took all my strength and inhuman effort not to spend a fortune in that bookstore. All that I had and a little more.


With Shakespeare & Butterflies Visit to Shakespeare's Centre The Birthplace of The Bard, Stratford-upon-Avon Biljana Hutchinson #travel #manga #England #Shakespeare #TheBard


We had a coffee and the Best in the World Carrot Cake on the corner of Magic Alley and Henley Street, right in front of the Wizard’s Thatch that has Magical Museum inside.


With Shakespeare & Butterflies Visit to Shakespeare's Centre The Birthplace of The Bard, Stratford-upon-Avon Biljana Hutchinson #travel #dayout #England #Shakespeare #magic


Just to keep it adventurous enough and play it safe for toddlers, we went to the Stratford Butterfly Farm and experienced beautiful and surreal adventure with butterflies landing on our hands, heads, shoulders and flowers in our hands. It was amazing!



If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, Stratford-upon-Avon is so worth a visit.


My 5 Favourite Reads of 2016. So far…


My Favourite Reads in 2016. So far... a mixture of 5 fiction & nonfiction reads to enjoy. Biljana Hutchinson #books #FavouriteBooks #Reading

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I wrote recently, for those who have been following me,  that one of my New Year resolutions was to read more books, in numbers that’s 50 and so far it’s going well. Up until now, I have read 30 books, and my Goodreads Reading Challenge list says that I am right on track, which makes me happy but also proud. If I complete the challenge, it will be a great achievement for this year for me.

There is no system of how I chose what to read; yes, I have a ‘to-be-read’ list but I see it more as a list of suggestions that fluctuates, and it happens a lot. My TBR grows all the time, and I add books to the list based on a wide range of scientific criteria such as friend recommendations, articles or reviews of bloggers/readers/websites that I like. Or book covers that I love, a glance at the bookstore window and seeing something that I want. Or a photo of a book on a social media, a pick of my two toddlers decided on by their colour preference at that particular moment, etc.

All these criteria helped me chose the 30 books that I read so far, and out of those 30, I made a list of five favourites that I liked and enjoyed the most. Books that provoked me to think more about a particular subject or to think and see something in a different or new way.

  1. The Incarnations by Susan Barker. This book was recommended to me by a woman whom I was never introduced to officially, but we have known of each other for years, and we developed a certain relationship through a mutual dear and esteemed friend of ours. Only in July, we became friends on Facebook by our love for books and book recommendations. The Incarnations is as surreal, and as original, like my friendship with gorgeous Alison. It is multilayered, imaginative and gripping with beautiful language and storytelling. It expands the mind of the open-minded. Amazing.
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang. This is one of these WTF books. I liked it because it is provocative, dark and tells a story about freedom and obsession and how we can quickly turn against ourselves in obsessively trying to free ourselves.
  3. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Black-and-white comic strip memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and devastating war with Iraq. It is heartbreaking but funny in showing daily contradictions between the private and public life of individuals and families. Magnificent.
  4. On Writing by Stephen King. A beautiful and friendly memoir, practical with essential tools for mastering writing and because of it all, it is so inspiring and empowering. Entertaining and fun read. Masterful as expected.
  5. What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger by Stephen Joseph. This is one of quite a few books I read in the past five years about trauma and healing because of my personal circumstances, and it is not related only to 2016, but I keep this one on my nightstand and use it as a manual. The psychologist Stephen Joseph combines twenty years of experience of working with trauma survivors, with ancient philosophy, evolutionary biologists and positive psychologist to show us step-by-step how trauma does not have to ruin one’s life. Instead, it can improve it by going through change and finding new meaning, purpose and direction in life. It has been a practical guide for me, and I recommend it with all my heart.

The order of books is random, and it was not easy to limit myself to only five, but there will be more reads and more list to come. I was quite lucky with the selection so far as there was only one bailout this year, I guess I should thank my toddlers for their colour scheme selection system.

What are your favourite reads this year?