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From incredible acts of bravery to unbelievable tales of survival and hardship, explore our extensive range of real-life stories and true story books and learn about ordinary people who have lived through extraordinary circumstances. If these true story books have got you interested, then you should have a peek at our selection of biographies and true crime books to read about more dramatic real-life cases.

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Real Lives

From incredible acts of bravery to unbelievable tales of survival and hardship, explore our extensive range of real-life stories and true story books and learn about ordinary people who have lived through extraordinary circumstances. If these true story books have got you interested, then you should have a peek at our selection of biographies and true crime books to read about more dramatic real-life cases.

  • WTTM

    Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Hardback)

    Kate Clanchy

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    Writer, teacher and journalist Kate Clanchy's Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is an important, funny and candid memoir that offers a stunning insight into life inside British state schools.

    Regarded by His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman as 'the best book on teachers and children and writing that I've ever read', the book finds Kate looking back over the past three decades working in schools and celebrating the creativity, passion and practical nous of teachers.

    She recalls sex education classes with a group of 13-year-olds; working in a school's 'inclusion unit' to try and improve the fortunes of children who preferred not to learn; and nurturing a multi-cultural poetry group full of migrants and refugees.
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    AWLH

    A Woman Lived Here (Hardback)

    Allison Vale

    (1) Hand-picked favourites
    Only 111 of the 903 Blue Plaques that honour Londoners belong to women. This, despite thousands of truly remarkable women making significant and lasting impacts on every aspect of modern life...

    From politics and social reform to arts, medicine, science, technology and sport, this book celebrates those women whose achievements have largely went unnoticed and explains how their actions, ideas and inventions helped make the world a richer place to live in.

    Some of these women went about their lives and worked quietly with courage, conviction, skill and compassion, while others were fearless trailblazers who shattered the status quo of a 'man's world'.
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  • IYCT

    If I Could Tell You Just One Thing... (Hardback)

    Richard Reed

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    Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed's inspiring book brings together the best quotes of advice he has been given by a host of politicians, actors, sports personalities and celebrities.

    Featuring wisdom and insight from the likes of Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench, Bear Grylls, Ruby Wax and Heston Blumenthal, this beautiful book (with orange sprayed edges and pen-and-ink portraits of each famous face by the talented Samuel Kerr) is packed with quips, tips and so much more advice that covers various aspects of life and its foibles.

    Perfect for dipping in and out of, this gift book is a treasure trove of the encounters Richard has had with a wide range of famous faces over the years - and the advice they gave that he believes will lead you to a better life.
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    SPRV

    Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals (Hardback)

    Professor Noel Fitzpatrick

    (4) Hand-picked favourites
    Professor Noel Fitzpatrick - also known as The Supervet - tells his life story in this emotional and heart-warming memoir.

    He recalls a childhood spent growing up on a family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland and how his bond with Pirate the sheepdog provided solace from the bullying he suffered at school. He also reveals how a fateful night spent trying to save a new-born lamb set him on a path into veterinary science - and ultimately becoming The Supervet at Fitzpatrick's Referrals in Surrey.

    From calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs, Noel talks about the animals that paved the way for his success and also recounts the incredible highs and tear-jerking lows that come in his field of work.
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  • BFFW

    Best Foot Forward (Hardback)

    Adam Hills

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    The Last Leg host and stand-up comedian Adam Hills tells his life story in this touching and hilarious biography.

    Adam has been performing for over 30 years and in this book he talks about losing his leg and how his experiences as a disabled comedian have inspired him in so many ways. He reveals how following your heart and staying positive can lead to so many incredible experiences - including hosting one of Channel 4's most popular shows!

    He also talks through his favourite childhood memories, backstage blunders and exciting encounters with celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Connolly and the bloke who sang The Macarena.
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  • QNVC

    Queen Victoria - Lucy Worsley (Hardback)

    Lucy Worsley

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    Popular BBC presenter and acclaimed historian Lucy Worsley examines how Queen Victoria grew from dancing princess to one of Britain's greatest monarchs in this eye-opening biography.

    Lucy looks at 24 significant days from Victoria's life including her birth and her coronation to reveal what she was like as a person and how her actions left a mark on history.

    Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth, this biography celebrates Queen Victoria's extraordinary personal life.
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  • JOSW

    Journeys to the Other Side of the World (Hardback)

    Sir David Attenborough

    (2) Hand-picked favourites
    Sir David Attenborough is now in the seventh decade of his hugely successful television career as a broadcaster and naturalist. His success began with the famous Zoo Quest in 1954, where he travelled the world to discover exotic animals for a zoo exhibition in the UK.

    In this fascinating memoir, David revisits his journeys from Madagascar and New Guinea to the Pacific Islands and the Northern territory of Australia.

    Originally published in the late 1950s, this warm and humorous account finds David exploring some of the most remarkable cultures and wildlife from this time including his encounters with paradise birds, chameleons and sifakas.
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  • SSDY

    Some Sunny Day (Hardback)

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    At 94 years old, Madge Lambert is one of the few remaining women to have served as a nurse during the Burma Campaign between 1944 and 1945. It was while working here that she met her husband, Captain Basil Lambert. The couple have a love of dance that saw them appear on a Strictly Come Dancing Remembrance Day special.

    Based on first-hand research and meetings with Madge, Robert Blair's biography celebrates their romance, explaining how they met in the most desperate of times. Joining the troopship when she was just 20 years old and not long qualified, she was based in Chittachong on the Indian border, close to a fierce battle between the Allied forces and the Japanese.

    Madge spent long and exhausting hours nursing badly injured soldiers and eventually met Basil. This is a heart-warming and poignant account of how their burgeoning romance survived the final few months of war - and has thrived ever since.
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  • PIGF

    PIG: Tales From An Organic Farm (Hardback)

    Helen Browning

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    Animal lovers who enjoyed reading The Secret Life of Cows will love Helen Browning and Tim Finney's Pig: Tales from an Organic Farm.

    This evocative and illuminating book explores why the humble pig holds such a special place in our hearts and follows the life and times of a gang of Saddleback pigs who live on one of the most advanced organic farms in the UK.

    By following them growing up, Helen has the chance to reveal just how mischievous, intelligent and inventive these animals can be - and share her vision for the future of ethical farming.
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  • SLAS

    Stable Lass (Hardback)

    Gemma Hoggs

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    Gemma Hoggs' Stable Lass is a heartfelt memoir that reveals what it's like to work at one of the country's top racing yards.

    Gemma explains how despite the long hours and low pay, she finds her job incredibly rewarding: she works in the beautiful surroundings of Middleham in Wensleydale and the majesty of the horses makes up for any challenges she faces from humans.

    She talks about the dangers, politics, in-fighting, romances and affairs that exist in the horse riding industry and also opens up about her grief after losing a horse. She also reveals all about the people she deals with - from straight-talking boss Mickey Hammond to millionaire owners and jockeys that starve themselves to lose weight...
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  • LWYM

    Look What You Made Me Do (Hardback)

    Helen Walmsley-Johnson

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    After listening to The Archers and hearing the story about Helen Tichener being emotionally abused by her husband, Helen Walmsley-Johnson found some of the plot elements disturbingly familiar. This is her story about how she wound up - and escaped - two relationships full of coercive control.

    Helen's first husband controlled all aspects of her life, from who she saw to how much money was in her bank account. He alienated her from friends, family and even their three daughters. He eventually threw her out, leaving Helen no chance but to painfully rebuild her life.

    In her early 40s, Helen met Franc - who at first seemed kind, charming and considerate but soon also started telling her what to wear, eat and even to think.

    This candid and gripping memoir explains how she ended up being trapped by two smiling abusers and has been written to help other women in similar situations have the courage to walk away. It will help you recognise, understand and survive this sinister form of abuse.
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  • TEDL

    Trials and Error (Hardback)

    Dougie Lampkin

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    Dougie Lampkin, the world's greatest off-road rider, talks about his life in motorcycling in this incredible and unique autobiography.

    He reveals the inspirations behind his stunts and how he always believed he was set for a life on two wheels - his dad placed a motorcycle next to his cot before he arrived home for the first time, after all!

    Dougie comes from a family of sportsmen and had won seven consecutive outdoor world titles and five indoor world titles, earning him the MBE by the age of 25 and this book he brings the excitement of his sport vividly to life - sharing behind-the-scenes drama of his Red Bull challenges including riding over a multi-million-pound F1 car without leaving a scratch.

    For fans of: Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty
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  • YVTS

    A Yorkshire Vet Through the Seasons (Hardback)

    Julian Norton

    (2) Hand-picked favourites
    Described as 'warm, evocative and funny' by the Daily Telegraph, Julian Norton's A Yorkshire Vet Through the Seasons is an inspirational memoir that finds the vet recounting some of his favourite - and most heartbreaking - experiences.

    In his 20-year career, Julian has treated animals ranging from cats and dogs to snakes, horses, cows and alpacas and here he talks through some of his biggest challenges and most surprising patients. It's all told with compassion, charm and candour.

    You will recognise Julian from Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet and this book showcases his professionalism and compassion. Whether treating a pet at his practice or performing an emergency procedure in the middle of the night, this hardback is full of drama, sadness and happiness.
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    BODA

    Bodacious: The Shepherd Cat (Hardback)

    Suzanna Crampton

    (1) Hand-picked favourites
    Internet sensation Bodacious the Shepherd Cat tells his life story in this meow-some memoir.

    The purr-fect book for cat lovers is told from Bodacious' point of view. He talks about how he ended up living on a farm and fondly recalls the early mornings and frosty starts, hard work and mouth-watering food he's enjoyed along the way.

    From Oscar the farm cat to border collie/fox terrier-cross Pepper, Bodacious talks about the animal characters he met on the farm and perfectly captures the atmosphere of the farm house, orchards and fields.
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  • WNTW

    We Need to Weaken the Mixture (Hardback)

    Guy Martin

    (2) Hand-picked favourites
    Whether breaking land speed records, working 70-hour weeks mending trucks for a haulage firm or buying his local pub, Guy Martin is always busy. We Need to Weaken the Mixture is a book that finds him inviting you to keep up to speed with his always-on life.

    In this book, he talks about his exciting TV challenges ranging from building a Typhoon to restoring a 1983 Williams F1 car and also his 'proper' jobs including taytie farming and truck fitting.

    He also recalls the most terrifying experience of his life - singing out of tune in front of the Kirmington crowd on New Year's Eve!
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    DAZQ

    The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Hardback)

    Sir David Attenborough

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    Sir David Attenborough, the nation's favourite broadcaster, started his career at the the BBC all the way back in 1954 when he presented Zoo Quest - a show that gave him the opportunity to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection.

    The expeditions were all filmed and this experience completely changed David's life. It also changed the way the public viewed the natural world and the animal kingdom.

    This book, originally published in the 1950s and now republished to mark 65 years since he joined the BBC, finds David looking back at his experiences making the show and is full of jaw-dropping stories about all kinds of animals. He explains all about his adventures with wit and charm and reveals how much it meant to spread his love of nature to the wider world.
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  • RLPD

    The Real Pet Detective (Hardback)

    Tom Watkins

    (1) Hand-picked favourites
    Retired policeman Tom Watkins is the founder of Animal Search UK - Britain's foremost search service for missing pets. The Real Pet Detective is his story.

    Tom talks about the various ways in which he and his team have managed to reunite animals with their grateful owners and these range from recording owners' voices to lure cats from hiding places and even organising a fly-over to raise the profile of a missing terrier.

    Animal Search UK reunites over 2,000 pets and owners every month and The Real Pet Detective spans 20 years of dramatic and heart-warming rescues.
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    EDMM

    Ed Sheeran: Memories we made (Hardback)

    Christie Goodwin

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    Ed Sheeran is the world's biggest pop star right now and this book showcases images from a 10-year collaboration between 'The A-Team', 'Shape of You' and 'Galway Girl' singer and photographer Christie Goodwin.

    Christie first photographed Ed when he was a young busker in 2008 and in the decade since, he has played to thousands upon thousands of fans in stadiums and festivals all over the world. This book contains intimate and unseen photographs of Ed in action from all over this time.

    It features a foreword and photo captions from Ed's father, John Sheeran and will delight anyone who is fascinated by the singer-songwriter's hugely successful career.
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    CSSVE

    In the Days of Rain (Hardback)

    Rebecca Stott

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    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is the Costa Biography Award Winner 2017

    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is a fascinating yet shocking memoir about her experiences growing up in - and breaking away from - a fundamentalist Christian cult.

    Any readers who were left stunned and captivated by Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal will find themselves fully immersed in this incredible true story. Rebecca recalls how her father begged her to help him write a memoir while on his deathbed. He wanted to talk about his family's experiences in a fundamentalist Christian sect but every time he reached a certain point, the painful memories all became too much.

    The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan and lived by a number of strict rules - women had to wear headscarves and any non-sect books were banned. Although Rebecca was born into the sect, she needed to know more about their culture and asked intelligent yet dangerous questions while growing up. She soon discovered her father, an influential preacher, had been asking the same questions.

    Here Rebecca talks about her father's ongoing struggle between faith and doubt and how this affected their relationship and livelihood for a long time after breaking away...
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  • FMYH

    From My Heart (Hardback)

    Linda Nolan

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    Beloved singer and broadcaster Linda Nolan provides a brave and honest account of her life and battles with cancer in an inspiring memoir that will make you laugh, cry and want to dance.

    The autobiography finds Linda - one of the singers from The Nolans whose hit I'm in the Mood for Dancing is still a floor-filler today - talking about her roller-coaster life. She discusses what it was like growing up in a big Irish family and how she and her sisters coped with the worldwide fame that followed. She also reveals the secrets and feuds that threatened to tea them apart.
    Linda candidly talks about her first battle with breast cancer and how the death of her husband left her deeply depressed and contemplating suicide. After choosing to live life to the full again, she received the news the cancer had come back and was now incurable. However, Linda has decided to enjoy the time she has left and embrace all the little things in life.
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  • BUAYI

    The Salt Path (Paperback)

    Raynor Winn

    Raynor Winn's The Salt Path was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2018.

    It is Raynor's first book and it tells the true story of how she and her partner lost everything but went on to find hope and salvation when they decided to walk all the way across the coastline of the South West of England.

    It's an uplifting read for anyone who enjoys nature and motivational tales of the power of love.
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  • BOKFV

    This is Going to Hurt (Paperback)

    Adam Kay

    (3)
    Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, comedian Adam Kay's This is Going to Hurt provides a fascinating insight into the multitude of work the staff of the NHS has to undertake to keep us all safe and in good health.

    A junior doctor between 2004 and 2010, Adam provides a no-holds-barred account of the 97-hour weeks, life-or-death decisions and the constant tsunami of bodily fluids he had to contend with...

    Looking back on notes scribbled in secret after his busy shifts, Adam also explains how he managed to survive on the low pay and the effect his choice of career had on both his social life and relationships. This is a book that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know - and a few things you didn't - about life on and off the hospital ward.
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  • BGYUB

    The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (Paperback)

    Anne Lister

    These remarkable diaries are a piece of lost lesbian history. Anne Lister defied the role of womanhood seen in the novels of Jane Austen: she was bold, fiercely independent, a landowner, industrialist, traveller - and lesbian. She kept extensive diaries, written partly in code, of her life and loves. The diaries have been edited by Helena Whitbread, who spent years decoding and transcribing them. '[Anne Lister's] sense of self, and self-awareness, is what makes her modern to us. She was a woman exercising conscious choice. She controlled her cash and her body. At a time when women had to marry, or be looked after by a male relative, and when all their property on marriage passed to their husband, Anne Lister not only dodged the traps of being female, she set up a liaison with another woman that enhanced her own wealth and left both of them free to live as they wished ...The diaries gave me courage' Jeanette Winterson 'Engaging, revealing, at times simply astonishing: Anne Lister's diaries are an indispensable read for anyone interested in the history of gender, sexuality, and the intimate lives of women' Sarah Waters
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  • BXYSU

    Still Standing (Paperback)

    Natalie Queiroz

    Natalie Queiroz was eight months pregnant when she was stabbed by her partner in the most vicious attack imaginable. In the space of nine minutes, and in broad daylight, Natalie was stabbed twenty-four times with a carving knife. She suffered horrific wounds to her lungs, liver, stomach and uterus, whilst the knife missed her baby by a margin of two millimeters, before the arteries in her wrists were methodically severed by the hooded attacker she finally realised was her partner and the father of her unborn child. After heroic intervention by passers-by and police, the attack was brought to an end, but her ordeal was not over. An air ambulance rescue was launched, and against all medical odds, Natalie and her baby survived - but not without life-changing physical and emotional damage. Still Standing is the story of one life-shattering event - what came before that fateful day, what happened on it, and how one woman and her baby survived to rebuild and heal together after it. At once a shocking story of evil, manipulation and violence, and a truly moving reminder that a life can be pieced back together, no matter how bad the damage, this book will empower and inspire anyone who has ever faced true adversity to rise up and stand tall.
    • £7.19
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The diversity of real lives stories, whether they are hilarious, inspiring, eye-opening, or a combination of all three, is what makes them so fascinating. In our range of incredible true story books, you’ll find all kinds of stories to entertain and grip you.

Inspiring real lives

From dealing with illness to living through war, our variety of real life story books includes moving stories about normal people who have faced extraordinary situations. These inspiring books can teach you about lives very different from your own or can help you through similar issues you’re experiencing yourself.

Celebrity stories

Discover the biographies and autobiographies of the top celebrities to discover even more incredible true life stories. Explore the sides of them that you rarely see in our range of revealing celebrity real life books.

Amazing animals

If you’re an animal lover then you’ll enjoy reading all about the most amazing animals. Check out true life stories about animals that have changed people’s lives.