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A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A truly personal account of Barack Obama's time in the White House from the start of his campaign to people he met during his time in office. Beautifully written he tells us his personal thoughts, takes us inside the White House, he describes how the gardener played an important role in maintaining the beautiful gardens of the White House and the people behind the scenes keeping the White House running. 

We see from his book that the person giving inspiring speeches is the same person in private life and that success and change is the result of hard work. Being he first black president in the US, his story inspires people of all backgrounds to pursue their dreams. 

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski

My Body explores the #metoo themes, feminism and the struggle for women to maintain control over their careers. These are all issues that are relatable and experienced by women in every industry not just in the modelling industry.

My Body is a memoir of essays written by Emily Ratajkowski which reflects upon her journey from her teens to her 30’s at the height of her career as an actor and a model. This book doesn’t spare any detail of some of the horrors that she experienced as a young girl and I can’t help but get the impression from her writing that the world of fame, wealth and success carries with it the burden of her always having to watch her back. Despite the shocking events that unfolded in the “Blurred Lines” music video, she describes this as the reason for her success and fame but also one which she has no real autonomy over. The book is a way for her to expose some of her experiences, regain control and process the events that unfolded in the last decade as well as her career to date.  

Rather than using photos of her body to tell a story she is only using her words and I think that sends a powerful message to her readers and that she is taking back ownership of her body. I think the book shows us the uncomfortable truth about successful women in the beauty and entertainment industry and the limits of their power which I think can be extended to all women.

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The Secret Barrister

This book explores the criminal justice system in England and Wales and reminds us that at some point in our lives we will or someone we know will need the services of a solicitor or barrister. 

We see the realities of the criminal justice system and contradicts the TV shows that we have become accustomed to, such as Suits which paints lawyers as glamorous, rich, privileged, fighting cases worth millions of pounds and, having all the answers to clients problems. 

We also get a detailed history lesson in the courts dating back to the first century and how the outcomes of cases are linked to government policy decision making such as the cuts to legal aid and the not so rigorous qualification for volunteers to become magistrates. 

We also learn how little we know as a country about our own system which underpins ours rights and freedoms. 

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Becoming by Michelle Obama

I am always intrigued by Michelle Obama in her work as an advocate for women and young girls, as a lawyer, writer, mother and her captivating speeches. 

If you are reading this and were born in the 80s or 90s then you'll probably agree that growing up there were not many role models for women. Women were still encouraged to do stereotypical roles and the world has not come as far as it needed to or as much as we have today in breaking down stereotypes,

Becoming delves into the personal life of Michelle Obama as a normal girls from Chicago journeying her way to university through to her legal career as first lady and the work on her initiatives. It's a personal account of her life where she shares with us all the normal things people go through such as gried, loss, success and hardwork which is something we can all relate to whatever our background.

Becoming also shows us the differences between men and women in the workplace, in the public eye and their assume responsibilities at home. Michelle Obama is a champion for breaking down barriers for women through education but is a reminder that despite how far we have come we continue to live in an unequal world where we must make our voice heard and go ahead with our pursuits no matter what others say or if they undermine you .

It's an emotional autobiography particularly with the passing of her father but connects with women, men and young people.

Michelle Obama has become a role model for so many women as she advocates for equality, opportunity and makes people feel like their opinions matter.

She makes people want to be better.

Rise by Gina Miller

Rise tells the story of Gina Miller's childhood, marriages and struggles in the workplace as well as the Brexit referendum. If you have had a tough year then Rise will restore your determination and motivation.

Gina Miller shares her tips on mindfulness - taking time out each day to think and process in silence so that you are ready to deal with whatever the day will bring.

On dealing with harassment, racism or bullying - knowing that you are not the problem is key to not letting it affect you or stop you in life from doing what you want.

Imposter syndrome - never question your abilities, talents or knowledge and be proud of your accomplishments.

Amongst the deeply emotional and shocking stories Gina Miller shares personal stories and important life lessons that we can take away and build on our resilience in order to stay focused and get to where we want for anyone looking for an inspirational read.

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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Blood Orange is a thriller which explores the themes of the #metoomovement centred on a murder case with complex characters and issues but also tells the story of someone who is successful but whose life spirals out of control.

There is in depth insight into her thoughts, explicit scenes, she is targeted by an unknown stalker and at the same time wrapped up in solving this brutal murder case.

Whilst the ending has an unexpected twist keeping the readers interest there are however, lots of scenes and details which could trigger a negative response for some people. Otherwise this was a gripping tale by Harriet Tyce.

Philadelphia by Christopher Davis

Some of you may prefer to watch the movie but the book opens up your imagination further.

Philadelphia is about a US lawyer that has AIDS and becomes the victim of a discrimination claim set in the 90s. The book explores many issues surrounding the intolerance towards people suffering with AIDS and the unfounded conceptions.

It also takes you through the emotional journey of a lawyer who goes from being the rising star to fighting a case whilst battling many health problems and the acceptance towards people from the LGBTQ community.

Although the book is set in the 90s so some of the story feels outdated the main premise of the book is about love, adversity and justice and apart from that provides excellent court room drama scenes that any budding lawyer will find interesting.

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Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

If you are looking for inspiration and the tools to be able to find your purpose, and focus on the things you love to do then this is the book for you.

A reminder of what we need to do to live a balanced life. It's the kind of book that will lift your spirits, clear your mind and set you up for happiness and fulfillment. There actually is no secret just a change of perspective and a few habits that you can adopt to achieve this.

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