The most inspiring books about dealing with unexpected events

Why am I passionate about this?

Nick Albert is British, but for close to 20-years, he has lived in a ramshackle farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland with his wife and several unruly but affectionate dogs. He's the author of the bestselling comedy memoir series, Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, and the twisty thriller Hunting the Wrecking Crew. Nick's greatest pleasure in life has always been to make people laugh. Although outwardly capable and in control of his life, Nick considers himself to be the poster boy for the saying, "If it can go wrong, it will!" Therefore, he has a good eye for inspiring books about dealing with unexpected events.


I wrote...

Book cover of Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

What is my book about?

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never before visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn't want customers, builders who didn't need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

This New York Times bestselling memoir of a veteran NASA flight director, tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director. As a child of the Apollo era, I was fascinated by the inside story of the moon landing and riveted by how Kranz and his team overcame the impossible and turned a near disaster into a triumph of ingenuity and determination.

By Gene Kranz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Failure Is Not an Option as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The man who headed the "tiger team" that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts gives an insider's view of NASA Mission Control, from the early years of trying to catch up with the Russians to the end of the manned spaced program.


Book cover of Fly for Your Life: The Story of R. R. Stanford Tuck

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

My father was an RAF pilot during WW2, and a prisoner of war who escaped several times, so I have always been fascinated by flying stories. I own perhaps 50 such books, but this is by far my favourite. It covers the incredible wartime story of WW2 fighter ace Bob Stanford Tuck and shows how he coped with adversity during his time as a pilot and POW.

Tuck was one of the highest-scoring pilots during the Battle of Britain and had achieved 29 confirmed "kills" by the time he was shot down over France and taken prisoner. After participating in the planning for the "Great Escape", he was transferred to another camp. Eventually, he escaped and made his way back to England. It's a cracking story and one of the best books I've ever read. I still can't understand how it hasn't been made into a blockbuster movie.

By Larry Forrester,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fly for Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a magnificent pilot, a reckless, steely-nerved warrior of the sky, feared by the Luftwaffe and known as a legend in the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. He was shot down four times, wounded twice, crash landed in the Channel, and survived two air collisions. Officially, he bagged 29 enemy planes. Unofficially, he destroyed 35. He won the Distinguished Service Order and was only the second man in history to gain a second bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a national hero recognized by his King, his Queen, and the people of the world.…


Book cover of Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 4

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

I think it is an excellent example of how ingenuity and mutual loving support can overcome an otherwise devastating event.

When Beth Haslam and her hilariously grumpy husband, Jack, and their lovable dogs, set off to buy a second home in rural France, they didn't expect to become part-time foresters, raising rare breed pheasants and caring for wild boar. In this fourth episode of Beth's excellent five-part memoir series, the Haslam's have their lives turned upside-down when a raging storm devastates vast sections of their forest. As if this disaster wasn't already bad enough, the authorities then demanded that the 1,000s of fallen trees be removed. But at what cost? Is their idyllic French retirement over, or can they recover and rebuild without going bust?

By Beth Haslam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 4 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Beth, her beloved dog, Sam, and grumpy husband, Jack, return to France, disaster strikes. As they battle to restore order to their home, French authorities visit with shocking news. Obliged to sit examinations in French, coping with furred and feathered babies, and wrangling French tradesmen, there’s no let-up in this action-packed episode of the Haslams’ adventures.


Book cover of Two Old Fools on a Camel

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

The author and her husband are trapped in an almost untenable situation, but they pull together to see things through to a satisfactory conclusion. I thought it was a great example of that British philosophy to "Keep calm and carry on."

In this third memoir in her enjoyable Two Old Fools series, Victoria and her husband Joe find that rising costs and a shrinking bank balance are threatening their idyllic retirement. After applying online, they leave their beloved Spanish mountain village to teach for a year in Bahrain. But their timing couldn't have been worse. Just after they arrive, the Arab revolution erupts, throwing the country into violent events that would make world headlines. Suddenly they are trapped. Should they leave and risk losing their Spanish dream or stay and face a greater hazard?

By Victoria Twead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Old Fools on a Camel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★ New York Times Bestselling author ★
"James Herriot meets Driving over Lemons"

Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

Includes FREE photobook and Arabic recipes from Nadia Sawalha.


Book cover of Watery Ways

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

First, I adore Val Poore's writing. It has an efficient eloquence that leaves me green with envy. Secondly, Val is the kind of tenacious and gritty person I love to read about. It's a great combination.

When Val's plans to exchange her life in the corporate fast lane of Johannesburg for a quiet house in Holland go awry, she finds herself living alone on a historic Dutch barge in Rotterdam's Oude Haven. But this isn't a prettily painted luxury home on the water. It's a rotting empty hull, without even the most basic amenities. Many people would turn tail and run, but Val Poore is made of sterner stuff!

This is a fascinating and enjoyable tale of overcoming adversity with determination and a smile.

By Valerie Poore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Watery Ways as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this account of her first year of living on a barge in Rotterdam's Oude Haven, Valerie Poore’s overriding impression is that “one of the first things you learn about living on a barge is that an awful lot of stuff is going to end up in the water”.The year in question is 2001, and at forty something, the author takes the plunge to exchange her life in the corporate fast lane of Johannesburg, for life on a historic Dutch barge. Every month brings new challenges, obstacles and experiences. She meets a whole world of fascinating people, not least of…


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Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

Book cover of Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

What is my book about?

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

What is this book about?

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread…


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