Escape your daily reality, delve into imaginary worlds and jump into founts of knowledge with our list of 10 recommended reads to enjoy. We’ve featured works that particularly showcase how writers are showing up, making waves and challenging perceptions. You may have even received a copy of one of these books from our Literary Partner Penguin Books at our events… Enjoy and let’s get reading!
1. Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Co-winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019 Bernardine Evaristo’s novel follows 12 characters on their journeys through Britain over the last hundred years. They are all looking for something – a shared past, unexpected future, a place to call home, even just a touch of hope… A best-selling novel that deserves the hype.
2. Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Chanel was known to the world as Emily Doe when her letter went viral and gained 11 million views after Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail for sexual assault. Now reclaiming her identity, Chanel tells her story of trauma, transcendence and the power of words to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
3. On Fire by Naomi Klein
A rousing call to action for a planet on the brink, Naomi Klein’s book collates more than a decade of impassioned writing from the frontline of climate breakdown. With topics ranging from ecological time to rising white supremacy as a form of ‘climate barbarism’, Klein makes the case that this is the fight of our lives.
4. How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist. Using his extraordinary gifts as a teacher and story-teller, Kendi helps us recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether they realise it or not, and by describing with moving humility his own journey from racism to antiracism, he shows us how instead to be a force for good. TEDxLondon has been inspired by Kendi’s call to be antiracist in everything we do.
5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth LP
When Cameron’s parents pass away, Cameron moves in with her conservative Aunt in small-town Montana, where hiding her sexuality and blending in becomes second nature. As Cameron battles to discover her true self, she must find the courage to live according to her own rules. This coming-of-age novel is a heartbreaking and beautiful depiction of life as an LGBT youth and a young person in middle America.
6. Skint Estate by Cash Carraway
“I’m a scrounger, a liar, a hypocrite, a stain on society with no basic morals – or so they say. After all, what else do you call a working-class single mum in temporary accommodation?” Cash’s frank memoir about poverty, loneliness and violence, set against a grim landscape of sink estates reveals the reality of working-class Britain today – and the change that must happen.
7. The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward
This is the story of Yrsa Daley-Ward, and all the things that happened – ‘even the Terrible Things (and God, there were Terrible Things)’. From her childhood in north-west England, being raised by devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents to being a writer, actor and model of Jamaican and Nigerian heritage in New York, Yrsa writes on the human condition, particularly issues ‘we don’t tend to speak of’, like mental health, sexuality, grief and addiction.
8. The Power by Naomi Alderman
A favourite of our Curator and Director, Maryam Pasha, she says “Naomi Alderman’s near-future novel not only puts forward a brilliantly imagined idea that will immediately change how you see the world, but is also a compelling, fun and emotional read that keeps you turning the pages to learn what happens next. Not many writers can achieve both. Fans of Margaret Atwood will recognise a descendant.”
9. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Drawing on a rich tradition of African mythology, fantasy and history, Marlon James’s first instalment of the Dark Star trilogy, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, imagines an ancient and mysterious world that will revolutionise the way you think about fantasy novels. Follow the story of Tracker, a hunter, known in the thirteen kingdoms as one who has a nose, as he joins a band of companions from a giant to a shape-shifting Leopard, as they seek a mysterious lost child.
10. How to have feminist sex by Flo Perry
When it comes to our sex lives, few of us are free of niggling fears and body image insecurities. Rather than enjoying and exploring our bodies uninhibited, we worry about our bikini lines, bulging tummies and whether we’re doing it ‘right’. Bringing feminism into the bedroom, Flo Perry’s graphical guide on sex, explores everything from body image insecurities to consent.