September Book Picnic Recommendations

On the first Wednesday of every month, GWL team members share what we’ve read recently at our Book Picnic. In the current climate our Book Picnic takes place remotely, giving all of us some valuable social interaction, and providing us with many, many excellent book suggestions…

  • Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given.
    Recommended by Jenna, this debut by author Florence Given includes chapters titled  “Women Do Not Exist to Satisfy the Male Gaze”, “You Are the Love of Your Own Life”, and “Refuse to Find Comfort in Other Women’s Flaws”. Featuring aesthetically pleasing psychedelic illustrations done by Given, this is a book that Jenna described as “inclusive, eye opening, an important read for all ages, and something I’m definitely saving for my future children.”
  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. Recommended by Gaby, this dark, powerful novella features Silvie and her family, who are attempting to live like Iron Age Britons in the North of England. Complex and haunting, the story demonstrates the evils of prejudice, extremism and racism, and the dangers of glorifying the past. Gaby described Moss as a “brilliant writer”, and this book is not to be missed.
  • Educated by Tara Westover. In this memoir, recommended by Katie, Westover recounts her childhood in the mountains of Idaho. Born to Mormon survivalists, she didn’t step foot in a classroom until age 17 and never saw a doctor or nurse. Although she lacked formal education, Westover had a desire for knowledge and love of learning that eventually led her to Harvard and a PhD from Cambridge. Katie found the book fascinating, remarking how “interesting it is to see how people can come from such bizarre circumstances. What would it be like to ‘enter’ the world at 17?”
  • Ledra Street by Nora Nadjarian. Recommended by Anna, who lived in Cyprus, this collection of short stories feature the every day as well as political commentaries about the conflict between Greece and Turkey on the island. Anna enjoyed the poetic language and said that reading it took her back to Cyprus, where she could “feel the heat on [her] back and smell the olives.”
  • The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes. Recommended by Pauline, who described it as “fascinating”, this book retells the stories of Oedipus and Antigone by giving Jocasta and her youngest daughter Ismene the role of narrators. This provides a fresh perspective with sharp and vivid prose, breathing new life into a well known myth.
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
    by Reni Eddo-Lodge
    . Recommended
    by Annie, this educational book by award-winning
    British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge explores
    often ignored black history, structural racism, whitewashed feminism, the link between class and race, and ways to be anti-racist, among many other crucial and important topics. Annie found the book fascinating, accessible, and easy to read, and felt that it was a “great way for a white person to try to understand how white privilege covers every aspect of our lives, and how it is something we should constantly be aware of.” Discomfort is
    a sign of growth, and remaining silent is not an option. This
    book is essential reading.
    To learn more about this book, and
    hear Reni Eddo-Lodge talk about the current global discussions
    about racism, listen to this podcast.
  • The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in 6 Days by Juliet Conlin. A sentimental, poignant story, this book was recommended by Elaine. With only six days left to live, elderly Alfred Warner journeys from England to Berlin to meet his estranged granddaughter and relay his life story, including an astonishing family secret.

If you’re looking to pick up some interesting reads for yourself, GWL is delighted to be able to start lending books again with our new ‘Select and Collect’ service.

Request up to 6 books in advance, and we’ll have them ready for you to pick up. Or, if you’re not sure where to start, we can select some titles or make up a “book bundle” for you. Click here to find out more!

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