It’s a strange old time right now. We’re all inside, as we should be. Boredom is starting to set in – and our screen time is getting worryingly high – so, what we all need right now, are some seriously good books. Luckily, FGRLS CLUB has a virtual book club that has many wonderful recommendations…
Chloe Laws’ Picks – Founder & Editor
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion – By Jia Tolentino
A friend recommended this book to me, and didn’t lend me her copy, as she said ‘it’s the kind of book you’ll want to own’. Boy, was she right – I’ve annotated and highlighted almost every page. Jia Tolentino won The Times Literary Non-Fiction Book of the Year for Trick Mirror, and Zadie Smith called it ‘a whip-smart, challenging book. It filled me with hope’. This collection of essays captures the times we live in, as if it was written one hundred years in the future – thought-provoking and challenging, I’d recommend this book to everyone. The language is academic, and this definitely isn’t a relaxing read – but it feels more poignant and important than ever.
The Guilty Feminist: From our noble goals to our worst hypocrisies – By
If You love The Guilty Feminist podcast (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), then this book will float your boat. As you’d expect it’s very funny, full of hot-takes, and overflowing with satire. It’s the perfect book to devour and escape in, right now.
Louise Henry’s Picks – contributing writer
Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption – Edited by Daniel Jones
I cried through the TV show, I cried through the columns and I cried through the podcast, with just enough energy left to read the book. A collection of stories taken from the New York Times’ infamous Modern Love column, each one explores the complexities, nuances, difficulties, and joys of love; be it romantic, parental or platonic.
Calypso – By David Sedaris
I fell deep into a David Sedaris shaped hole this year, but it was Calypso that solidified my love for his razor-sharp wit. Part memoir, part collection of rambling observations, Calypso is a masterclass in finding humour in the bleak and mundane. From the death of family members, to his obsessive desire to surpass 1000 steps a day, there’s an unavoidable focus on the passing of time, and his approach to life on realising that he has more time behind him, than ahead.
Just Kids – By Patti Smith
I’ve included this just in case I’m not the last person in the world to read Patti Smith’s epic memoir, chronicling her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. From teenage pregnancy to life in New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel, she views life through a beautifully poetic lens. Most interesting though is the pairs’ trajectory from mercilessly poor teenagers to the upper echelons of New York’s art scene. A perfect read.
Big Girl, Small Town – By Michelle Gallen
Earlier this year, I was given a proof of Michelle Gallen’s debut novel, due out in Spring 2020, and couldn’t recommend it enough. Young Majella lives a quiet life in an Irish border town during The Troubles, where she works six days a week in the local chippy, wears the same clothes every day, and shares the same mundane conversations with punters. Much like Majella, we become comfortably entrenched in the safety of her day to day, until something changes, and she might just have found a way out.
Amy Beecham‘s Picks – columnist
How To Fail – By Elizabeth Day
This book does not have the sneering sense of superiority I often find in self-help literature. You know, the patronising “I got through it and so can you”. Day and her interviewees lay out the times that things have gone wrong for them with honesty, even when their failures aren’t universal. I picked up this book at a time when I felt like everything was going right for everyone else, but wrong for me. It was a comfort, but more a reminder to be kinder to myself, and to step away from that false comparison. We’re all going through it in one way or another, and we’ll get through it like that, too.
Daisy Jones and The Six – By Taylor Jenkins Reid (Audiobook)
In the past, audiobooks were only my bag when I couldn’t face the never-ending reading list of my English degree. Daisy Jones and the Six – the story of a fictional 1970s superstar rock band – is captivating on the page, but gets even more intense in audio form. It’s famed split narrative of the band and their varied voices literally comes to life. Daisy’s cool-girl drawl and Billy’s husky country twang in my ears has had me laughing and crying too many times to count. This book was literally made to be heard, and with the film adaptation starring Riley Keough and Sam Claflin in the works, it’ll soon be seen to be believed.
We hope you’re all staying safe, and that this reading list helps you stay entertained and sane. We’ve never needed to escape into brilliant literature more.