I’m posting this today for an obvious reason (International Women’s Day) but also because I’ve wanted to share some of those with you for a long long time. The list could go on and on, probably – but these were the first names that came to mind. Let me know if you want to have a chat about any of those!
1. Marta Dziurosz
She takes photos, she translates books and stories, and she also happens to be around whenever I need help or a motivating kick up the backside. I have been so impressed with her work over the past year: cracking the London code, helping make other voices heard with her translation work and having oodles of fun in the process. Big shout out for Marta.
2. Kate Tempest
The first poet on the list, and definitely one I enjoy listening to. The lyrics are sharp and keep you on edge – Kate’s work made me realize that there’s space in music for amazing lyrics and there’s enough time in one song to discover shades of meaning, emotion and attitude. Hard to explain: just listen.
3. Carol Ann Duffy
This is a much more distinguished poetic voice, and makes it onto my list for other reasons. Finding my place in the UK wasn’t always easy as I needed to find places, moments and voices that connect me to the history and reality of where I live. A hard thing to do in big towns or on a busy schedule. Carol Ann Duffy manages to do this for me – and several of her poems help me make sense of where I live and where I came from.
4. bell hooks
You can read my review of her book in this post – bell hooks continues to inspire the way I write, coach, talk to teachers and learn. In 2015, it’s hard to convince people that education should at times examine chaos, unrest and rebellious attitudes. This is probably why bell hooks matters even more today.
5. Susan Cain
“Quiet” is a book which matters a lot to introverted people like me. That’s actually a big understatement: “Quiet” is probably a book that introverted people are grateful for, indebted to and in need of. The review for this is coming up, but this much I’ll say now: Susan Cain wrote a book that puts introverts back in the picture.
6. Naomi Klein
After “No Logo,” which impressed me hugely just as I was graduating, Naomi Klein’s books disappeared from my radar until recently. “This Changes Everything” is big – literally and metaphorically big. This blog is not the best place to have a debate about this book – but I know that for 2015, it’s recommended reading. I also admire the way in which Naomi Klein creates a web of positive stories around this serious and political topic.
7. Claudia Altucher
A bit of a surprise here. Her recent book is based on a terribly straightforward idea: if you want your mental life to be great, come up with 10 ideas every day. I’m going through this at the moment (results pending – that’s another story). This was probably the most life-changing book (on a practical, day-to-day level) that I read so far in 2015.
8. Tara Stiles
A book whose diet part relies largely on vegan recipes. Its workout part relies heavily on yoga. And its meditation part does not sit well with my meditation schedule. Why am I mentioning this at all? The reason is simple: Tara Stiles’ introduction to her book is one of the wisest, humblest and kindest bits of writing I read this year. Among so many voices of “experts” who tell you to have complete faith in their single system and give it a hundred percent, Tara tells you to do otherwise: start with yourself and what feels good there. The book really is all about making your own rules – but I managed to pick up lots of great tips about food and workouts, too.
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