More productive than a Netflix binge and better for the soul than a scroll through your Insta feed, pick up one of these illuminating, inspiring and informative reads tonight.
Backwards and in Heels: The Past, Present and Future of Women Working in Filmby Alicia Malone
(Mango Media, 2017)
This awards season we’ve seen red carpets awash with black gowns in visual protest of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the entertainment industry. As it draws to a close, we’re not calling time on #TimesUp, we’re keeping the momentum going by educating ourselves on female pioneers in film, whose untold stories are shared in Alicia Malone’s new book. The title, by the way, refers to the idea that Ginger Rogers did everything her silver-screen dance partner Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels *insert nail polish emoji here*.
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang
(Penguin Putnam, 2018)
A culture of misogyny and institutionalised sexism in Hollywood? #MeToo, says the tech world. Featuring interviews with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer — all of whom represent the Silicon Valley exception, not the rule — this exposé
of yet another multi-billion-dollar, male-dominated industry will make you mad, and then it’ll make you want to do something about it. Author Emily Chang has a few ideas to start you off.
How To Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything by Erin Falconer
(Gallery Books, 2018)
It’s widely accepted wisdom that one has to spend money to make money. Could it also be true that in order to speed up, we should start by slowing down? Erin Falconer says yes, and in her debut book, this founder of self-improvement site Pick the Brain explains that the trick is identifying the three areas of your life you want to excel at, focusing on those and outsourcing the rest. Perfectionists take note: learning to say IDGAF — and actually mean it — will change everything.
Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade
(Atria Books, 2018)
Your saved folder on Instagram is full of her distinctive, block-letter affirmations, now author and activist Cleo Wade (named ‘the millennial Oprah’ by The Cut) has written a book of pep-talking poetry that answers the question: “How do I take care of myself when everything feels crazy and the news is traumatising every day?” Like a literary hug that’s always there when you need it most, consider Heart Talk a crucial element of your self-care toolkit — a big bowl of pasta being another.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
(Seal Press, 2018)
With ‘wokeness’ a new form of social currency, it’s understandable that a fear of appearing ignorant (or worse, privileged) is disincentivising people from seeking explanations about complex racial concepts. But knowledge is power, and in the case of police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation, systemic discrimination, the Black Lives Matter movement and the use of the ‘N’ word, it’s the power to affect positive change. Want to be part of the solution, not the problem? Move Ijeoma Oluo’s text to the top of your reading list.
The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan
(Henry Holt and Co., 2018)
More Carrie than Miranda? Allow us to suggest a diet book of a different persuasion. From budgeting and investing to the awkward money-related conversations you need to have with your friends/family members/employers (and how to make these as un-awkward as possible), Chelsea Fagan’s accessibly written personal-finance bible could be the thing that someday saves you from your very own ‘$40,000 worth of shoes and facing eviction’ debacle. We couldn’t help but wonder, anyway.
The Food Therapist: Break Bad Habits, Eat with Intention, and Indulge without Worry by Shira Lenchewski
(Little, Brown, 2018)
At one time or another, whether literally or figuratively, we’ve all been Miranda Hobbes eating cake out of the rubbish bin. But while our Sex and the City spirit animal had to pour detergent over the remains of her garbage-flavoured dessert as a means of regaining control, we now have the option of Shira Lenchewski’s food-therapy-session-in-book-form, which delves into the emotions of eating and offers practical tips for conquering our diet-related demons.
Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J Kurtz
(Penguin Putnam, 2017)
When a book designed to make you your most productive self includes a ‘how to get started’ list, the first item of which is simply ‘Blleerrghhh’ and a few items down suggests taking a nap, you know it knows its audience. That audience being not just those working in creative fields, but every person on the planet who does stuff for a living and sometimes finds it hard to do that stuff. Did we mention it’s handwritten with perforated pages that you can tear out and stick around your workspace? Pretty and smart.
Natch Beaut with Jackie Johnson From Korean skincare and natural deodorant to Botox and nipple lipstick, comedian and cruelty-free beauty buff Jackie Johnson demystifies mind-bending makeup and cosmetics, and through interviews with artists and influencers lifts the lid on an industry often perceived as intimidating.
A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson Would you walk into MoMA and think, ‘WTF?’ Then tune in as Broad City star Abbi Jacobson and guests including Tavi Gevinson, RuPaul and Questlove talk you through everything you ever wanted to know about modern and contemporary art but were afraid to ask — including why you couldn’t have painted that.
News In Slow French with Linguistica 360 You’ve figured out your favourite language-learning app, now maximise your multilingual potential with News In Slow French (Spanish, German etc) which allows you to listen to slowed-down news bulletins in your language of choice, rapidly and naturally expanding your vocabulary and comprehension.
Say Bible! with Natalie Franklin and Kathleen E Lee
Okay, we’re pushing the limits of ‘educational’ at this point, but think of this “podcast for the Kardashian Konnoisseur” as a way of keeping up with your favourite family in a format that frees up your evenings for more productive pursuits. Like getting stuck into one of the above books, perhaps?
We’re No Doctors with Busy Philipps and Steve Agee
Hypochondriacs and neurotics will find kindred spirits in these two comedy stars talking about their health issues and obsessions. Disclaimer: The topics and treatments discussed cannot be substituted for professional medical advice, but might entertain you enough that you temporarily forget what ails you.