Who wouldn’t want a friend like Graham Norton? A little bit naughty, full of frank advice, bursting with gossip about the world’s biggest stars – but most of all with an emphatic love of life and all its joys, big and small.
Join him – glass of wine in hand, faithful doggy friend by your side – and delve in as he shares the loves of his life.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange – to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures.
Here are my top fiction and non-fiction feminist picks, as well as some of my favourite feminist YouTube videos.
The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama was only two years old when his father walked out on the family. Many years later, Obama receives a phone call from Nairobi: his father is dead. This sudden news inspires an emotional odyssey for Obama, determined to learn the truth of his father’s life and reconcile his divided inheritance.
Written at the age of thirty-three, Dreams From My Father is an unforgettable read. It illuminates not only Obama’s journey, but also our universal desire to understand our history, and what makes us the people we are.
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’, went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle we all face as we work out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.
“Can we get some reality in here?” asks Judy Sheindlin, former supervising judge for Manhattan Family Court. For twenty-four years she has laid down the law as she understands it. If you want to eat, you have to work. If you have children, you’d better support them. If you break the law, you have to pay. If you tap the public purse, you’d better be accountable. Now she abandons all judicial restraint in a scathing critique of the system – filled with realistic hard-nosed alternatives to our bloated welfare bureaucracy and our soft-on-crime laws.
A John Cleese Twitter question [‘What is your pet peeve?’], first sparked the ‘Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops’ blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller’s collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. From ‘Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?’ to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year’s weather; and from ‘I’ve forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter’ to’Excuse me… is this book edible?’
Polly Vernon, Grazia columnist, Times feature writer (hair-flicker, Brazilian-waxer, jeans obsessive, outrageous flirt) presents a brave new perspective on feminism.
Drawing on her dedicated, life-long pursuit of hotness – having dismissed many of the rules on ‘good’ feminism at some point in the early 90s – she’ll teach you everything you ever wanted to know about being a feminist when you care about how you look. Hot Feminist is based on a principle of non-judgement (because there’s enough already), honesty about how often we mess this up, and empowerment through looks. Part memoir, part road map, it’s a rolling, raucous rejection of all those things we’re convinced we shouldn’t think/wear/feel/say/buy/want – and a celebration of all the things we can. It is modern feminism, with style, without judgement.
These are stories about getting your butt touched by your boss, about friendship and dieting (kind of), and having two existential crises before the age of 20. Stories about travel, both successful and less so, and about having the kind of sex where you feel like keeping your sneakers on in case you have to run away during the act.
What is a good psychopath? And how can thinking like one help you to be the best that you can be?
Dr Kevin Dutton has spent a lifetime studying psychopaths. He first met former SAS hero Andy McNab during a research project. What he found surprised him. McNab is a diagnosed psychopath but he is a GOOD psychopath, able to dial up or down qualities such as ruthlessness, fearlessness, conscience and empathy to get the very best out of himself – and others. Drawing on the combination of McNab’s wild and various experiences and Dr Dutton’s expertise, together they have explored the ways in which a good psychopath thinks differently and what that could mean for you. What do you really want from life, and how can you develop and use qualities such as charm, coolness under pressure, self-confidence and courage to get it?
Being dumped by a woman-friend is excruciating: you expect romantic relationships to break up eventually but you don’t expect it from your friendships. And when it happens, you feel as though there should be an Adele song for you but there isn’t. Dumped: Women Unfriending Women fills that void, exploring the universal experience of being discarded by those from whom you expected more. The essays in Dumped aren’t stories of friendship dying a mutually agreed upon death, or of falling out of touch and reconnecting years later to find you haven’t missed a beat. These are stories by established and emerging authors who, like you, may have found themselves erased, without context. These, like your own, are stories that stay with you, maybe for a lifetime.
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. In these funny and insightful essays, Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.