I came across ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ by Dr Derek Gladwin at the perfect time. This is a well-written and clearly structured book that forms a part of the MindYourSelf book series - a series created with the intention of providing clear, peer reviewed information from frontline professionals that, although not a replacement for personalised medical advice from your doctors, can help us to take better care of ourselves. Very clear and broken up into easy to follow chapters, ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ focuses on how we use storytelling in our everyday lives to form narratives about ourselves and the world around us. These narratives are formed by our experiences and shape the way we feel and think. Taking us gradually through why we tell stories to how to change the negative things we say and think about ourselves, Dr Derek Gladwin provides information and practical advice on how to reframe these negative narratives into positive affirmations as well as changing our perceptions of the world around us. I personally found the ‘Thinking Too Much’, ‘Living Moment by Moment’ sections to be most helpful. I really enjoyed the layout of this book, the summarising bullet points and the reflection questions throughout let you ponder over recent topics, allowing you the time for greater insight of how internalised narratives affect your thinking before moving through the chapters to more practical tips on how to change the stories we tell ourselves. I also liked the concept, as a bookworm I felt at home with the analogy of internalised beliefs are stories we tell ourselves, and how to practice editing and rewriting these narratives. I personally struggle to remember to implement the advice in self help books but I feel that the author has hit on a really clear to understand perspective with ‘Rewriting Our Stories’, and one that I know I will remember and be able to reflect on and utilise in the future. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Longlisted for the 2021 Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their status at birth. For much of history this was a revolutionary thought, but by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world's ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left? Adrian Wooldridge traces the history of meritocracy forged by the politicians and officials who introduced the revolutionary principle of open competition, the psychologists who devised methods for measuring natural mental abilities and the educationalists who built ladders of educational opportunity. He looks outside western cultures and shows what transformative effects it has had everywhere it has been adopted, especially once women were brought into the meritocractic system. Wooldridge also shows how meritocracy has now become corrupted and argues that the recent stalling of social mobility is the result of failure to complete the meritocratic revolution. Rather than abandoning meritocracy, he says, we should call for its renewal.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died. One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son's body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek's birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family's struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself. Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek's gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth, will touch all those who embrace it.
On 20 January 2021, Amanda Gorman spoke a message of truth and hope to millions. Aged twenty-two, she delivered a poetry reading at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. Her poem, 'The Hill We Climb', addressed the country and reached across the world: a call for a brave future. This special edition, which includes an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, marks that poem and offers us courage, consolation and the inspiration to make change.
For those of us at parenting age, with children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, we have a responsibility to guide and encourage them towards a future that is inspired and informed by values of fairness, inclusion, respect for all our fellow human beings and, of course, for the planet we call home. How to Raise a Global Citizen is written by and for parents and carers of children of all ages. In an exclusive LoveReading LitFest event, we are delighted that author Anna Davidson was joined by two of the seven contributors to the book; mother of three daughters and blogger Fariba Soetan, and father of two and founder of Dope Black CIC and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultancy BELOVD, Marvyn Harrison. For parents, grandparents or carers of the children who will go on to save the world, this is the book and the event for you. The LoveReading LitFest invited the editors to the festival to talk about How To Raise a Global Citizen. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see them in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone should read this book. Check out a preview of the event here.
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. When Arifa Akbar discovered that her sister had fallen seriously ill, she assumed there would be a brief spell in hospital and then she'd be home. This was not to be. It was not until the day before she died that the family discovered she was suffering from tuberculosis. Consumed is a story of sisterhood, grief, the redemptive power of art and the strange mythologies that surround tuberculosis. It takes us from Keats's deathbed and the tubercular women of opera to the resurgence of TB in modern Britain today. Arifa travels to Rome to haunt the places Keats and her sister had explored, to her grandparent's house in Pakistan, to her sister's bedside at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead and back to a London of the seventies when her family first arrived, poor, homeless and hungry. Consumed is an eloquent and moving excavation of a family's secrets and a sister's detective story to understand her sibling.
A fascinating in-depth history of the library, this book weaves its way through time and is overflowing with tidbits and facts. The Library calls itself a: “fragile history”, and as beleaguered as our public libraries are today, you can see their past suffering too. This isn’t a light and breezy offering, it is serious, and seriously epic in its scope. I took my time, and soaked up the information, from learning about the gathering of baked clay tablets in Mesopotamia, how Popes, Kings, and Monasteries affected Libraries, the arrival of vertical shelving rather than trunks, all the way through and past the Second World War. I have always supported the idea of the library, but never before really thought about how they came into being, how books are selected, the discrimination and censorship that has taken place. Libraries should be a safe welcoming place for everyone, but that of course depends on a huge range of factors, all of which are detailed here. Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree have spent time in over 300 libraries and archives, their acknowledgements and research material is listed. If you are interested in a detailed thought-provoking look into the history of the library, then The Library will answer your call. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.
Two long-time friends share an intimate and urgent conversation about life, music and their enduring love of America, with all its challenges and contradictions, in this stunningly-produced expansion of their ground-breaking Higher Ground podcast, featuring more than 350 photographs, exclusive bonus content, and never-before-seen archival material. Renegades: Born in the USA is a candid, revealing, and entertaining dialogue between President Barack Obama and legendary musician Bruce Springsteen that explores everything from their origin stories and career-defining moments to their country's polarized politics and the growing distance between the American Dream and the American reality. Filled with full-colour photographs and rare archival material, it is a compelling and beautifully illustrated portrait of two outsiders-one Black and one white-looking for a way to connect their unconventional searches for meaning, identity, and community with the American story itself. It includes: · Original introductions by President Obama and Bruce Springsteen · Exclusive new material from the Renegades podcast recording sessions · Obama's never-before-seen annotated speeches, including his "Remarks at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches · Springsteen's handwritten lyrics for songs spanning his 50-year-long career · Rare and exclusive photographs from the authors' personal archives · Historical photographs and documents that provide rich visual context for their conversation. In a recording studio stocked with dozens of guitars, and on at least one Corvette ride, Obama and Springsteen discuss marriage and fatherhood, race and masculinity, the lure of the open road and the call back to home. They also compare notes on their favourite protest songs, the most inspiring American heroes of all time, and more. Along the way, they reveal their passion for-and the occasional toll of-telling a bigger, truer story about America throughout their careers, and explore how their fractured country might begin to find its way back toward unity.
When Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker prize in 2019, aged 60, for her eighth novel Girl, Woman, Other, she made history. After 40 years in creative industries, everything changed as she became the first black woman to win the prize in the fifty years since its inception. This memoir is a page-turning, intimate and brave account of her life. Convinced that fame and success would come, this autobiographical story of her unstoppable journey towards her many accolades is an inspiration as she shares her life stages from her birth in Eltham in 1959 through her upbringing and cultural background, her influences and inspirations. One of 8 children of a fearsome Nigerian father and white English mother, we learn about her bi-racial childhood, early experiences of racism and the challenges of growing up as a mixed race woman which ultimately set Evaristo on the path of rebellion and freedom. The chapters take us through her heritage as an independent middle child in an inter-racial family in a predominantly white area. Through her years as a nomadic Londoner living out of bin bags. Through the men and women who came and went, all culminating in her finding her soulmate. We see her creative journey from theatre-maker, writer of poetry to fiction and her becoming the award-winning writer she is today. The book concludes with her Manifesto. We see the potential, the possibilities, the rewards if you are brave enough, her refusal to conform and her passion for fighting for what she believes in. Although in her conclusion she concedes that these days instead of throwing stones at the fortress she sits inside its chambers having polite, persuasive persistent conversations about how best to transform outmoded infrastructures. She is formidable in every sense and I warmed to her and am inspired by her. She tells us of her addiction to the adventure of storytelling and I am in awe of that storytelling. Manifesto is about life, love, courage, community, creativity, activism and optimism. And I for one could not get enough of it. I’ll be pressing this book into the hands of people for years and imploring them to read it and everything she writes. We need more Evaristos in this world, that’s for sure. It’s a powerful manifesto from a trailblazer and a reminder that there is a manifesto in all of us.
What a voice, what a story, what experiences, and what a vital record of the Windrush Generation experience, as told by a skilled teacher who came to Britain to be confronted with racist colour bars in place of the anticipated welcoming arms of the colonial Motherland. Black Teacher is an important, engaging and eye-opening piece of social history, and its author, Beryl Gilroy, has outstanding literary flair - her dialogue and evocation of character is first-class. Born in British Guyana in 1924, Beryl Gilroy arrived in Britain as an experienced, respected teacher and yet, “Here I was, over twenty years later, feeling and acting like a novice. I was afraid to go to school.” So Beryl said to her husband ahead of beginning her second term as the Headmistress of a North London infants school (in 1969, she was Camden’s first black headteacher). And the reason for her trepidation? The school was “full of tense, fighting people,” its pupils disruptive due to boredom and a lack of purpose, with parents who mutter that there’s “nothing but blacks everywhere.” And all this followed years of battling to secure a teaching position - Beryl moved to Britain in 1958 to study Child Development, but found herself continually overlooked for teaching positions. As a result, she took work as in an office, then as a lady’s maid, while never giving up on her vocation. Throughout the author is an inspiration - a loveable, valiant pioneer whose story, resilience and dedication had me enthralled from start to finish.
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence. At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.
'When I'm up on stage, I don't want to be anywhere else in the world' Since I was little, I've had a cast of characters living inside my head, an over-active imagination and the urge to be a massive f**king show-off. Not only was my family completely insane, but we grew up battling rural poverty, and together with my brother Charlie, I staggered my way through adolescence like a p**sed-up butterfly. In Don't Laugh, It'll Only Encourage Her, I'll take you on a rollercoaster ride so extreme it'll make you laugh, then cry, then barf your guts up. From my misspent childhood skulking around car boot sales to reimagining WWE Smackdowns for a Cirencester audience; from my one-armed internet boyfriend to a lover who doubled as a coat-stand; from snogging a pole at a lap-dancing audition to imitating a warthog at RADA to finally having This Country commissioned by the BBC. And, I answer all of life's great mysteries . . . Can wall plaster be part of your five-a-day? Can the afterlife be found in the back of a sh**ty pub? How do you give your tits added drama? Who dropped the monster turd at the fake audition? How much of a humiliating, ridiculous, screw-up of a sh**-storm life do you need to have led before you finally achieve your dream . . . ?