The Reading List

Our winter reading list is all about overcoming adversity, celebrating strength and sharing joy with those around us in order to forge new pathways

Life Is Hard: How Philosophy
Can Help Us Find Our Way
Kieran Setiya
Is there a definitive road map on how to overcome hardships? Or should we learn to cope with life’s bumps rather than always be on the search for a constant state of happiness? These are the questions that philosophy professor Kieran Setiya explores in his new book, showing us how powerful philosophy can be in helping us weather the storms of being human. Drawing on the ancient wisdom of Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, this is packed with thoughtful guidance in coping with pain, grief, trauma and injustice.

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times 
Michelle Obama
In this follow-up to her bestselling book Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama authors a new guide to finding hope and balance in an ever-changing world. Sharing a collection of personal stories on how she’s successfully managed to adapt to change and overcome her own obstacles, while not shying away from subjects of race, gender and visibility, Obama offers practical wisdom and tools on how to face up to fears, find strength in trusted friends and seek bold pathways for progress.

Women Like Us:
A Memoir
Amanda Prowse
(Little A)
Prowse is an expert at creating fictional worlds and complex characters, but this candid memoir taps into the real-life experiences of a woman in a world where beauty, youth and popularity reign supreme. From her early struggles with low self-esteem, a toxic and self-destructive relationship with food and her own painful sufferings of grief, baby loss and sexual encounters, this is a raw, and at times, heartbreaking account of how to forge happiness and success after considerable adversity.

Inciting Joy: Essays
Ross Gay
The deepest joys are those we share – that’s the theme in this collection of beautiful, timely pieces by prize-winning poet Ross Gay. In an era when divisive voices seem to dominate social media and news outlets, Inciting Joy offers a vital alternative: what might be possible if we turn our attention to what brings us together? Full of energy, curiosity and compassion, Gay considers the joy we spark when we care for each other, especially during tough times, and how we can practise recognising it and, importantly, help it to blossom.

Love Untold
Ruth Jones
Approaching her 90th birthday, Grace, the matriarch of her Welsh family, is on a mission to find the daughter she’s not seen in 30 years in a last attempt to heal a family rift before it’s too late. At the same time, it’s something that may betray her granddaughter, who is far less forgiving of the past and unaware of the potential return of her estranged mother. A compassionate and life-affirming tale, exploring complex relationships between mothers and daughters, overcoming family obstacles, the heartache of secrets, and the power of forgiveness.

The Complicities
Stacey D’Erasmo
After her husband Alan’s vast web of financial fraud is exposed, Suzanne’s wealthy, privileged life is suddenly shattered. While he goes to prison, she files for divorce and attempts to create new beginnings and identity. Award-winning author Stacey D’Erasmo tells a haunting and emotional story about a woman who is rebuilding her life in the aftermath of her ex’s wrongdoings, exploring who is responsible for damage when it is done – and who should pay.

Plant Magick:
The Library of Esoterica
Jessica Hundley
From wedding-aisle rose petals and wreaths of lilies on an open grave to Valentine’s bouquets on a lover’s doorstep, cycles of joyful celebration and deep grieving are marked symbolically with herbs, flowers or branches of a tree. The fourth volume of this much-loved series chronicles a visual journey of the beautiful relationship between plants and people, and how they have become our method of signifying catharsis in difficult times, across global cultures and throughout history.

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