AGL Book Club: The women you need on your nightstand now

In this first installment of our AGL Book Club, our Operations Manager, Phoebe, shares what she’s currently sinking her teeth into… 

I know I’ve enjoyed a book if it leaves my hands significantly less pristine than it arrived. I’ve read each of these with a pencil clamped resolutely between my teeth, ready to scribble in the margins, underline whole paragraphs and fold over the corners to revisit. My copies are now dog-eared, graffitied, and tatty so I won’t lend them out, but I’d recommend strolling to your nearest bookshop immediately and leaving with your arms full of the best women in the business.

  1. Elizabeth Day, ‘How To Fail’ – Inspired by her hugely popular podcast of the same name, ‘How To Fail’ is an uplifting and honest account of the numerous failures that make up our life experiences. The premise is that understanding why we fail, and learning to recover from that failure, is the most powerful way of learning how to suceed.
  2. Pandora Sykes, ‘The Authentic Lie’ – A hot topic in the media, and a word at the heart of what we do at AGL, this essay seeks to understand the true meaning of ‘authenticity’ in our hyper-curated world. Touching on womanhood, celebrity culture, social media and consumerism Pandora deftly explores the nuances of how we navigate our sense of self in a world where modern technology makes it possible for everyone to endlessly revise, refine and curate their identity.
  3. Reni Eddo-Lodge, ‘Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race’ – At times uncomfortable, and persistently confronting, this is a book that should taught at schools and made an offical part of our curriculum. An essential read for anyone interested in race, feminism and equality (which should be all of us). “Its clear that equality doesnt quite cut it. Asking for a sliver of disproportional power is too polite a request. I dont want to be included… I want to question who created the standard in the first place.”
  4. Roxanne Gay, ‘Bad Feminist’ – Another ‘beginners guide’, if you will, addressing the dichotomies of being an intersectional feminist in the modern world. A high point includes her searing takedown of the hugely successful erotica seies ’50 Shades of Grey’ in the essay ‘The Trouble with Prince Charming.’ Her writing will leave you nodding in agreement, shaking your head in dismay, and laughing out loud at her brilliantly smart observations.
  5. Charly Cox, ‘She must be mad’ – With staggering self-awareness, Charly’s poetry flows unfiltered from pen to page, exploring the parts of oursleves we aren’t always most proud of. It will leave you wondering how you ever adquately articulated any emotion before reading it. Her poem ‘inner gold’, transcribed below, seems a fitting way to summarise the essence of what all these authors are striving for in their work: compassion, self-awareness, identity, equality and most of all, truth.

Soften the shards

That broke you clean

Fresh and angry

As though they seem

Can be rounded as gems 

Handed as souvenirs

To those who are yet to find light 

In your old rotten fears

Charly Cox, ‘She Must Be Mad’