Author Picks for Christmas - Caitlin Moran
This September Caitlin Moran published More Than a Woman, the follow-up to her landmark work How to Be a Woman, and again she is sharing her insightful, informative and hilarious thoughts and feelings in her guide to growing older; a manifesto for change, and a celebration of all those middle-aged women who keep the world turning. With huge praise coming from fans such as Nigella Lawson, Marina Hyde, Marian Keyes and Hadley Freeman, More Than a Woman is set to make appearances on many end-of-year best-of lists, and provoke many a conversation over the dinner table. Especially for Foyles Caitlin shares the five books she has most enjoyed this year.
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
A deeply important and useful book, in which Criado-Perez - the feminist legend who successfully campaigned to have a woman on British bank-notes - did an exhaustive, groundbreaking, years-long dive on the gender data gap. What’s that? Just how an endless list of things - cars, public transport systems, medication, iPhones, heart-attack diagnoses - are formulated around male bodies and lives, and just don’t work, or are even fatal, for the 52% of the population that are women. Fast, funny, angry and vital, Invisible Women subsequently inspired a crowdfunder, in order that every British MP be given a copy. If they acted on the findings, LIFE WOULD JUST BE BETTER. A proper game-changer.
English Pastoral by James Rebanks
A follow-up to the much-loved bestseller The Shepherd’s Life, English Pastoral recounts how Lakeland shepherd James Rebanks has, slowly, returned his 300 acre family smallholding to an older way of farming - both rewilding vast tracts and becoming more financially viable, whilst delighting - in beautiful billows of prose - in the return to his land of oyster-catchers, owls, falcons, dung-beetles, orchids and moles. An outrageously hopeful book. Again, LIFE WOULD BE BETTER if this was required reading in Parliament.
The Mirror & The Light by Hillary Mantel
How could this not win the Booker? How? What is the point of the Booker if The Mirror & The Light doesn’t win - for, let’s not make any bones, this is the greatest book of 2020, and maybe this decade. For the final part of a trilogy to be the best part of the trilogy is borderline impossible, but Mantell’s genius burns like a feasting-hall of candles. Presumably she’ll now get the Nobel Prize for literature. There’s no reason for the Nobel to exist if she doesn’t. I stan her ferociously. A queen writing about queens.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Virginia Woolf, but now I love her with the same passion as my best friends. Everything she wrote is amazing - Orlando is the Sgt Pepper of novels; a sexy psychedelic concept album bursting with unforgettable riffs - but A Room of One’s Own has a particular clean, precise, joyous anger to it that still reads as in advance of it’s time, nearly a hundred years later. I walk around Fitzroy Square and think of her; if I had a third girl, I would call her “Virginia.” Or “Woolf.”
Collected Short Stories by Lorrie Moore
I’ve never cared for short stories - they’re too short - but Lorrie Moore blows the doors off, every time. She’s got a jeweller’s knack of taking the most precious and exquisite of words, and placing them in a setting that makes them genius. All the things you didn’t think need doing again - describing a sunset, or a kiss, or salty soup - she does for what might be the final and best time, on behalf of humanity. The humour is dark, the stories corkscrew, and the characters keep on talking to you, even after the final full stop. It’s endlessly amusing that people sometimes still suggest women writers struggle to match the achievements of men. Hahaha are you on glue?
Caitlin Moran is the eldest of eight children, home-educated on a council estate in Wolverhampton, believing that if she were very good and worked very hard, she might one day evolve into Bill Murray.
She published a children's novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of 16, and became a columnist at The Times at 18. She has gone on to be named Columnist of the Year six times. At one point, she was also Interviewer and Critic of the Year - which is good going for someone who still regularly mistypes 'the' as 'hte'. Her multi-award-winning bestseller How to Be a Woman has been published in 28 countries, and won the British Book Awards' Book of the Year 2011. Her two volumes of collected journalism, Moranthology and Moranifesto, were Sunday Times bestsellers, and her novel, How to Build a Girl, debuted at Number One, and is currently being adapted as a movie. She co-wrote two series of the Rose d'Or-winning Channel 4 sitcom Raised by Wolves with her sister, Caroline.
Caitlin lives on Twitter with her husband and two children, where she spends her time tweeting either about civil rights issues, or that picture of Bruce Springsteen when he was 23, and has his top off. She would like to be remembered as 'a very sexual humanitarian'.