Sometimes, life is really freaking hard. It’s confusing and complicated and you want someone to just sit you down and tell you what to do next. Luckily, our favourite dream mentors are available to do exactly that – through the magical medium of books.
Here are our go-to life manuals from some of our favourite women. Between their nine wonderful brains, we figure they’ve got most bases covered.
Gemma Cairney – Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be
Gemma already won us over with her Radio 1 advice show The Surgery, and we didn’t think it was possible for us to love her even more. Turns out we were wrong. Her new book Open is bursting with honest advice about pretty much every topic you can imagine, from mental health to sexuality to family. Plus, the book is so freakin’ beautifully designed that despite having sections we’re meant to fill in, we’re not quite sure we dare…
Malala Yousafzai – I am Malala
In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by members of the Taliban whenshe fought for her right to be educated. Recovering from the attack, she was catapulted to international fame and is now one of the most vocal human rights activists in the planet. She’s won a Nobel Peace Prize, spoken in front of the UN and written a book – oh, and she’s still 19. If any book is going toinspire you to change the world, it’s going to be this one.
Sara Pascoe – Animal
Sara Pascoe was confused by her own behaviour: why was she worried about how her bum looked? Why was she jealous of people she had no reason to be jealous of? She decided to research human behaviours and write a book about it. Some of the things she found will give you proper ‘wtf’ moments, but it’s a good reminder that underneath the clothes and the iPhones and the tiny cactuses in our rooms, we’re all just animals really.
Amy Poelher – Yes Please
When Yes Please hit the shelves, we were a bit nervous. The debut by one of our all time fave comedians, could Amy Poelher’s book possibly be as brilliant as we were hoping? The answer is yes, yes it can. It’s funny and serious and charming and honest. Anyone else hoping for a follow up? Yes please.
Mindy Kaling – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?: (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling is our favourite imaginary big sister. In her first book, she writes about everything from growing up chubby to her shiny Hollywood life and her plans for her funeral, somehow managing to be hilarious, brutally honest and helpfully thoughtful all at the same time. There’s more of the same in her second book, Why Not Me?, too.
Jazz Jennings – Being Jazz
Jazz Jennings transitioned to life as a girl when she was five. Since then, she’s started a YouTube channel, written a picture book, launched her own reality TV show and just this month had the design of the first ever transgender doll based on her. Jazz’s autobiography is an incredibly moving account of the challenges facing transgender teenagers, and has plenty of lessons for us all.
Caitlin Moran – How To Be A Woman
What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century? Or more specifically, a feminist woman in the 21st century? What are we meant to do with body hair, what should we call our vaginas, how do we know we’re in love and can we still say “I cocked it up”? Part memoir, part how-to guide, Caitlin’s book answers all those questions and a million more.
Rosalind Jana – Notes On Being Teenage
If you find it hard to relate to advice from grown-ass women – because, fair enough, you’re 15 – then this is the life bible for you. Rosalind Jana is a blogger, model, eco fashion activist and writer with frankly more awesomeness than a person should be able to acquire in 20 years of being alive. Generously, though, she’s passing everything she knows about being a teenager; from mental health and bullying to fashion, dating and navigating the online world. Warm, witty and wise.
Tina Fey – Bossypants
30 Rock star and first lady of comedy, Tina Fey was one of the first funny ladies of her generation to write a memoir, and pretty much everyone has followed her lead since. While others might be longer or more searingly honest, Tina’s 2011 autobiography is the original school-nerd-to-hilarious-star story and it holds a special place in our hearts.
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