OWN IT!’s LOCKDOWN READS

It’s been a crazy year and we’ve all spent a lot of it inside…and A LOT of it reading! Here are just a few of the books our authors and artists have been sinking their teeth into over the lockdowns.

THIS MOURNABLE BODY

TSITSI DANGAREMBGA

GET YOURS HERE

In this tense and psychologically charged novel, Tsitsi Dangarembga channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to discover where lives go after hope has departed.

Here we meet Tambudzai, living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare and anxious about her prospects after leaving a stagnant job. At every turn in her attempt to make a life for herself, she is faced with a fresh humiliation, until the painful contrast between the future she imagined and her daily reality ultimately drives her to a breaking point.

TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD

HARPER LEE

GET YOURS HERE

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior.

Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.

Lawyer Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. 

Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. 



A RIVER CALLED TIME

COURTTIA NEWLAND

GET YOURS HERE

The Ark was built to save the lives of the many, but rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning.

Years after the Ark was cut off from the world, a chance of survival within its confines is granted to a select few who can prove their worth.

Set in an alternate world where slavery and colonialism never happened, Newland’s staggering novel is both a timely exploration of social inequality and a story about love, loyalty and the search for the truth.

IKIAGI

THE JAPANESE SECRET TO A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE

RÉCTOR GARCIA AND FRANCESC MIRALLES

GET YOURS HERE

The people of Japan believe that everyone has an ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. And according to the residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa – the world’s longest-living people – finding it is the key to a longer and more fulfilled life.

Inspiring and comforting, this book will give you the life-changing tools to uncover your personal ikigai.

It will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions.

MRS DEATH MISSES DEATHS

SALENA GODDEN

GET YOURS HERE

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.

Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity.

THE DIVIDE

A BRIEF GUIDE TO GLOBAL INEQUALITY AND ITS SOLUTIONS

JASON HICKEL

GET YOURS HERE

For decades we have been told a story: that development is working, that poverty is a natural phenomenon and will be eradicated through aid by 2030. But just because it is a comforting tale doesn’t make it true. Poor countries are poor because they are integrated into the global economic system on unequal terms, and aid only helps to hide this. 

Drawing on pioneering research and years of first-hand experience, The Divide tracks the evolution of global inequality – from the expeditions of Christopher Columbus to the present day – offering revelatory answers to some of humanity’s greatest problems. It is a provocative, urgent and ultimately uplifting account of how the world works, and how it can change for the better.

THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE

BESSEL VAN DER KOLK

GET YOURS HERE

What causes people to continually relive what they most want to forget, and what treatments could help restore them to a life with purpose and joy? Here, Dr Bessel van der Kolk offers a new paradigm for effectively treating traumatic stress. 

Neither talking nor drug therapies have proven entirely satisfactory. With stories of his own work and those of specialists around the globe, The Body Keeps the Score sheds new light on the routes away from trauma – which lie in the regulation and syncing of body and mind, using sport, drama, yoga, mindfulness, meditation and other routes to equilibrium.

THE STORM

AKEEM BALOGUN

GET YOURS HERE

Through thirteen remarkably different stories, The Storm uses the intimacy of an evocative and volatile landscape to explore the very basics of human survival, all told in a distinct and slender style of prose.

In “Eden”, a sister longing for her brother goes to extremes to be reunited with her deceased sibling.

In “Bonfire Hero”, a doubtful and tired vigilante watches the streets beneath him deteriorate.

In “Buddhatarium”, personifications of tranquillity can be bought and exploited, becoming the only way for a father to keep his family together.

In this collection, 28-year-old writer Akeem Balogun shows us the often questionable ways that people deal with extreme crisis and how ordinary human relationships can become distorted in severe conditions.

BELOVED

TONI MORRISON

GET YOURS HERE

Deploying a lyrical, resonant and mythically charged style whilst remaining utterly rooted in the reality of her subject matter, Beloved exemplifies Toni Morrison’s talent for telling a vital story in the right way. In its refusal to shy away from the horrors experienced by Sethe, Morrison’s novel reflects the countless – often unspoken – atrocities committed by whites against people of colour throughout history.

But Beloved is not a polemic. It interweaves ideas of motherhood, family, folklore and community, creating a narrative that is never less than utterly engrossing. The result is a rich, fully realised story that, as Jane Smiley writes in the Guardian, is ‘likely to mould or change a reader’s sense of the world.’

THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION

ALDOUS HUXLEY

GET YOURS HERE

In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. Huxley described his experience with breathtaking immediacy in The Doors of Perception. 

In its sequel Heaven and Hell, he goes on to explore the history and nature of mysticism. Still bristling with a sense of excitement and discovery, these illuminating and influential writings remain the most fascinating account of the visionary experience ever written.

TERRAFORMED

YOUNG BLACK LIVES IN THE INNER CITY

JOY WHITE

GET YOURS HERE

Since the 1980s, austerity, gentrification and structural racism have wreaked havoc on inner-city communities, widening inequality and entrenching poverty. In Terraformed, Joy White offers an insider ethnography of Forest Gate – a neighbourhood in Newham, east London – analysing how these issues affect the black youth of today.

Connecting the dots between music, politics and the built environment, it centres the lived experiences of black youth who have had it all: huge student debt, invisible homelessness, custodial sentences, electronic tagging, surveillance, arrest, ASBOs, issues with health and well-being, and of course, loss.

Part ethnography, part memoir, Terraformed contextualises the history of Newham and considers how young black lives are affected by racism, neoliberalism and austerity.

A MONK’S GUIDE TO A CLEAN HOUSE AND MIND

SHOUKEI MATSUMOTO

GET YOURS HERE

Live clean. Feel calm. Be happy. We remove dust to sweep away our worldly cares. We live simply and take time to contemplate the self, mindfully living each moment.

It’s not just monks that need to live this way. Everyone in today’s busy world needs it.In Japan, cleanliness is next to enlightenment.

This bestselling guide by a Zen Buddhist monk draws on ancient traditions to show you how a few simple changes to your daily habits – from your early morning routine to preparing food, from respecting the objects around you to working together as a team – will not only make your home calmer and cleaner, but will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more fulfilled.

THINGS FALL APART

CHINUA ACHEBE

GET YOURS HERE

Okonkwo is the greatest wrestler and warrior alive, and his fame spreads throughout West Africa like a bush-fire in the harmattan. But when he accidentally kills a clansman, things begin to fall apart.

Then Okonkwo returns from exile to find missionaries and colonial governors have arrived in the village. With his world thrown radically off-balance he can only hurtle towards tragedy. 

 This arresting parable of a proud but powerless man witnessing the ruin of his people begins Achebe’s landmark trilogy of works chronicling the fate of one African community, continued in Arrow of God and No Longer at Ease.

CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP

A HISTORY OF THE HIP-HOP GENERATION
Jeff Chang

GET YOURS HERE

Hip-hop is now a global multi-billion pound industry. It has spawned superstars all across the world. There have been tie-in clothing lines, TV stations, film companies, cosmetics lines. It even has its own sports, its own art style, its own dialect. It is an all-encompassing lifestyle. But where did hip-hop culture begin? Who created it? How did hip-hop become such a phenomenon?

Jeff Chang introduces the major players who came up with the ideas that form the basic elements of the culture. He describes how it all began with social upheavals in Jamaica, the Bronx, the Black Belt of Long Island and South Central LA. He not only provides a history of the music, but a fascinating insight into the social background of young black America.

THICH NAHT HANH

HOW TO LOVE

How to Love is part of a charming series of books from Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, exploring the essential foundations of mindful meditation and practise.

MEENA KANDASAMY

EXQUISITE CADAVERS

In a conversation between forms, fictions and truths, Exquisite Cadavers is a novel about a young couple navigating love in London, and a literary hall of mirrors about an author navigating the inspirations behind her work.

SAREETA DOOMINGO

IF I DON’T HAVE YOU

A captivating, sexy romance that explores the limits of love at first sight…

BALLI KAUR JASWAL

EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS

When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.

OCEAN VUONG

ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS


Framed as a letter from a young Vietnamese man to his illiterate mother, Vuong’s radiant debut novel traces themes of race, class and colonialism across decades of South East Asian history, building to a breathtaking final revelation.  

SLIMANI

SEX AND LIES

In these essays, Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. 

MAYTE GARCIA

MY LIFE WITH PRINCE

In The Most Beautiful, a title inspired by the hit song Prince wrote about their legendary love story, Mayte Garcia for the first time shares the deeply personal story of their relationship

BRYAN WASHINGTON

MEMORIAL

Family tragedy forces a young queer couple to reassess their relationship in this tender, compassionate and wryly funny novel from the award-winning author of Lot.

ROBERT JONES JR

THE PROPHETS

Following the lives of two young enslaved men in the Halifax plantation, this visionary and deeply evocative debut carves a radiant love story out of the bleakest of landscapes.

COURTTIA NEWLAND

A RIVER CALLED TIME

Set in an alternate world where slavery and colonialism never happened, Newland’s staggering novel is both a timely exploration of social inequality and a story about love, loyalty and the search for the truth.

ON BHAKTI

TARKA

TARKA is a quarterly journal that explores yoga philosophy, contemplative studies, and the world’s wisdom and esoteric traditions.

HAPPY READING!