5 Books for the Bank Holiday

by | Blog Post

So, it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend – not just any weekend, the four-day-get-me-in-a-beer-garden Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. And yeah, we feel you, it’s not ideal to be stuck inside. I’m sure many of you had lovely plans (that may or may not have involved a beer garden) but are now resigned to stay at home. Well, you know what that means? More time to read! Whether it’s a spare hour or two while the kids are running around the garden, a whole day curled up on your chair, perfectly placed in that sunny spot of the lounge, or on a picnic blanket in your garden ’cause that’t the next best thing, here’s what we’re suggesting!

(Almost all of these are going to be available as e-books, but if you can, why not order from your local indie book shop, or buy a voucher matching the price to support them? We also had to limit ourselves to 5 because there were SO MANY)

For the History Buffs

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

This beautiful book from Tinder Press is causing a storm all over Twitter, with many claiming this is already the Book of 2020! We’re not arguing… Check out where you can buy this book!

For the Activists

Five Rules for Rebellion by Sophie Walker

Had enough? Feeling hopeless? Don’t give up – join the rebellion.Activist, journalist, founding leader of the Women’s Equality Party and ‘modern-day suffragette’ (Evening Standard) Sophie Walker presents an inspiring, five-step journey to incorporating activism into our lives.Featuring stories of new and seasoned activists – including Amika George and Jack Monroe – campaigning on a range of issues from reproductive rights and poverty to the environment and access to education – the book shows us how to see activism not as a series of pitched battles but as a positive, lifelong learning experience.

Escape the numbing effects of despair, learn to channel anger, arm yourself with hope, practise perseverance and connect with others compassionately. Five Rules for Rebellion explains how we can convert our confusion and impatience into a powerful force for change.

This book is available from the amazing Icon Books and we are soooo excited to be holding an event with Sophie (details here!). Check out there you can buy this book!

The Feminists who read Invisible Women and are looking for the next THING!

Difficult Women by Helen Lewis

Well-behaved women don’t make history: difficult women do.

Feminism’s success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women, who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Helen Lewis argues that too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines. It’s time to reclaim the history of feminism as a history of difficult women.

In this book, you’ll meet the working-class suffragettes who advocated bombings and arson; the princess who discovered why so many women were having bad sex; the ‘striker in a sari’ who terrified Margaret Thatcher; and the lesbian politician who outraged the country. Taking the story up to the present with the twenty-first-century campaign for abortion services, Helen Lewis reveals the unvarnished – and unfinished – history of women’s rights.

Well obviously we had to put this one is, as it’s our Bank Holiday Monday book club book (oh, did we mention Helen Lewis is going to ‘swing by’ to answer some questions too??) but not only that, it is an emotive collection of stories with some pretty insane facts about Women’s Rights in the last century. Check out where you can buy this book!

For those who like their books political. But in a novel way… geddit?

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher


Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.

Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that.

Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

This book is very powerful and moving. It is not for the fainthearted as you feel a LOT of emotions but it’s a great Bank Holiday novel. We are also hosting a book club on this soon. Check out where you can buy this book!

And now, last but certainly not least in a list that we’ve had to limit…

For those looking for a different perspective.

Stim: An Autism Anthology by Lizzy Huxley-Jones

Around 1 in 100 people in the UK are autistic, but the dialogue around autism often follows a bleak and predictable path – ‘problem’ children, unemployment, parents desperately seeking answers. It is rare that autistic people get to talk about their own experiences, or show how creative, smart and funny they are, how different to the stereotypical image most people hold.

Recently, the tide has started to turn, and this anthology represents an important step in autistic people reclaiming the power to speak for themselves. It brings together some of the UK’s most exciting writers and artists to showcase the immense talents of people who just happen to be on the spectrum. Featuring essays about what it is to be autistic, alongside fiction and visual art, Stim is an enjoyable, insightful collection for anyone who wants to discover and champion unheard voices.

As a feminist book club, we’re aware that we need to always be honest that we can only talk from our experiences, but that books give us an opportunity to learn and understand others’ perspectives. We’re so excited to read this. Check out where you can buy this book!

We hope you have enjoyed our suggestions, we had so many more to share will try to

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