Our co-founder @corahilts shares her recommendations for summer reading
That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu
Cora’s 2020 Summer Reading List
Spending the past few months at home has meant we have had more time to delve into some of the books that have been on our list for a while. In this editorial our co-founder and CEO, Cora shares her top ten recommendations for summer reading!
Ever since I was a child I have loved reading – it’s something that can be used to take my mind off a hard day, to enlighten myself, to escape with or get stuck into. It’s a way to understand other people’s perspectives and experiences when you read fiction that tells a tale outside your own life’s realities, and nonfiction is something I love to sit down with on a weekend with a french press full of coffee. Education is key to change, and there are so many incredible people writing not only about our problems, but also our solutions, that deserve our attention.
I would suggest always buying your books from a local, independent bookstore and try not to automatically hit the buy button on Amazon – more than ever we need to support small businesses and this is a really great way to keep the local bookstore alive. We have linked each with a beautiful book shop you can get it from, and I hope these books bring you as much joy and education as they have done to me.
1. Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chounaird
I read this book once a year – I think every single Founder, CEO and anyone in a position of power within a company should do so. It’s a study on how to run a business ethically and in a way where your employees are allowed to live their lives to the fullest whilst also truly enjoying their work. What Yvon has done with Patagonia is such an inspiration to me, and his life stories are just incredible. It makes me believe that business really can be done for good, and I can’t recommend it enough. Find it here.
2. An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
This book left me completely moved – there’s a reason Barack Obama also put it on his summer reading list (trying not to just steal all his recommendations here!). In the current climate of trying to understand how African Americans live such different lives from the white privilege many of us enjoy, this deeply emotional tale of a young man who is wrongfully imprisoned and the effects of this on his life and marriage will leave you truly changed. Or at least it did me. Find it here.
3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
I read this years ago and I am now re-visiting it so I know how to talk to my friends about the reasons it is so important to move towards a more plant based diet, not just for our environment and the welfare of the animals we are lucky enough to share the world with, but also for our own health. I always want to encourage people to move towards a more sustainable way of eating and this book is just so powerful to help anyone along the way. Find it here.
4. Pleasures and Landscapes, Sybille Bedford
Sybille Bedford is my all time favorite author, and one who I really don’t think is well known enough. She wrote during the times of Henry Miller, Ernest Hemmingway and Adolfus Huxley but she never quite had their fame even though she absolutely should have (in my opinion). This novel is going to take the place of the travels I won’t be having this summer – she talks of her time in Capri, Venice and Bordeaux and describes the beauty of the simple acts of eating, drinking and talking with fascinating people. I can’t wait to read this in the garden. Find it here.
5. That Reminds Me, Derek Owusu
This is a story that takes your breath away with it’s depth and intimacy of a young black man’s journey through life as he moves from the country to the city and from childhood to adulthood. It delves into identity, belonging, sexuality and family – it’s a beautiful book that really will stay with you long after you put it down. Find it here.
6. Women In Sunlight, Frances Mayes
If you are anything like me, you have watched “Under The Tuscan Sun” over a dozen times, and maybe twice in lockdown. Frances Mayes, who’s life and book this was, wrote a novel later on about three American women that take a trip to a Tuscan villa with life changing results. A fun, beautiful read for all those who love the idea of an Italian summer even if we can’t do that in real life! Find it here.
7. A Garden Can Be Anywhere, Lauri Kranz
During lockdown both my husband and I, like many others I’m so pleased to see, have really taken up gardening. We live in the centre of London at the moment but are lucky enough to have an outdoor terrace so we have been experimenting with growing our own vegetables and bee friendly flowers – it’s been so rewarding that I truly hope other people start to find pleasure in this! This book has been a great guide for us and is so helpful for anyone, anywhere, who wants to be inspired to grow and enjoy nature in their own ways. Lauri, also known as “ediblegardensla” on instagram, is just a wonderful resource in general for organic gardening and landscaping too so check her out! Find it here.
8. Overstory, Richard Powers
This book is so powerful that I am going to have to read it again. Originally recommended to Rêve En Vert by the wonderful Clare Press, it’s been a beautiful, tragic and ultimately inspiring read. Weaving an intricate tale between very different people and how trees ultimately affect their lives, it tells us how we are all so fundamentally tied to nature – whether or not we are aware of it. And after you read Overstory, trust me, you will be aware of it. Find it here.
9. The Modern Cook’s Year, Anna Jones
When my husband and I switched to a vegetarian diet a couple of years ago, Anna Jones was the woman I looked to most often to inspire me on how to create beautiful, delicious recipes that we all plant based. I cannot wait for her next book, One, to come out next year as it’s dedicated to eating sustainably and in the best way possible for the environment, but in the meantime I will be finding some gorgeous summer recipes within this cookbook. It’s a celebration of fruits and vegetables that anyone can enjoy, vegetarian or otherwise! Find it here.
10. Yoga: A Manuel To Life, Naomi Annand
I am a huge yogi at the best of times, but during lockdown my appreciation for this practice has increased even more. Finding calm amidst a pandemic, looking for peace during the great movements around us and the incredible importance of moving your body in a way that feels good every day are things I have embraced, and Naomi’s book speaks to all of these things. I attend classes normally at her studio, Yoga On The Lane, which is next door to my flat in London, and not having access to those being able to sit down with this book has been one of the next best things. This is also a beautiful gift. Find it here.