Over the last 5 years many books have shaped how I work and also shaped the services that we offer at Motherwell Cheshire.
I wanted to capture these books for my own personal memories and hope that you may enjoy reading them as well.
I have all these books so happy to offer them out. I have also included the ISBN number should you want to get the book yourself.
I really loved this book. I would say that it is aimed at people possibly younger than me, but I was real escapism for me reading the book.
I hadn’t read a fictional book for a while, and to be honest I felt that this book wasn’t fiction. It was so well written I felt Queenie was my friend. I was with her every step of the way through her trails and tribulations. I could relate to the many of the situations that Queenie found herself in.
What I did find fascinating in the book was the way in which people spoke to Queenie as a black young women, I know that Queenie was a fictional character but I also know the book was written from Candices own experiences. It was from this book that I wanted to explore more about BAME women and their experiences as young women, Mums and beyond.
ISBN: 978 -1-4091-8005-0
In all honesty I was expecting more from this book, but I am aware that it was me that was possibly assuming what the book was about. I wanted to understand more about the culture of black womens Motherhood, but I didn’t really get this from the book. I could relate to many parts of the book as a mum, and possibly wanted more information of Candices experiences as a black mum.
I probably wanted more details from each section, every section seemed brief. I would have liked to know more about her journey to recovery from Maternal Mental Health. Then more detail about setting up the platform “Make Motherhood Diverse”. It is touched on but I would have like to know more about it the struggles and successes.
What I did enjoy about the book is the honesty from Candice which I am sure every mums would be able to relate to.
From this book I went away thinking how diverse we are as a team at Motherwell Cheshire and does our services appeal to all. I have since been interviewing many mums, many mums would say they are diverse, and I am making sure our services are fit for all.
ISBN: 978 -1-52940-627-6
I loved this book and there was so many women in this book I had never heard of, or had heard off but didn’t know what they were known for.
In a way it annoyed me that I didn’t know about these women, and wanted to know why I didn’t know about them, some I feel definitely should be part of the curriculum, to empower young women.
Rachel wrote the book as a Womens Champion and I loved this.
Since reading the book, at MotherWell we have started the Inspire Me campaign and have showcased most of the women in the book through an online campaign. Our aim is to take this exhibition into schools to enable male and females to know about the great women from politics that have shaped where we are now. Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.
ISBN: 978-1-788 -31220-2
This book is very similar to Womens of Westminster it champions women, but not all women in politics a wide range of women. Yvette has chosen speeches to illustrate how powerful the power of the voice can be. It was great to read so many speeches that have made such an impact to the society that we live in today. Its a great book to dip in and out off and one I am sure I will read again.
As part of the Inspire Me campaign we have included many of the speeches within this book, to empower women that their voice really can make a difference.
ISBN: 978 -7 -81786 -49992
This book is such an easy and informative read. I was expecting it to be more of an academic book but was pleasantly surprised that it was so easy to read. I learnt so much from the book, I read it not long after it came out so loved the fact it was so factual and relevant. The book was split into different sections and Helen reflected how far we have come in terms of equality, it was then marked out of 10. This was so great for me, I read the book and felt informed.
From reading this I wanted to explore some of the issues through a conference and have asked Dr Helen to speak at the conference, opening the event.
This is definitely a book I will go back to as a reference point.
ISBN: 978 -1-473-64685-8
This book is a great book, that completely inspired me. Ruth talks very openly about her lived experiences on a range of topics. Relationships, growing up, life in politics.
In the book Ruth also interviews other women that I liked, as many were not your “usual suspects” such as Baroness Martha Lane and Gemma Fay. This is a really inspiring book and to me its proved how determination, hard work and passion does pay off. At the time of reading the book it was what I needed to know. At he end of the book there was a section called “looking back and Paying it forward” I loved this and have used these quotes on my social media pages. Its great to hear advice from people that have been on that journey,
As you may have guessed, the women in this book were featured in our Inspire Me Campaign.
A rather different book for me, but one I have wanted to read for ages after watching the OJ Simpson Trail documentary. This books is written by Marcia who was the prosecuting lawyer in the OJ Simpson case. It was a fascinating book listening to not only how she viewed the OJ Simpson case but also how she was treated as a female in such a high profile case. Even though this was a case based in America I could well imagine our media in Britain being as discriminated.
Although many years ago, I unfortunately cant imagine that this would be any different now. It made me realise how far we have to go to get equality.
The book also explains how Marcia had to balance life as a mum and a having such an intense and high profile role. She explains well how she had to focus on getting both right as much as she can given the circumstances that she found herself during the trail.
I found this book difficult to read, it not to sure why? Possibly a little too academic for me. However I theme throughout the book was Feminism being focussed on white middle classed women. Which I could identify with and must admit is how I view feminist at times - which I am embarrassed to say. This book has been a book that has been really thought provoking for me, particularly around the title of feminst - I have gone on to write a blog about this.
The book also made me wonder if Motherwell was a charity that met the needs of the women from the BAME community. It definitely is not a middle class charity but it did make me wonder do our service stand for every female. It is certainly what I want and I have since made it my mission to find out of we do.
This is a great fiction book. The characters of the book were extremely relateable to me, and I am sure
Many other mums would also relate.
I love the characters and how they were so driven to continue with their dreams and reality. From the book I loved the idea of the womens group that was written about and went on to set up a Womens Personal Development group. Although my group is currently on hold, I love to see how the power of Women Supporting Women can make changes, and although this book was fiction I got the feeling that the author … also felt the same in her personal life and was brought to life in the book.
This was a great book, based on lived experience of black women, but what I also liked was the national statistics that were weaved into book. it helped to put things into perspective.
The book really helped me to understand the real barriers that take place for black individuals but in particular women. It’s not written from a “poor me” point of view, it was written with an honest account of the systemic issues that back individuals face everyday.
I especially like how it was split into sections like Helen Pankhurst’s Deeds not Words. The mental health section was a particular interest of mine. I found it really interesting that when at University she didn’t want anyone to know about her mental health issues for fear that people would think that she wasn’t coping, that university was too much for her.
It made me think, I wonder how many black women don’t talk about their mental health battles with fear of judgement…Can’t cope being a mum, Can’t cope with their job. These barriers and stigma need breaking down.
At the time of writing this I have just recruited a volunteer who will be leading of a BAME drop in for local women suffering with their mental health. The volunteer being a black woman herself wants to promote that there is no stigma in talking about your mental health.
Reading this book before meeting the volunteer made me realise how our starting point at the charity is to first start raising the awareness that it is ok for Black women to have struggles with their mental health.
I found this book really easy to read and liked how it was split into simple chapters. I have always wanted to work in a prison setting and so found this book really interesting about what goes on the “inside”. Mim was a prison teacher and shared her experiences whilst working in a women’s prison. In the book Mim includes statistics but what the book does so brilliantly is bring to life the women that are in prison. Mim brings to life the impossible situation that many of the women face, trapped in the cycle of offending and being sent to prison. I am fascinated with peoples “back stories” and their motivate for doing what they do, so this book was great for me to understand the situation that many female offenders find themselves in both and out of prison. The book is split into small chapters which are easy to read and throughout the book you clearly experience Mims humour, which makes the book the book that it is. The book clearly explains the loneliness and isolation that many women experience, and this is something I would like to explore further as our charity grows - offering a safe space for ex-offenders to visit get the support they need without fear of judgement. I would be particularly interested in supporting mums who have lost contact with their children due to being in prison - a project for another time! At the end of the book, Mim has a section called “Lessons (I learnt) from A Women’s Prison” There are many points in this section but the one that stood out for me was: “counselling is brilliant and we should all have some” - isn’t that the truth!!
I have had this book for 2 years and never got round to reading it for one reason or another, I purchased it from the Pankhurst Centre, which I feel really fits with the book. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down.
Reading this book was like a history lesson, topics that I feel every young woman needs to know about. The book is focused on, Emmeline Pankhurst militant women’s right activist and Etta Lemon driving force behind the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Both on very different missions but both very passion and determined to influence change.
The book also has a section writing all about Ada Nield -otherwise known as “Crewe Factory Girl” This section made me very proud and even more determined to get a Ada statue in Crewe (but that’s a very different story!) There is so much I loved about the book, all about the fashion, the dynamics of women’s group, the power of women supporting women and how men were needed to help support change!
But most of all I loved reading about the passion and determination of both Emmeline and Etta. It fascinates me what drives women to succeed, to influence change and to continue to fight for what they believe in. To me such females are positive role models that every young girl should know about, they defined how females live now and I am sure if we empower more females by explaining women of the past there are many future activists that will define our female’s future.
ISBN 978 -1-78131-654-2
I have had this book for a while and for some reason I had other books that I decided to read first. I am a strong believer everything happens for a reason and felt I read this book at just the right time for me.. there were so many aspects of me that fell in place for me after reading this book.
There were so many sections to this book I could relate to and so rather than doing a typical book review this is possibly a blog that offers me some therapeutic value, so feel free to stop reading now!! I loved how the book was able to bring in all different aspects to feminism from peoples perspectives based on Deborah's conversations.
Through the book different sections of the book start with …
“I’m a feminist but”
There was so many I could relate and..
I am a feminist but I am perfectly capable of hearing a man shout, ‘Hey sexy!’ and thinking “that’s awful- still got it” in one clear thought!
This stems from my fear of getting and looking old!
I’m a feminist but one time I went on a Womens March and popped into a department store to use the loo and on the way back , I got distracted trying out face creams and when I came out, the match was gone.
This obviously hasn’t happened to me, but I am quite capable of it doing so!
I’m a feminist but I secretly love the movie Pretty Women and, in truth, I am open to the idea of Richard Gere paying to enter me on a grand piano.
I think everyone knows I LOVE this film and there is certainly no secret about it!
I’m a feminist but sometimes I fantasise about being sexually dominated by famous, fictitious misogynist Don Draper and, in truth, if he were to meet me, I could make him whole and heal his pain.
A don’t feel the need to add a comment on this one!
As a leader of a Womens and Girls charity, - I do struggle with the word feminist - as a few of my previous blogs have explored. As this book explores it can have a stigma attached, but reading this book further it made me question why I even worry about that stigma. Then further in the book I found my answer, it is because I didn’t want people to think I was a man hater. Which again I have explored in a previous blog. Some of my biggest supporters of our charity journey have been men, so I would never want to be associated with being a man hater. However what I should do is own the feminist title and then start to prove others wrong if they already have a preconceived idea.
What the book also explores is that its not men that are the problem, its the patriarchy - which I know is usually made up of men - or my worst type of people, women that love being in a “mans world” and really don’t care about other women so long as they are OK. These women really do grind on me!
My passion has always been to make sure that there are women at the top table to make decisions that impact women - so in essence to challenge the patriarchy. As this book explores its that, that needs to change.
The book briefly mentions the challenges that men are facing, this definitely is a concern of mine as women fight more and achieve more equality we need to make sure that men know where they fit in as well. The world is changing for them also and we need to show compassion and have systems in place that support them, at the moment I really don’t think there is.
In the book Deborah, along with others, explore intersectionality and why that is important in relation to feminism in the 21st century. I know I have a long way to go to fully understand race, disability and sexuality in relation to feminism - but what I do know is that the word feminism to me still has the connotation of white middle class. As the book explains feminism needs to be fully inclusive for positive change for all women, not the select few.
Again something that I can change by collaborating with others.
The interviews and the honesty in this book is what I loved - everyone bringing something to the table from their own experiences and values - but all working towards the same thing equality for women.
This book really compliments the other book that I have reviewed The F word, which allowed me to appreciate that feminism can mean different things to different people.
So I end this review owning that I am a feminist, I am proud and I am sure I will go back to this book many times again to get reassurance and clarity on a variety of different topics.
Another point from the book…
In this book it has a section that looks at period poverty it seems to be mentioned in every book I read at the moment. Period poverty is not only about women not being able to afford sanitary wear but also about women in particular girls still feeling embarrassed to talk about periods and some females not truly knowing what is going on for them.
As a leader of a women and girls charity I really feel this is an area we can help with locally and perhaps further a field. The book spurred me on to do so and that is why I have added in here!!
Thank you Deborah
ISBN : 978-349-01012-0
What can I say I absolutely loved this book, my children got it me for Christmas as I has seen It in a book shop in the summer and said how good it looked. I read it in 3 days over the Christmas holidays and want to read it again. Its a bit like a history book looking back when the world stopped!
I loved this book as it was a written as a balance between Sarah and Catherine's personal and professional lives. Their honesty throughout the book was very humbling and the book really got me thinking about what took place in the world of science when the pandemic was announced.
Although written by 2 amazing women this is not my usual type of book to read but I loved everything about it. The science, the politics, the ethics around vaccinations, the way teams worked behind the scenes to make the vaccination roll out a success.
This book made me realise that we knew very little about what was really going on in the world during the first 12 months of covid. Why so many people were at home complaining that their life was being impacted even though all they were being asked was to stay at home. There was a team of people working so bloody hard, without a day of for weeks to get the country back in back to some kind of order. These people didn’t seek reward they just did what they knew they needed to do and personally I will be so grateful.
What I also loved about this book and everything that surrounds Covid was how it made Science exciting and how Science can literally change lives.
And of course I loved this book because it was written by 2 amazing female scientists that didn’t make a big issue about being females throughout the book they just explained life during the first 12 months of covid from their perspective.
This is a short book review as all would say is everyone should read it, there really is something for everyone in the book. Its a piece of history and book I am sure I will go back to time and time again.
ISBN 978- 1-529 -36985 -4
I have had this book for a while and have been going back to it and reading parts of it every now and then. However because I didn’t really have a campaign that I was working on it didn’t really offer me any information. BUT NOW .. I am working on campaigning for the Ada statue in Crewe the book had a whole knew meaning for me.
I started the book again from the beginning and found it so insightful and informative. The way the book is written by Gina really worked for me. Written in very clear sections and within those sections it was almost a tick list that I could produce from each section. What I also liked is that Gina explained how she personally worked through each stage and then left sections for the reader to add in their action plan. This exactly the kind of thing that I like!
Even though my campaign is very different from Gina's Campaign ( to change the law on upskirting) it didn’t matter - a campaign is a campaign and the steps that need to take place are the same:
The list goes on and the book explains every step from start to finish.
What I also loved about this book was the story of Gina. I am always fascinated by what drives women to do what they do, especially when it outside of what needs to be done as part of work etc. The passion, the energy that drives us to influence change. Gina explains throughout the book what challenges she faced and how she over came them. The book is honest and humbling and I loved it!
This book needs to be read by anyone thinking of campaigning,
This book was extremely informative for me as I start a campaign to get a statue of Ada Nield Chew in my home town of Crewe. The book is a tour of statues in Britain - not all but covered many.
This books is split into sections which I found was really easy to read:
Women's Statues, and many more.
I was obviously really interested in the Women's statue section, it highlighted that there is a big difference between male statues and female statues, a fact that I already knew, but needed to read it again. It also highlighted the campaigns that are and have been in place for Women's Statues such as Invisible Women and Caroline Criado Perez campaign for Millicent Fawcetts statue in Parliament Square.
What I loved about this book was reading about all the other campaigns that have taken place to get statues in towns and cities. It reassured me our campaign can turn into a statue reality like theirs.
In the book Roger really brought the statues to life, writing about people he had spoken to when visiting statues round the country, I found these comments really interesting as I love to find out about people's thoughts and feeling towards such topics.
For each statue Roger provided a real insight to each statue, the history, who designed it, why the statue was in the town etc.
This book has definitely made me want to go and visit some more women statues, in particular “Cracker Packers” in Carlisle, a statue by Hazel Reeves who we are working with for our Ada statue.
Thank you Roger for an informative and inspiring book and thank you to my 3 children for getting me this book for my birthday - they know me so well!
At the end of 42 I am embarrassed to say that this book taught me such a lot! It was like learning all about the birds and bees all over again!
I loved this book and have gone back to it many times since. I loved how the book was split into different sections almost like a reference book.
As a leader of a Women and Girl's charity this book gave me so much insight into what we as a charity need to focus on alongside the current mental health support that we offer.
Period poverty really stood out for me in this book, as a charity we were already offering sanitary wear to address period poverty, but what this book made me realise is that we needed to do more to address period poverty - we need to talk about periods in a positive way and encourage others to do so.
What I really enjoyed about this book and found extremely informative was the section called “ The facts “ it begins with the sentence :
“ the fact that, in 2016, 60 per cent of British women were unable to correctly identify the vulva in an anatomical diagram”
I dare say I would probably be in the 60% of women, I learnt so much about my body after reading this book!
Reading this book was very timely as period poverty and menopause are 2 areas that I had already decided needed to be a focus for our charity this year. This book confirmed to me we were addressing current issues for women and also gave me some food for thought about what we also need to be addressing.
I love how the book addresses the stigma we have around some women's topics. A lot of the topics in the book are certainly discussed in my counselling room, and it was refreshing that these topics were in the book. Orgasms, fertility, getting pregnant.
This book addresses what need to be spoken about now for women, in a professional way without shying away from the real issues. It's a book I will go back to many times I am sure.
ISBN - 9781911630012
I have been meaning to read this book for a long time and so glad that I finally got around to doing so.
Ever since reading Ellen Macarthur's book when she sailed round the world, I have loved reading and hearing about people's challenges. I think it is because I like to set myself a personal physical challenge each year.
This book explores the journey of Helen, Niki, Frances and Janette who rowed 3000 miles in a boat, breaking a world record along the way.
The book follows the journey of them rowing starting from the very first conversations right up to the weeks after the row was complete.
For me what I loved about the book was reading about the considerations that had to go into even thinking about taking on the challenge. The logistics of training, work, family life etc. Like any challenge most people will only see the end result (the challenge being completed) some may consider the training aspect but there is always so much more. For this challenge there really was so much to consider and throughout the book I was there with them, trying to find an answer for them.
I loved reading about the relationship of the women, as I read more of the book I felt I got to know the women well, as this was due to how the book was written - by each one of them. It soon became clear who was the thinker who was the leader etc. ( I won't mention who I will leave it to you to work that out). This group dynamic is all I love about women, everyone pulling on each other's strengths.
The book captures their relationship so well and it was this aspect that kept me captivated.
I know from completing physical challenges that there are times when our true vulnerabilities may come out. This could be through fears, exhaustion and past experiences. The book explains how these vulnerabilities were at times challenging but how they were able to support each other through using their own strength and skills.
There was a part in the book that I have read at least 5 times now, when they were on the boat and there was a storm that prevented them from rowing that night. It was described in the book in such detail that I really did think I was there. It was captivating to read how they made it through and how they continued to complete the challenge.
As I was reading it all I kept thinking was no matter how many times they tell the story, the only ones that will really know what took place and how challenging it was, was the four of them and how that will bond them together forever!
Definitely a book I would recommend and one I am sure I will go back to.
I don’t tend to read many fiction books anymore, however in my twenties, fiction books were what I loved reading and three authors in particular had an impact on me.
Barbara Taylor Bradford - her first book that I read was Women of substance after watching the film with my mum. I love the power women in this book. I then went on to read all of Barbara Taylor Bradford books in the early twenties fascinated by the strong women character that Barbara created. I think this was the start of my fascination with Womens equality and women in leadership.
Susan Lewis - again Susan creates strong female characters in her books who I felt I knew and many who I could relate to. What I also loved about the Susan books were the twists that took place. Nothing that is relevant to my life now, but I did love the twists and trying to second guess the outcome of each event throughout the book.
Erica James - another author that focusses on women's lives and dilemmas that they find themselves in. Erica books were always heartwarming and got me thinking about what I would do in the situations that the women found themselves in.
There is however one book in particular that has always stayed with me Hidden Talents, I loved this book about a Creative Writing Group. The writing group was made up with many different characters but there bond was so strong from the connections that they made in the group.
Since reading this book I went onto to have very similar experience when doing my counselling training in Self Development Time, a safe space to share all what is going for me, bearing all without fear of judgement.
I have since worked hard to create such safe spaces within groups in the Motherwell Charity and have seen lovely friendships grow.
Motherwell has its own choir and this has been a safe space, a place where we sing and reflect on our week. This book made me realised bringing people with the same passion really can be magical.
Another book that I always remember reading is Dame Ellen Macarthur's Taking on the World. This has to be one of my favourite books, for quite a few reasons. I loved reading about the mindset that Dame Ellen had to get into to sail round the world and how she overcome the loneliness when sailing on her own. Her motivation and resistance was remarkable. How people got into this frame of mind had always fascinated me and so was great to read it from a lived experience point of view.
The other reason I loved this book so much was the amazing descriptions that Dame Ellen painted about her surroundings, being out at sea and all the wildlife and sealife that was her around her.
It's a book I often reflect on and one I plan to read again.
I have lots of books I am planning to read please head over to my pinterest page where these are all listed.
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