Happy 2023! This National Mentoring Month, we had our Girls Write Now mentors brainstorm what books they’d like their mentees to read. Check out these exciting book recommendations from our mentors, ranging from memoir to self-help to historical fiction.
by sally rooney
This coming of age novel explores not only a young woman’s self-growth, but how she defines herself within her own family. This is a rich character study of the many shades of relationships—romantic, familial, platonic. This book talks about coming of age in terms of romance, role in a family, and sense of self. It was made into a limited series as well.
Why i write
by george orwell
Orwell talks passionately about how he writes to call attention to things he thinks are unjust or wrong. As a journalist, I was personally drawn to his discussion of political language, but I think everyone can relate to the impulse excerpted here: “My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience.” It’s a short read but an essential one.
the end of eddy
BY édouard louis
If you have ever felt trapped by your circumstances, or alienated by a lifetime of not-belonging, this book is for you. In a work of autofiction, Édouard Louis details his upbringing as a gay man from a working class family in northern France. It is a story of personal triumph and metamorphosis, and shows the power of personal narrative and self-possession.
what I talk about when i talk about running
by haruki murakami
It’s a book about running, yes, but it’s also about creativity, perseverance, and how it relates to writing. Beautiful stuff.
clever Girl finance
by bola sokunbi
These books offer down-to-earth and easy to understand financial advice for people at every stage of their life and money journey—budgeting, getting out of debt, learning to invest, etc.
So you want to talk about race
by Ijeoma oluo
This is a must read for all both for the content and the structure. Oluo presents questions to ask (and avoid) along with thoughtful answers to many issues around race in America. Her writing is concise, impactful, and important. Also, the book provides an alternate structure to memoir and shares researched nonfiction with personal narrative woven throughout. An excellent addition to anyone’s library.
how to do nothing
by jenny odell
Melville House Publishing
If you are overwhelmed and overstimulated by being pulled in too many directions, this book about the way our attention is caught and commodified is so validating, beautiful, and creative about how we can rethink our place within technology and community.
when stars are scattered
BY victoria jamieson and omar mohamed
This short graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp is beautifully illustrated and artfully told. I think it could be useful in deconstructing how heartbreak and trauma can be communicated graphically. Also, it’s told using a young person’s voice, but it doesn’t feel childish.
tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
BY gabrielle zevin
A story that follows a lifelong friendship and deeply researched account of a woman’s place in the video gaming industry—that was fascinating for even someone who hates video games.
the chiffon trenches: a memoir
BY André leon talley
If your eyes are starving for beauty, feast them upon the memoir of the late Vogue fashion editor André Leon Tally. Come for his journey from Jim Crow South to his mentorship with Diana Vreeland and ultimately his perch at the top of the notoriously racist and elitist fashion world. Stay for his take on rich people gifts, the tea on fashion titans, and his infectious love of “the language of style, fantasy and literature.”
goodnight, Mr. tom
BY michelle magorian
This is a heartwarming, heart-wrenching historical fiction tale that takes place in England during World War II. I’ve read it 10+ times, and I’m always drawn back to it for its depictions of beautiful (nonromantic) relationships that save us, of grief and recovery, and of finding joy in the little things in life.
by abby wambach
Wambach uses her experience as co-captain of the Women’s World Cup Champion Team to rally all women everywhere to strive for a new way to come together, work hard, and lead. This is an inspirational read that shows just how girls truly can run the world.
Join us in empowering young women and gender-expansive youth to write the next bestseller by donating at the links below.
“If not for me—brown skin, spike-studded leather gloves, combat boots and sculptural woolen coat—this place could be 1963, still.”
– MENTOR & MENTEE ALUM KAT JAGAI
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