5 Books That Will Inspire You to Be Your Best (Sassy and Wonderful) Self

This reading list might just inspire you to be a powerhouse of sass and take no prisoners - curious? Read on.

1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler If you don’t know who Amy Poehler, you’ve been working too hard and you need a break to watch Parks and Recreation (yes, it’s that important). Amy shot to fame as one of the funniest ladies on the telly as the charming Leslie Knope for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Comedy Series in 2014.

Her memoir, Yes Please, incorporates her easy charm and sharp humor effortlessly and is one of the most honest biographies I’ve read. Amy doesn’t just write about the perks of being an actress but also her real-life struggles with parenthood, divorce and drug abuse. Accessible, a little bit shocking, and full of sass. These life lessons of womanhood should be on university reading lists everywhere.

2. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey If you look up ‘boss’ in a dictionary you will find Tina Fey’s name etched under it the etymology. It was probably put there by readers of Bossy Pants but still.

The Sunday Telegraph called Tina Fey’s debut ‘a masterpiece’ and honestly, it is. It’s just Tina Fey being Tina Fey and it makes you want to take over the world and simultaneously eat a whole sharing bar of chocolate with no shame


3. Why be Happy When you Could be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson Jeanette is best known for her acclaimed novel Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. Oranges is semi-autobiographical but also locks away some of Jeanette’s deepest secrets of her childhood - this autobiography shatters that lock and is heart-breaking as a result (in the best way).

Why be Happy When You Could be Normal? is a portrait of mental health, religion and the relationship between a mother and daughter. It's a little like looking at an open wound whilst someone is telling you how it got there - it’s uncomfortable, but also a message to women everywhere that survival, even through the worst mental pain, is possible.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling Every one of us has a tiny Mindy Kaling hiding between our ears she’s the one that says ‘You can totally eat that biscuit that’s been on the floor this this morning’ and ‘Actually you look hot today in that shirt you should wear it even though it shows your arms!’. She’s basically a hybrid of really friendly drunk girls in club toilets who compliments your outfit and your best friend who is way too honest but in an endearing, vital way.

Mindy’s first book will reassure you that being you is actually pretty alright, whoever and whatever you are: chubby, different, weird, silly, obsessive, a loner, a nerd or perpetually hungry. This is possibly my favourite on the list (p.s. Mindy can we best friends please?).

5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Maya’s autobiography was the first one I ever read. It tells the story of her childhood in 1930’s South America and how she grew into a woman and a writer, in spite of the obstacles she overcame on the way. It is extraordinary.

I must have been about 12 at the time and this dealt with some very difficult themes for 12 year old me: child abuse, rape and racism - to name a few. But if you were to read one book on this list, I would say have a go at this one: I laughed, I cried, I pondered ‘why?’ a couple dozen times and I got really really angry. Finally, I realised that obstinate resilience in the face of terrible circumstances is key to forging the woman you will become.


Edited by Naomi Upton

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