Since every day is different at the moment, we know that it's important to have a range of book recommendations, so that no matter how we're feeling, we've got the right text to get lost in.
That's why we've curated a Kowtow Library, our round up of books that the team is finding comfort in. We've organised it into categories, so that whether you want to learn something new, feel inspired or simply uplift your mood, you'll have something to go to.
Happy reading x
Retail Sales Assistant
by Jane Bennett
“My "own" body is material, and yet this vital materiality is not fully or exclusively human. My flesh is populated and constituted by different swarms of foreigners...The its outnumber the mes. In a world of vibrant matter, it is thus not enough to say we are "embodied". We are, rather, an array of bodies, many different kinds of them in a nested set of microbiomes. If more people marked this fact more of the time, if we were more attentive to the in-dispensable foreignness that we are, would we continue to produce and consume in the same violently reckless ways?”
Vibrant Matter is a theorisation of vital materiality from political theorist Jane Bennett. She shifts the anthropocentric focus away from the human-centring of our world, to a focus on everything which surrounds us - proposing that this change in mentality will create socio-political change in how we see and treat our world. This book I have read over and over and I'm sure it will resonate with a lot of you being environmentally focused.
& Content Creator
WABI-SABI FOR ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, POETS & PHILOSOPHERS
by Leonard Koren
“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete; a beauty of things modest and humble; a beauty of things unconventional.”
This concept requires the art of slowness, a willingness to slow pace and concentrate on the things that are often overlooked, the imperfections and the marks recording the passing of time. As we all slow down, we are allowed a moment to take in details, beauties we may have overlooked in the chaos of everyday life. Widely mis-understood, I have found visual description can articulate wabi-sabi in a way that makes most sense.
Wellington Store Manager
by Louisa M. Alcott
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”
A dear friend loaned me her much loved childhood copy of Little Women as I have not read it. I feel very lucky to have been gifted such a treasured possession, this book has moved house, cities, and countries with her and is one she has revisited again and again. I am looking forward to escaping to another time and place with this book and my friend.
Online Dispatch Coordinator
by Toni Morrison
“How exquisitely human was the wish for permanent happiness, and how thin human imagination became trying to achieve it.”
Any novel by Toni Morrison is worth reading, but this is my favourite. It's a harsh but beautiful odyssey that speaks to the reader about place and belonging. It is divided into nine parts, each named for a different woman and chronicles each of their journey's.
Retail Sales Assistant
THE HAPPINESS PASSPORT
by Megan C Hayes
“'Gigil' a word from Phillipine Tagalong, is an adjective which describes 'an overwhelming feeling, often in the context of wanting to pinch a cute or cherished baby'”
A unique twist on a dictionary! The author explores 50 words from common languages to obscure dialects (yes, Yiddish included) that are used to evoke feelings of happiness. This book also has beautiful illustrations to go with each word. So heart-warming during uncertain times like this. A big bundle of happiness.
by Haruki Murakami
'“You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive..."'
This quote (and this book) feels particularly relevant at the moment and I think it is a really compelling thought. That our memories form a crucial piece of who we are as individuals & more so that in times of isolation and loneliness, they allow us to feel connected. These pages have reminded me of the power of revisiting certain things which can transport you, teach you and inspire you in moments where you might feel stuck or overwhelmed.