In partnership with the Guille-Allès Library
Here's the deal: Our bodies are so much more than aesthetics. They do so much for us, most of which we aren't even aware of. And yet, we may often find ourselves wishing they were different: smaller, bigger, lighter, darker, more able, smoother, softer, prettier... And it's not our fault really. For years, we have been conditioned to focus on how we look, not on who we are, to compare ourselves to filtered versions of others, to be 'beach body ready', to believe that we are less than because of the number on the scale. And we're tired of it.
When we created The List, this was a huge part of our mission: To fight against diet culture. To show people that they are more than their bodies. To show that everybody in every body is unique and special and worth celebrating. And to play a small part in helping people learn to love and accept themselves once again... and that's why we've revisited and expanded this list of books to help you love your body with the team at the Guille-Allès Library.
There is a huge movement happening online at the moment - some may say not big enough yet - that encourages us to love ourselves, every part of ourselves, to feel body postive and move towards body acceptance and even ambivalence. Because how great would it be to just not care anymore? Society is changing and these books are a part of that change.
We're handing the reigns over to the team at the library for their recommendations...
TW: This article contains mentions of eating disorders and disordered eating.
"The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonia Renee Taylor wrestles you free from the habit of your shame and declares you whole, right now, just as you are. To follow its revelations and teachings leaves you different on the other side and undoubtedly more yourself." - Prentis Hemphill, founder and Director of The Black Embodiment Initiative.
World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to wake up to the indoctrinated body shame we’ve come to accept. In this book, she shows us how self-love can be a radical act but, if we act together to celebrate our collective, we might just build a more just and compassionate world for everyone.
Own It is for the generation of women that have been told time and again that you need to drastically change to ever have a hope of happiness. For the women who feel that confidence, success, and joy are for 'other people'.
Motivational comedian and award-winning blogger Jess Jones - aka Instagram's The Fat Funny One - will help you silence the voices in your head that tell you that you are not good enough and teach you to own exactly who you are, as you are.
From comedian and ex-diet junkie Caroline Dooner, comes an inspirational guide that aims to help you stop dieting, reboot your relationship with food, and regain your personal power.
In The F*ck It Diet, Caroline takes a closer look at the inherent flaws of diet culture and offers up a simple path to healing our physical, emotional, and mental relationship with food.
"Women are told, from birth, that it's our job to be small: physically small, small in our presence, and small in our impact on the world. We're supposed to spend our lives passive, quiet and hungry. I want to obliterate that expectation..."
In Shrill , Lindy recounts how she went from being the butt of people's jokes, to telling her own brand of jokes - ones that carry with them a serious message and aren't told at someone else's expense. She reveals the obstacles and stereotyping she has had to overcome to make herself heard, in a society that doesn't think women (especially fat women and feminists) are or can be funny. Bursting with her trademark black humour, Shrill will have you crying and laughing out loud in all the good ways.
Renowned and loved for her refreshing candour on everyday issues; social, domestic and intimate, Stacey Solomon reminds us how important it is to embrace ourselves - the good, bad and the ugly - with Happily Imperfect.
Covering all sorts from how to navigate motherhood, and dealing with anxiety, to the experience of getting older, Stacey has plenty of words of wisdom to share. With tips and tricks on how to apply a positive mindset to your own day-to-day life, start your journey to emotional freedom with Stacey by your side!
Megan's body image issues began when she was five years old. She spent her childhood chasing thinness, and at fourteen found herself spiralling into anorexia. After recovery she spent years dieting, bingeing, losing and gaining weight. But then she found body positivity, quit dieting, and finally escaped the 'cult of thin'.
Now, she's determined to let as many people as possible know the truth: that we are all good enough as we are. Laura, one of the librarians, recommends Body Positive Power: "In a world that teaches us that our bodies are a problem to be solved, her message is clear: be kind to yourself, celebrate your body and ditch the negative mindset. A must-read for anyone suffering with poor self-image."
Florence's debut book explores all progressive corners of the feminist conversation; from insecurity projection and refusing to find comfort in other women's flaws, to deciding whether to date or dump them, all the way through to unpacking the male gaze and how it shapes our identity.
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty will help you tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you’ve been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms. After all, you are the love of your own life.
As recommendations from librarians go, this book comes with high praise from Beth at the Guille-Allés: "I love everything about this book! It’s the best piece of non-fiction I’ve read in a long time. Florence Given is a great teacher of body positivity and self-confidence!"
Am I Ugly? is a captivating and deeply personal memoir that describes Michelle’s childhood experiences of life-threatening health problems, long stays in hospital and fifteen complex surgeries that left her scarred, both mentally and physically. The narrative follows her journey from illness to health, and from childhood to adulthood as she deals with her body confidence issues to embrace both her scars and her body – and help others do the same.
The library team told us: "Michelle visited Guernsey a couple of years ago and gave a talk at the Library. Her honest, life-affirming story of discovering strength and beauty at the end of struggle is both inspirational and uplifting."
Part inspiration, part memoir, Untamed explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and instead dare to listen to and trust in the voice deep inside us. From the beloved New York Times bestselling author, speaker and activist Glennon Doyle. This book was the hit of 2020 for a reason. If it wasn't on your 'To Read' list before, it needs to be.
What if every girl loved their body? Bodies come in all different forms and abilities. All these bodies are different and all these bodies are good bodies. There is no size, ability or colour that’s perfect. What makes you different makes you, you – and you are amazing
Love Your Body introduces the language of self-love and self-care to help build resilience, while representing and celebrating diverse bodies, encouraging you to appreciate your uniqueness.
The library team describes this book as "An upbeat, empowering children’s book that teaches girls that they are worthy of love and respect, whatever their size or shape or the colour of their skin. Highly recommended!"
In Happy Fat comedian Sofie Hagen explains how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife. From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way.
Part memoir, part social commentary, ‘Happy Fat’ is a funny, angry and impassioned look at taking up space in a culture that’s desperate to reduce.