The Smoochies Must Buy Book List Vol.1

Living in Rwanda, there aren’t many options for buying books.  It was one of the things we were warned about before moving from London, so we stocked up on 4-5 books each and sat on our bags to zip them up (praying we wouldn’t excessively exceed the weight limit).

Bookstores are one of my favourite places in the world – I could wander through them for hours and hours – and this is one of the things I’m really starting to miss. So in preparation for my next visit to Europe or the US, I’ve started putting together a Must-Buy Book List.  While it’s clearly a list catered to my personal tastes – journalism, travel, girl power, the justification for living a messy lifestyle – perhaps you’ll find a few you’ll want to pick up as well. And if you have any recommendations for great books you’re reading now, please feel free to share in the comments!



“Originals” by Adam Grant

“In Originals, Grant not only offers stories of great accomplishments but also dissects exactly how these accomplishments were achieved. He debunks the idea that originals are great risk-takers. Most of America’s founding fathers were reluctant revolutionaries. Martin Luther King writes that he was pushed into service as leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott before he had a chance to say “no.” Bill Gates eventually dropped out of college but only after first securing a leave of absence from the university and ensuring that his parents would support him. Originals, Grant argues, are more risk-mitigators than risk-takers.”


“Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From teaching a young girl to read widely and recognize the role of language in reinforcing unhealthy social norms; encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about appearance, identity, and sexuality; criticizing cultural norms surrounding marriage; and debunking the myths that women are somehow biologically designed to be in the kitchen, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.”


“The Enough Moment” by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle

“Human rights activist John Prendergast and Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle bring us an empowering and hopeful new book, as they reveal the steps being taken by engaged citizens—”Upstanders”—famous and unknown, here and abroad, to combat genocide, rape, and child soldierdom in Africa, and show how you can be a part of the movement. Learn how a high school student in Chicago rallied fellow students all over his city to raise awareness of genocide… a former child soldier in Uganda formed a group of others like him to aid in reconciliation… and a mother and teacher gang-raped by soldiers in Congo found strength to help other survivors. John and Don present ways for you to form alliances, contact Congress, alert the media, enlist corporations, and use social media to become part of the solution.”


“Muslim Girl” by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

In her piercing memoir, media mogul and activist Amani Al-Khatahtbeh describes her family’s new reality following 9/11, when she was in elementary school: her mother’s tires slashed, threats and insults hurled at her family. A decade and a half later, as evidenced by the hateful rhetoric thrown around about Muslim individuals during the presidential campaign, anti-Islam prejudice is still fully present among the American public. The founder chronicles her adolescence as a Muslim teenager and the experience that led her to fill a niche in pop culture, covering issues and media relevant to young women like her. Her book is a both a must-read autobiography and a call to arms. – Jillian Capewell

“Rolling Blackouts” by Sarah Glidden

“Sarah Glidden followed her friends to the Middle East with one goal: to report on the reporters. Her friends were actually members of a journalist collective, traveling to Turkey, Syria and Iraq in order to learn refugees’ stories and report on the after-effects of the U.S. war on Iraq. The result is part travelogue, part memoir and part reportage — an accessible and specific narrative for news-tired readers who have long disassociated from headlines about war and refugees. If this is your introduction to “comics journalism,” don’t let it be the last. -JC”

“Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives” by Tim Harford

“In Messy, you’ll learn about the unexpected connections between creativity and mess; understand why unexpected changes of plans, unfamiliar people, and unforeseen events can help generate new ideas and opportunities as they make you anxious and angry; and come to appreciate that the human inclination for tidiness – in our personal and professional lives, online, even in children’s play – can mask deep and debilitating fragility that keep us from innovation. The book is an exploration of the real advantages of mess in our lives.”


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