Angela Kirwin, author of Criminal: How Our Prisons Are Failing Us All recommends some excellent books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Angela's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
A book I recommend to absolutely everyone is Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan. It really made me reassess my attitude to life, what success means to me and how to live a good life. When I worked in prison running group sessions, I would often use the book as the basis of our discussions. It taught me the importance of building a life around small, daily pleasures. It’s well researched, but also easily readable and relatable.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I recently re-listened to Natives - Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala. He speaks so eloquently about big, difficult issues and breaks them down into an accessible and understandable way. Natives is full of perfect ripostes to those who say racism doesn’t exist or is no longer a problem in our society. Akala breaks down how racism touches every single part of our society and the effect this has on people throughout their lives. It’s such a good book and Akala reads the audiobook perfectly.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Where the Wild Things Are is my favourite childhood book. It sparked in me a sense of adventure and a desire to explore the world. The imagery is burned into my memory - it’s kind of dark for a kids book, but I was drawn to that. I didn’t care for fairies or princesses, but Max stomping around with the wild things made me fall in love with reading.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I prefer to read paper books, but for the past couple of years I’ve lived abroad and it’s hard to find English language books in my Italian town. When I signed my first book deal, I bought myself a Kindle and I actually enjoy reading on it more than I thought I would. But what I do far too much is listen to audiobooks - In the gym, commuting, cleaning the house, going to sleep. I will almost always have an audiobook playing, no matter what I’m doing.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I’ve got a real soft spot for shops in museums and art galleries. The Wellcome Collection used to have an amazing bookshop (with a great cafe!) but I went for the first time since the pandemic last week and they’re renovating it at the moment. The Tate Modern in London has a couple of brilliant shops that I could spend hours browsing around. They stock a really eclectic mix of books and I often leave with a random purchase.
Image Copyrights: Orion Publishing Co (Criminal), Penguin Books Ltd (Happiness By Design), John Murray Press (Natives), Penguin Random House Children's UK (Where The Wild Things Are)