Robert Mapplethorpe – The Archive
Robert Mapplethorpe – The ArchiveFrances Terpak
What We Say: With over 400 illustrations, this stunning tome sheds new light on the artist's inspirations and motivations as a curator and collector – and features an essay by Patti Smith, the author of Service95 Book Club's Monthly Read for September, Just Kids.
What They Say: “This eclectic and visually stimulating book constitutes an important study of the artist's work and enduring influence” – Publishers Weekly
Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, And The Legacy Of Trauma
Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, And The Legacy Of TraumaGalit Atlas
What We Say: Interlacing her own stories and those of her patients with years of research, psychoanalyst Dr Galit Atlas draws back the curtain on intergenerational trauma in this transformative book.
What They Say: “Galit Atlas deftly shows why the hurts and stuckness that can plague us can be faced and, yes, dissolved. Contemporary psychoanalysis at its best” – Susie Orbach, author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue
The Feeling Good Handbook
The Feeling Good HandbookDr David D Burns
What We Say: An invaluable guide with practical tips for dealing with fears, phobias, anxieties, panic attacks, and problems with communication.
What They Say: “If you are looking for sound, workable advice on how to change your life a little or a lot, this is the book for you” – Robert L Leahy, PhD, Director, Centre for Cognitive Therapy, New York
This Is Your Mind On Plants
This Is Your Mind On PlantsMichael Pollan
What We Say: This Is Your Mind On Plants offers an absorbing, eye-opening look into our relationship with psychoactive plants and intertwines Pollan’s own personal experiments with cultural history. Fascinating.
What They Say: “Expert storytelling... Pollan masterfully elevates a series of big questions about drugs, plants and humans that are likely to leave readers thinking in new ways” – Rob Dunn, The New York Times Book Review
What We Say: A noteworthy collection of thought-provoking spiritual reflections and exercises by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius as he grappled to understand himself and the universe.
What They Say: “A fine volume” – Malcolm Heath, Greece & Rome Journal
The Measure Of A Man
The Measure Of A ManSidney Poitier
What We Say: In this exquisitely frank memoir, actor Sidney Poitier looks back on his extraordinary life and career. A powerful testament to the benefits of acting passionately on your beliefs and always being true to yourself – no matter what.
What They Say: “Reflective, generous, humane ... moving . .. [Poitier] writes with vivid emotion” – New York Times Book Review
The Right To Sex
The Right To SexAmia Srinivasan
What We Say: Srinivasan delves into the connection between sex, politics, and ethics. With a keen focus on consent, racism, misogyny, and freedom, The Right To Sex sheds light on the crucial areas of conflict and controversy in our contemporary world. Prepare to be gripped by this fresh and thought-provoking analysis of the 21st century.
What They Say: “A daring feminist collection... Srinivasan accomplishes what she sets out to do: deliver a treatise both ambivalent and discomfiting, one which reveals the inadequacies in what we had imagined to be solutions” - Guardian
Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away And Returning To Britain’s Poorest Towns
Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away And Returning To Britain’s Poorest TownsKerry Hudson
What Douglas Stuart Says: This brave non-fiction book charts the experiences of the author. As Hudson revisits the hardships of her childhood, she does it with rare grace, and a desire to understand without anger or judgement. It’s always hard to write about growing up poor. It’s a delicate subject to capture without being perceived as condemning the circumstances or the other people who were present. But there is definitely a need to be honest about how brutally hard it is, how detrimental it is to children, and Hudson does this clearly and with well-considered feeling.
What They Say: “Totally engrossing and deliciously feisty” – Bernardine Evaristo
Real EstateDeborah Levy
What We Say: Thoughtful, refined and laced with irony, Real Estate is the final volume from Deborah Levy’s critically acclaimed ’Living Autobiography’ and it's a must-read.
What They Say: “Sparkling with humour and Levy’s zest for life, it’s a read for everyone who understands that home, though always familiar, can be found in the most unexpected of places” – TIME
The Vanity Fair Diaries
The Vanity Fair DiariesTina Brown
What We Say: Immerse yourself in the enthralling diaries of Tina Brown, recounting her extraordinary eight-year tenure as the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Through vivid storytelling, Brown unveils a captivating portrait of the exhilarating and glamorous world of 1980s New York and Hollywood. Delve into the sizzling accounts that capture the energy, allure, and occasional missteps of the era.
What They Say: ”One of Brown's most appealing qualities is her frankness. She speaks as openly about big issues as she has expected the celebrities who've appeared in her magazines to do. And it's why her book is such a juicy read. She's honest about every interaction, no matter how big the star: every success and every mistake” – Natasha Perlman, Grazia
The Second Sex
The Second SexSimone de Beauvoir
What We Say: A revisitation of classic feminist texts,The Second Sex, first published in 1949, is a time capsule of a bygone era, yet much of its content still resonates today. An unequivocally important work of literature, experience the fight for female equality and liberation in all its original glory.
What They Say: “De Beauvoir was not just a genius as a theorist. She dared to live it. Challenging conventional marriage and sexual practice, she used her own experience to explore the emotional costs of jealousy, attachment, monogamy, bohemianism, sexuality, of love” – Susie Orbach
The Vagina Monologues￼
The Vagina Monologues￼Eve Ensler
What We Say: A timeless masterpiece that celebrates the depth, mystery, and power of women’s sexuality. With humour and insight, it amplifies women’s voices, exploring their fantasies, fears, frustrations, and pleasures. Above all, it advocates for a world where women can feel safe, equal, and free in their bodies. Spellbinding.
What They Say: “Probably the most important piece of political theatre of the last decade” - The New York Times
King Kong Theory
King Kong TheoryVirginie Despentes
What We Say: A powerful and provocative read that challenges conventional ideas about rape, prostitution, sex, and gender, this manifesto for a new wave of punk feminism disrupts conventional beliefs, presented in a superbly translated edition by Frank Wynne.
What They Say: “In the dire age of corporatised and sanitised feminism, King Kong Theory is the radical – and darkly funny – manifesto we need” – Amelia Abraham, author of Queer Intentions
Queer SexJuno Roche
What We Say: An intimate insight into queer sexuality and trans body image, Juno Roche spearheads this humorous yet poignant book celebrating first-hand accounts from prominent trans and non-binary figures. Boundary-pushing and thought-provoking, Queer Sex is an empowering read covering all bases, from desire to dating.
What They Say: "Queer Sex is an audacious and inspiring challenge to a system that shames trans bodies and desires. Roche's words are a gift to anyone looking to open their minds and fall in love with the possibilities of love” – CN Lester, academic, musician and author of Trans Like Me
House Of Psychotic Women
House Of Psychotic WomenKier-La Janisse
What We Say: From Carrie to Christiane F this is a fascinating chronology of female neurosis in horror and exploitation cinema, adopting both an analytical and anecdotal approach to critiquing the history of madness depicted on-screen.
What They Say: “God, this woman can write, with a voice and intellect that’s so new. The truth in the most deadly unique way I’ve ever read” – Ralph Bakshi, director of Fritz The Cat, and Heavy Traffic
Becoming CliterateLaurie Mintz
What We Say: Discover the exploration of the pleasure gap in Becoming Cliterate by Dr Laurie Mintz, a renowned psychology professor and human sexuality expert. Unveiling the underlying cultural issues that contribute to this disparity between men and women, Dr Mintz offers insightful solutions for bridging the gap and transforming our sexual experiences.
What They Say: ”An excellent, thorough, inspiring and much needed guide to the source of our deepest energy, pleasure, and power-the clitoris. Everyone needs to read this book and become CLITERATE” – Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues
How To Change Your Mind
How To Change Your MindMichael Pollan
What We Say: Pollan takes us on a mind-altering journey to the frontlines of human consciousness, exploring whether psychedelic drugs change our worldview and writes a gripping depiction of new-gen scientists fascinated by the effects of these drugs.
What They Say: “'His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling” – The Washington Post
Widow BasquiatJennifer Clement
What We Say: A love story for the ages, Widow Basquiat is an unorthodox dissection of one of modern history’s greatest artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat, as recounted by his muse, Suzanne Mallouk. Bound to tug at your heartstrings, this book paints a vivid portrait of the trials and tribulations of an artist like no other.
What They Say: “A compelling book that leaves a giant-sized lump in the throat… A vivid portrait of Basquiat, powerfully evoking his inventiveness as an artist” – Independent On Sunday
What We Say: A refreshing addition to the archives of queer literature, activist-turned-author Munroe Bergdorf bares all and owns her identity through unapologetic storytelling and entertaining anecdotes in this no-holds-barred memoir.
What They Say: “Bergdorf puts herself on the firing line to make the world more tolerant for us all” – Time
Three WomenLisa Taddeo
What We Say: Lisa Taddeo spent eight years researching and interviewing hundreds of men and women before settling on her final three women. The result is an astonishingly honest and raw exploration of female desire and sexuality, imbued with empathy.
What They Say: “Three Women is an astonishing act of imaginative empathy and a gift to women around the world who feel like their desires are ignored and their voices aren't heard. This is a book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I'm not sure that a book can do much more” – Sunday Times
The Wild Womanʼs Way
The Wild Womanʼs WayMichaela Boehm
What We Say: This book will change your life. Intimacy expert Michaela Boehm shares an accessible roadmap to build a pleasure-filled and meaningful existence by revolutionising your connection to yourself and your relationships.
What They Say: “Wise, warm, and wonderful, like sitting around the fire, listening to stories from a brave adventurer in the inner worlds” – Lorin Roche, PhD, author of The Radiance Sutras
The Untethered Soul
The Untethered SoulMichael A Singer
What We Say: In this forthright and friendly discussion of consciousness and how we can develop it, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are. It’s life changing.
What They Say: “Read this book carefully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity” – Deepak Chopra
The Little Virtues
The Little VirtuesNatalia Ginzburg
What We Say: Written between 1944 and 1960, The Little Virtues is a collection of 11 vivid portraits of life – from recounting the Italian countryside, where she lived in exile under fascist rule, to the streets of 1960s London – exploring solitude and belonging against the backdrop of post-war Europe.
What They Say: “A profound commentary on Italian life” – Tim Parks, London Review Of Books
The Last Girl
The Last GirlNadia Murad
What We Say: Nadia Murad’s searing account of her kidnapping by Islamic State in northern Iraq in 2014, her horrifying time held in captivity as a sex slave and her daring escape into Kurdistan. Murad’s incredible bravery and subsequent fight for the rights of survivors of genocide worldwide is a powerful reminder of one woman’s strength in the face of unbearable cruelty.
What They Say: “Offers powerful insight into the barbarity the Yazidi suffered alongside glimpses into their mystical culture … this is an important book by a brave woman, fresh testament to humankind’s potential for chilling and inexplicable evil” – The Times
Just MercyBryan Stevenson
What We Say: As profiled in series 2, episode 4 of our At Your Service podcast, this New York Times No.1 bestseller chronicles the trajectory of a lawyer’s pursuit for racial justice in America’s prison system. A call to action featuring compelling tales of those he has defended over the years, Just Mercy is as powerful and poignant as one can expect.
What They Say: “This is so important. Stevenson explains how deep-rooted racism is, while giving hope that it doesn’t have to exist” – Gloria Steinem
Just KidsPatti Smith
What We Say: One of our favourite books of all time, Just Kids begins as a love story, recounting Smith’s life and friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe and their pursuit of art, and ends as a beautiful elegy. Just stunning.
What They Say: “The most beautiful, incredible autobiography – it will make you ache for a time and a place that you probably never knew, New York in the 1970s” – Nick Hornby
Born A Crime
Born A CrimeTrevor Noah
What We Say: A chronology of his time growing up under South Africa’s apartheid regime, this recent memoir offering, helmed by At Your Service S2 EP5 guest Trevor Noah, is both a comic and compelling read. Touching on the politics of race and identity, Noah invites you on a captivating, introspective journey of self with a collection of personal stories and anecdotes.
What They Say: “A soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism . . . is an enormous gift” – USA Today
Blue NightsJoan Didion
What We Say: Blue Nights is a poignant memoir about the death of Didion’s only daughter Quintana, aged 39. Interspersed with vibrant snapshots of her own childhood and laced with the tragedy of a mother’s loss, it’s incredibly honest, moving and ultimately life-affirming.
What They Say: “This is a beautiful and devastating book by one of the finest writers we have. Didion has always been a precise, humane and meticulously truthful writer, but on the subject of death she becomes essential” – Zadie Smith
Bad FeministRoxane Gay
What We Say: Reading cultural critic, novelist and professor Roxane Gay is like listening to a trusted and hilarious friend. This collection of essays examines race, gender and feminism and the way media, politics and pop culture shape society’s views.
What They Say: “A strikingly fresh cultural critic” – Ron Charles, Washington Post