Curated for the Club: Recommended Reading with Fran Burns and Lucy Kumara Moore

Words by Yu Mei
Photos by Yu Mei

Fashion stylist and consultant, Fran Burns and artist and writer, Lucy Kumara Moore.

Artist and writer, Lucy Kumara Moore, and fashion stylist and consultant, Fran Burns, are permanent fixtures of the London creative vanguard. Their shared love for reading and the inquiry into wider perspectives have led them to the inception of their book club, Reading Women, hosted at the iconic London photography and fashion bookshop, Claire de Rouen, which Lucy helmed for 12 years. Read on for Fran and Lucy’s shortlist of Recommended Reading.

“The idea for Reading Women was Fran’s—she suggested it to me about a year ago as something we could do together at Claire de Rouen, the photography and fashion bookshop I’ve helmed since 2012. Fran and I live close by, and we often meet up for a wander through our neighbourhood. Usually, our conversation turns to our experience as women—and to women more broadly— the inspirational forces behind our creativity, wellbeing and empowerment, as well as the challenges these face.

I think Reading Women is born out of our ambition to expand outwards those conversations—to hear other perspectives and share our own. I also have a desire to read more—it just feels so important now, at a time when depth is absent from social media.

Something very special happens when reading—it’s solitary, but at the same time, there are all of these relationships present—the one with yourself, the one with the writer, and the one with all those who have read the book—it is a creative and communal act that can bridge place and time.

At the end of last year, we finally sent out invites to friends and the wider Claire de Rouen community to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo with us. The conversation we ended up having around this non-fiction work was so beautiful—ranging across our personal, emotional, intellectual, political, and instinctive responses.”— Lucy Kumara Moore

Lucy’s recommendations for reading

Dream Work by Mary Oliver

I only came across Oliver’s poetry recently, and I chose to buy this collection first, partly because of the beautiful cover and partly because of the title—dreams are something I pay attention to. The poems in Dream Work talk about the natural world, about being alive, and about our deepest emotional and psychic lives. They are soothing and tough at the same time.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider is a collection of Lorde’s prose work, and my copy was given to me by my friend Maureen Paley, the legendary London gallerist. I think this quote from Lorde’s piece ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’ is exactly why Reading Women matters to me: “For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is discovered.”

Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

A collection of interviews and personal reflections written by British journalist Natasha Lunn, this book was recommended to me by my therapist. It explores all kinds of love—romantic and familial as well as the love between friends—and contains so much wisdom and insight. I especially love the passages with Lisa Taddeo and Ariel Levy. There’s also a ‘Further Reading’ section at the back of Conversations on Love—that’s something that we’re also doing with Reading Women—after each session, we email the group a list of books related to the one we’ve just read.

Fran’s recommendations for reading

The Karma of Success by Liz Tran

I have been an avid listener of Liz’s podcast, Reset, for the past couple of years, and in 2023 she released her first book. I am a big fan of personal development reading, but what I love about Liz’s work is that her insights are practical and actionable, weaving her own story throughout.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This is a great holiday read—it’s modern and clever and exciting and sad and wonderful.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I have just started reading this for the third time and I love it so much. I love coming back to a book because there is always a new insight and the comfort of familiarity. This is a wonderful, immersive book. For anyone who hasn’t read it, it’s a treat, and for anyone who has... read it again!

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