Summer Reading with Team Yu Mei

Words by Yu Mei

Tom Tote in Natural Canvas—the ultimate summer holdall

Long days scorching yourself on the beach call for a reading list. As you turn the last few pages of your stocking stuffer penguin original—the Yu Mei team are here with their reading selection of the season.

The White Album by Joan Didion

"This one was recommended to me by Ch’lita after she heard me on Bookmarks with Jesse Mulligan earlier this year and told me to get some new novels. It’s a book of essays, and supposedly Didion’s best work—not dissimilar to Slouching Toward Bethlehem. The essays focus on history and politics in California in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, and the first essay, titled “We tell ourselves stories in order to live” became one of the writers most iconic lines" — Jessie

Gone Bush by Paul Kilgour

"I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a while. I love the outdoors and discovering all of the incredible parts of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Much like myself, Paul Kilgour was bitten by the tramping bug early. He began going on epic trips as a young boy, beyond the farm and along the coast. Gone Bush is about a lifetime of walking the backcountry. It tells stories of the eccentric characters he met along the way, some of the 1200 huts he's visited, and his most unforgettable journeys, including his 'long walk home' from deepest Fiordland to the top of Golden Bay. I took five months out of life to walk the Te Araroa trail, and I look forward to ticking off all of New Zealand's Great Walks in years to come" — Keriana

The Story of Art Without Men

"After studying art history, and visiting the Hilma af Klint exhibition at the City Gallery last year with the Yu Mei team, I became fascinated with the history of Women in the Arts. I heard about this book on the author Katy Hessel’s podcast (she also has an instagram page with stories about @TheGreatWomenArtists). It’s the hidden story of art as it’s never been told before, from the Renaissance to the present day, with more than 300 works of art. The stories overturn your sense of history and opens your eyes to how many art forms by women were often dismissed or ignored" — Grace

Anything by Paulo Coelho

"I first discovered Paulo's reading through the Alchemist, which is about a shepherd boy who yearns to search of a worldly treasure. The author was born in Rio de Janeiro, and at 17 was committed to a mental institution which he escaped from three times before he was 20. I love the relatability of being able to put yourself into the shoes of any of his characters adventures. I’m on the lookout for another title by him for this summer" — Javier

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

"I read this book a few years ago and keep coming back to it. It’s about psychology, but also inspiring stories about anyone who has had brain trauma and how they have healed themselves. I find the fact that the brain is non plastic and you can change it if you try fascinating. Your brain is so untapped and the potential is huge" — Kaye

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