Veganuary Team Top Picks: Worthwhile Reads

This month, the Veganuary Team tell us which books, both fiction and non-fiction, inspired them to live life a little kinder…

‘Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give A Sh!t’ by Fat Gay Vegan 

Sean O’Callaghan’s convivial and inclusive tome is a must read for anyone interested in veganism. Mixing autobiography and mission statement, Fat Gay Vegan provides anecdotes and resources to help encourage people on their plant-based journey.

Along the way, O’Callaghan dispenses a number of myths (you CAN eat junk food as a vegan), and manages to challenge his readers to review their ethical choices without descending into finger-wagging or pious judgement.

Perhaps most impressive, however, is the manner in which O’Callaghan highlights how the vegan movement relates and intersects with race, class, capital and environmental justice too.

Highly recommended!

Kieron Casey, Campaigns Analyst

‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers

My book recommendation this month is The Overstory, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

Nine people with vastly different backgrounds fight to save the threatened trees and forests of North America. I loved how this book gave an insight into a broad range of issues -environmental science, politics, activism & technology – while still being a pacey, exciting story full of romance and beautiful imagery. I was moved by its depiction of the relationships between humans and trees, the way trees communicate with us and each other, and the valuable secrets our forests hold. If you love our natural world and fight to save it, this is a must-read!

A must-read for anyone interested in ecology or environmental activism.

Stuart Giddens, Development Officer

‘The End of Animal Farming: How Scientists, Entrepreneurs, and Activist Are Building An Animal-Free Food’ by Jacy Reese

This book gives a fantastic up to date overview of the movement and explains the possible scenarios of how the animal free food future might become real. Extremely useful for everyone vegan, currently in the animal rights movement and everyone who likes new tech, history and psychology.

I myself found it very inspiring and empowering, as well as finding a lot of ideas for my job and for the conversation I have with non-vegans. Reading this gave me hope that together we can build an animal-free future which is much more sustainable for our Planet.

Sofia Balderson, International Partnerships Co-ordinator

‘Under the Skin’ by Michel Faber

Under the Skin is a fiction novel by Michel Faber set in northern Scotland. It focuses on a female alien who, while in human form, drives around picking up male hitchhikers who she drugs to take back to the ‘farm’ where she works.

The ‘farm’ is a factory farm as we know it, BUT with humans instead of animals, who are fattened up and then slaughtered for their meat to be shipped off to another planet as an expensive delicacy.

As well as themes of factory farming and animal experimentation, there are also themes of environmental decay, class politics, sexism, capitalism, and racism explored throughout the book.

Not a read for the faint-hearted, but highly recommended!

Helen Marvell, Corporate Marketing Assistant

‘Beyond Beliefs’ by Dr Melanie Joy

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Joy at an event in Italy we were both speaking at. When she presented, she talked about the story behind her book and why she felt compelled to write it. We actually went out for dinner afterwards and it was a real treat to discuss the emotional issues that vegans experience on their journey – something that isn’t too well documented.

Beyond Beliefs explores how vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters can better communicate with each other, ultimately leading to more positive relationships, where everyone is respected and heard. Ever felt so frustrated that you can’t express how you feel properly when someone you love questions your choices? Yes, we’ve all been there. And instead of letting anger and emotions take over, Dr Joy provides the tools we can use to equip ourselves in order to have effective communication.

For those of us who enjoy a spot of psychology, this book is filled with explanations about why we might be having struggles as we navigate our way through a non-vegan world. From the concept of secondary traumatic stress, to how to promote successful conversations, to how to properly understand someone else’s point of you, and help others understand yours – I think this is essential reading for both new and seasoned vegans.

Rachida Brocklehurst, Digital Content Manager

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