Welcome to our September Fashion Reads, this month Mathahle Stofile tells us about five books she’d recommend. Mathahle is a freelance beauty editor, beauty activist and beauty entrepreneur. “I’ve worked for magazines such as Elle and Marie Claire and since started The Matte Project- which is a platform that aims to engage black women on anything to do with our beauty. I aim to normalise our looks through imagery and decode this world of beauty in a way that makes sense for our features. My whole point is to inform and affirm women of colour, because for too long we have been made to believe we are not worth much.”
Mathahle and I chatted about why we read, she says “Reading for me is crucial because it’s my great escape from what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming lifestyle. It’s also a great way to open the mind and learn tolerance, compassion and empathy.”
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
This was the first book I ever read from start to finish all by myself and it definitely introduced me to the fantastic world of reading. For the first time, I realised I could get completely lost in a completely foreign word and yet have it feel very real and familiar to me. This is the book that turned me into a bookworm.
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The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma
I read this book about a year ago and felt myself connecting to the characters in a very intimate way. I’ve never been to Nigeria (it’s set in a small Nigerian town of Akure) but the characters could very well have come from my own village of Alice, where I grew up in the Eastern Cape. This mythical and ominous story of four brothers growing up in the 90’s addresses deep layers faced by plenty of African families trying to navigate many social ills touching on economic, political and religious themes. Chigozie Obioma’s storytelling is masterful.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar – Leslye Walton
I was extremely moved by this magical story of the joys and perils of being human, told through the eyes of a sixteen year old girl with a peculiar disposition – she was born with wings. The story is haunting and had me immediately fall in love with Ava Lavendar and her naïve outlook when it comes to the twisted motives of others. It’s a blissful, delightful and heartbreaking story all at the same time.
Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell
I’m not a fan of conventional wisdom. In fact, I am usually suspicious of it, which is why I love Malcolm Gladwell – he challenges all of it. In this book, he explains why some of us will thrive more than others and why it’s no coincidence that The Beatles became the greatest rock band amongst many other examples and logical explanations behind some of the most successful people. He blows my mind every time.
A Pale View of Hills – by Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro is one of those authors that will leave you in tears because of the delicacy of his writing. This book left me fragile and feeling so deeply for the characters (which, by the way, stayed with me for weeks afterwards). The main character, a Japanese woman named Etsuko, experiences the death of her daughter while living in England and finds her mind drifting to a time long past, and a strange friendship she once formed with a clearly disturbed woman named Sachiko.