Born in Brighton in 1975, British journalist, author, and broadcaster Caitlin Moran is celebrated for her irreverent, confessional takes on modern womanhood. She wrote her first children’s novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of 15 and has been working as an interviewer, TV critic and columnist for The Times since 18 – first gaining popularity for penning the satirical celebrity column ‘Celebrity Watch.’ For her prolific work in British media, she’s been awarded Columnist of the Year six times, and was named one of the nation’s most influential women by the BBC.

As an author, her bestselling memoir How to Be a Woman won the British Book Awards’ Book of the Year in 2011, and has gone on to be published in 28 countries. Her two collections of journalism, Moranthology, and Moranifesto, were Sunday Times bestsellers, and her novel, How to Build a Girl, debuted at #1, before being adapted into a 2019 coming-of-age comedy starring Beanie Feldstein. Its sequel, How To Be Famous, was also an instant bestseller, and her latest book, More Than a Woman, came out in 2020.

In a reading list for NY-based bookstore One Grand, Moran shared ten books that have most inspired her life and work. From Margaret Mitchell’s tale of unrequited teen love to an eclectic history of English food, explore her favorites below.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (also rec’d by Robert Smith, Tilda Swinton & Trevor Noah)

“We were too poor for holidays, so I holidayed in Narnia in my head, instead. Aslan was the sexy pivotal lion in my life, plus it’s made all wardrobes unexpectedly and lingeringly exciting.” -CM

Twopence To Cross The Mersey by Helen Forrester

“Forrester was the oldest of 8 children, in Depression-Era Liverpool. No school, no medicine, no hope – her life was exactly as mine would have been, had I not had the incredibly good fortune to be born after the introduction of the NHS and the Welfare State. I read it as a direct letter from her to me. It politicised me instantly.” -CM

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (also rec’d by Hozier, Jim MorrisonLeonard CohenRATM & Susan Sontag)

“Amazingly, Joyce basically tells you how to be a writer here, in one of the most dazzling, lucid, visceral memoirs. The passage where he describes standing in the mouth of a shallow, pebbly river, at sunset, having a revelation about the rest of his life, is scientifically provable to get you as high as a quarter of an MDMA tablet.” -CM

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

“One of the funniest books ever written. Read it as a teenager, and think Adrian is the hero. Read it again as an adult, and marvel at his mother. There are more laughs in this book than any other ever written.” -CM

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (also rec’d by Elon Musk & Richard Branson)

“I would have done it with every character in HHGTTG in turn. Even Marvin, the Paranoid Android. Nerdy, liberal, wry, sci-fi and dazzlingly inventive, before that was the fashionable thing to be. Forget the film. Adore the book that invented the iPhone (The Guide) and Google Translate (the Babel fish)” -CM

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (also rec’d by Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane GoodallRose McGowanSuzanne Vega & Ursula K. Le Guin)

Food in England by Dorothy Hartley

“A history of British food that has the same, odd, dreamy, lysergic air as Through The Looking Glass. Takes you through an England of roast swans, possets, syllabubs, gold-leaf jellies, boiled elvers, and elderflower fritters.” -CM

The Dictionary

“It’s kinda old hat now, I guess, to have a paper dictionary, but I loved our dictionary so much-flicking through a book WITH ALL THE WORDS IN was like having a book with a million Christmases in. I kept a list of my most precious words on my wall, like trophies, or pressed flowers, or phone-numbers of hot boys: “Jaguary, mimosa, cathedral, lilac, shagreen, ardent, isosceles, attar of roses, uxurious, leopardskin, jubilee, zoo.” Every dictionary contains every word, and therefore every book-just not yet in the right order. Just like every person has a book inside them, too-just not yet in the right order. We are all dictionaries.” -CM

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (also rec’d by Lena Dunham)

“Once you put aside the matter of OH MY GOD THE SLAVERY JESUS LOOK AT ALL THE FREAKING SLAVERY STOP WITH THE SLAVERY, MAN, the core concept of this book is amazing. It the most famous teen literature ever – Scarlett is 16 when the Civil War kicks off, and what keeps her going through the complete destruction of her family, status and life is her unrequited love for Ashley Wilkes. The idea of that kind of demented fantasy – let’s face it, Ashley’s a drip – keeping you going through awful years is such a key Teenage Girl Thing. The fuel is mad unrequited love, keeping you going. It inspired both the ‘Fantasy Love Affairs’ chapter in How To Be A Woman, and most of the plot of How To Build A Girl, hahaha.” -CM

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (also rec’d by Hayao MiyazakiJohn Lennon, Maurice Sendak, Patti Smith & Rose McGowan)

“I’m sure, if you scan people’s brains, you can see the bit that lights up if you’ve read Alice In Wonderland. It is actually a cruelty for a human being not to be able to float down the river and meet the knitting sheep in the bulrushes.” -CM
Categories: Journalists Writers

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