I greatly enjoyed being able to choose any book I wanted in the Oxfam Bookshop to sit on my Curated Shelf. It was better than being a child let loose in a sweet shop. Rarely, do I allow myself just to pick what I want. Normally my book selections are constrained by concerns about money and whether I will have time to actually read whatever title I’m considering.
For The Curated Shelf, I could just pick what I fancied and there was a luxurious freedom in that. My shelf turned out to be biographical. I chose books I had enjoyed as a child and enjoy reading with my own little boy, novels where I had interviewed the author through my work as a journalist, sheet music because I love singing and playing the piano, a book on language to reflect my enduring interest as a philosopher and writer.
In picking whatever I wanted, I found a story of my life displayed through the spines on books. That felt pleasurable and somehow important to me. I’m interested in seeing what shelves other writers have curated. However they have made their choices, they will be telling a story, one that I very much look forward to reading.
About Jo Ind
Jo Ind is a writer for print and digital media based in Birmingham, UK. She has a degree in philosophy and English from York University. She is passionate about words – the sound, rhythm, sight, texture and meaning of them. Jo has spent more than 20 years in the industry writing for national and regional publications. She writes books on the themes of spirituality and the body, particularly sexuality, eating disorders and ageing. Her book Memories of Bliss (2003) asks “What is sexuality? ” “What’s going on when we get turned on?” and “How can we live our sexualities well?” Her first book, Fat is a Spiritual Issue (1993) looks at the relationship between spirituality and eating disorders.
I don’t have time to read fiction for fun anymore, but when I was a journalist I had to read fiction when I interviewed these brilliant authors. What joy!
- Jonathon Coe. Rain Before it Falls.
- Jim Crace. Continent.
- Ian McEwan. Black Dogs
- Michele Roberts. Fair Exchange.
- Vikram Seth. An Equal Music.
- Joanna Trollope. Spanish Lover.
- Jeanette Winterson. Written on the Body.
[ Some of our customers enjoyed keeping the tent cards. Jo’s picks below fell victim to this: ]
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- Back to Black (song/piano) Amy Winehouse
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- New Labour, New Language? by Norman Fairclough
Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism by Bell Hooks
When I studied feminism in my early 20s, I didn’t pay enough attention to black women’s experience. I would like to make up for this now.
Best Loved Poems edited by Neil Philip
I make my way through life with poetry. This collection is beautifully produced, which adds to the joy.
The Celts: Life, Myth and Art by Juliette Wood
I long to reclaim the spirit of the natural world that the Celts celebrated. I hop this beautifully produced book could help.
Children’s History of Birmingham by Mandy Ross
I love Birmingham, children and Mandy Ross.
Creating Uncommon Worship: Transforming the Liturgy of the Eucharist by Richard Giles
I don’t know if this book is any good, but I would like to find out. I’m interested in how we are changed through ritual.
The English Language by David Crystal
I’m interested in how language works. I would be fascinated to see how it could shape a political movement.
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
This is inscribed “I found this book in the children’s selection.” I share the observation. Every adult needs this story.
Live/Work: Working at Home, Living at Work by Deborah Dietsch
I won’t read this, just look at the pictures and fantasise…
Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood by Anne Enright
How anyone has the time or energy to write about early motherhood I don’t know. I haven’t read this but would like to.
Man With a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud
I would love to know what it was like to sit for Lucian Freud.
My Life in My Hands by Alison Lapper
I first noticed Alison Lapper when the statue of her, pregnant, was causing controversy in Trafalgar Square. I used that story to teach journalism in schools and was moved […] reactions. I want to read this.
Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain’s Failing Prisons by Vicky Price
I am chair of a charity, Bringing Hope, that works with men in prison. I am interested in a view from an economist.
The Road Taken by Michael Buerk
As a journalist, I like reading about others in the industry.