A week or so ago, I picked up a few books in the Oxfam charity shop in the Ferry. A hopeless romantic I can't return a book to the shelf once it's picked me, hence I ended up with a stack of them! My favourite (and doubtlessly the most beautiful of the bunch) is this stunning edition.
This gorgeous Fourth Estate edition of BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS THE IMPOSSIBLE ART OF BEING FEMALE by Tania Kindersley & Sarah Vine retails at £14.99 however I snagged this copy for just £2.99.
It's a beautiful volume: printed on crisp matt white paper of a satisfying weight (don't tell me how many trees I've been complicit in the murder of); sports GillSans typeface (pleasingly unfussy and quintessentially British); and there are wonderfully quaint illustrations by Marta Munoz, laced throughout. This is a positively dangerous combination: this is book porn. Catnip. [If you, like me, cannot control yourself in the presence of a beautiful book visit this site.]
Here's the (abbreviated) blurb: 'As someone once said, Ginger Rodgers did everything that Fred Astaire did- only she did it backwards and in high heels.
Sixty years on and not all that much has changed. There's been a lot of talk, plenty of shouting and a frankly exhausting number of wardrobe changes, but the world remains a fraught place for the contemporary female.
Backwards in High Heels is a book for every woman struggling to make sense of the contradictory demands of the 21st century. It roves across everything from feminism to face cream, motherhood to money, politics to pulchritude. It is profound, frivolous, questioning, prone to the odd massive generalisation, hopeful, sympathetic, suddenly philosophical, and occasionally mad as hell: very much like women themselves.'
If you need a fail-safe yet indulgent recipe, you want to know how to carry on a conversation, you need reminding that Aristotle could in fact be a bit of a prick- then you're in the right place. The authors describe this book as the 'literary equivalent of the conversations that women have every day of the week.'
So if your preferred confidante is on holiday, as Mish will be in a matter of days, and you need a good blether, not just a gossip (the conversational equivalent of a sugar-high), then sit back and bask in the glow of intelligent sisterhood.
On the subject of sisterhood...
I met Mish when I was eleven and she was twelve. We were in our first year of senior school and both a little lost. I could take a great many words to try to convey the depth of my feelings for her but I'd rather say that I love her. I've ended our phone calls or letters with the words 'love you' for years and I've meant it. It seems I'm not alone: '[w]e would like to come out of the closet and declare that a true friendship with another woman is possibly the greatest love of all... So when you form a till death do us part friendship, don't just call it 'like'. Don't take it as read and think that all relationships go in this profound and seamless way. Treasure it, and celebrate it, and call it by its name, which is Love.'
See, that's what I'm talking about.
To me the book served as a reminder to practice empowerment, yet it was comforting and centring. Backwards in High Heels comes highly recommended.
-Check out Tania Kindersley's blog 'Backwards in High Heels' which started as an extension of the book.
-Amazon link to this edition.
-You can find different editions on amazon starting at £6.99 for a new copy!
no copyright infringement intended