It seems that there is no better time than a forced isolation to crack open those books on the shelf you haven't read yet or order in some new ones you've been dying to read. We're delving into our Editor's, Fashion Editor's and City Slicker's bookshelves this month for some downtime inspiration.
I've been smashing through my reading list this year, although every time I seem to finish a book I add about 10 more to my 'must read' list. Even this morning my housemate's girlfriend found another book delivery at our front door. Here's three books that I've been dying to read for a while.
Hot Milk by Debora Levy
I was at a house party at the start of the year (well before lockdown don't worry) and hanging out in the bedroom of the birthday girl who was this gorgeous model looking woman. Drawn to her similarly colour coded book collection I asked what her favourite book was and she replied without hesitation 'Hot Milk' by Debora Levy. Immediately I noted it in my running book list on my phone and finally got around to reading it this last week. While I wouldn't say it is my favourite book, it is a beautiful story of a moment along the path to finding oneself. Levy writes about a relationship between a daughter, her mother, her father, her lust and most importantly herself. It's a book of self discovery that follows a similar structure to how my own brain can work sometimes - thinking about something deeply then mid internal monologue remembering something else and switching course completely.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This book has been on every best seller list for at least a year. Another one that I noted down in my phone list after reading a write up about it on a flight somewhere (ahhh back when we could fly...). Evaristo follows 12 characters over several decades in a love note to black Britain. Go read and find out what all the hype is about and while you're at it she has another 7 books you can sink your teeth into.
Year Of The Monkey by Patti Smith
While I've never fully fallen in love with Patti Smith's music (yep I admit that), I loved her books Just Kids and M Train. Her writing is raw and human and I can get lost in the story instantly. It was therefore only a matter of time before I got a copy of her latest piece of work Year Of The Monkey. I'm yet to finish it but it is a tapestry of notes, thoughts and moments through 2016 in memoir.
Fashion Editor, London
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
During the past couple of weeks, in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have been trying my best to listen and learn. Educating yourself on the matter is a great first step to support the movement and fight for racial justice. I have found several great movies, documentaries, artists, and book recommendations online from various influencers and websites. One book that has been heavily and regularly recommended is Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by British writer Reni Eddo-Lodge. It is sold out in a lot of places, but luckily my friend had a copy that she leant me.
*Reni Eddo-Lodge has since become the first black author ever in the UK to top the book charts.
Expectation by Anna Hope
My neighbour and I during lockdown have been engaging in a book swap to help pass the time where Expectation is one of the many books that has been exchanged. Often compared to Sally Rooney’s novels, this is a great tale of female friendships. The book explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation. For me, the books greatest theme is the ever-present issue of comparison culture among women and is a good reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side. The story is also set close to my home in London Fields, and the women involved are a similar age to myself which makes it even more interesting.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Another book that is perfect for fans of Sally Rooney is Exciting Times. Unsurprisingly a couple of people have suggested I read this book about an expat English teacher in Hong Kong who falls in love with a banker (literally what happened to me). According to the bio, Exciting Times is politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny. The novel is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. I am really excited to read this, although it may break my heart a little to read about Hong Kong – I have been missing it terribly recently.
Filmmaker, City Slicker, Gold Coast
Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens
A great story of survival, loss and loneliness. This story had definitely been hyped up before I read it, but I can say it lives up to it!
The great alone by Kristin Hannah
I’m reading this one at the moment. I’ve still got about a 100 pages to go so I can say anything about the ending of the book but it has been a brilliant read so far! A very captivating and emotional read right from the beginning about a family and the struggles of life after moving to Alaska.
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
You will either love or hate this book but I can recommend reading it to find out.
A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot
A beautiful and frustrating love story about the search of a young woman’s fiancé. Set in France after the war it's a mixture of stories about love, war and searching for truth. Very engaging and well written!
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A short, sweet and humorous book made up of letters between a writer and a book-dealer. A lovely easy read about book lovers and long distance friends.
If you want to suggest books for our book club or write a critique yourself, get in touch and submit through our contact page. We'd love to hear from you!