The last time I wrote about my favourite books, it was that day in May when it was forty degrees, and I was temping, in a pencil skirt, trying not to melt onto the floor of the world’s most boring insurance company. I was daydreaming of sandy beaches, sun loungers and all the time in the world to recline, just me, a nice paperback and all the ice cream bloating.
In reality I didn’t actually have time to read once my summer started because I was too busy trying not to get skin cancer and working out how to afford to eat. Now though, I’m in month six of real life (also known as full time work) and I have a lot of time on my hands because my trains are always delayed. So far this year I’ve had slippery leaves, a suicidal pigeon, and an unnaturally large passenger as excuses read over the tannoy, which, whilst making me furious to the point of an embolism, have also given me treasured close contact time with a good story.
So, I got a Kindle for Christmas from Eduardo, which I am interpreting as a pretty blatant sign of how fed up he was of me complaining my shoulders hurt after lugging Vanity Fair round central London every day. Either way, having clung to paperbacks for years like an old romantic, I can’t believe what a party I’ve been missing out on. Kindle has revolutionised my reading experience. I read more than ever, I’ve stopped having to beg for neck and shoulder massages from the person sitting behind me on the bus, and get to save my book shelf for the ultimate favourites and charity shop gems.
Every time I sense spring might be approaching, sunlight trying desperately hard to penetrate the gaps in the clouds, like someone hopefully peering through a crumpet, providing enough light for me to briefly consider shaving my legs, I walk outside and discover we’re still knee-deep in winter. And despite momentarily seeing both my breath and my disappointment in front of my eyes at the thought of perhaps never regaining proper circulation in my hands again, there’s a secret warmth in my heart that we still have a few more weeks left to spend quality time with ourselves. Not masturbating, guys, before you go there. Or shaving. I’m talking about nestling down on a corner sofa, in duvet hibernation, with a hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other.
And so we come to the books that have carried me through my winter daydreams. I’m throwing in a mix of fiction and non-fiction because it turns out I get my kicks from real life superheroes too.
My new Bible…Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
This book is the gospel truth for every twenty-something girl who’s ever had bad sex, doubted themselves, worried about cancer, embarked on a strange diet, been friend-zoned or just let your own head get in the way of success. I will read it over and over again and talk about it all the time until I become friends with Lena and have to disguise my inner fangirl.
One to warm you up…Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
This one made me fall in love with reading all over again. Love, Nina is a collection of beautifully written and hilarious anecdotes documented by Nina in letters to her sister, while she was working as a nanny in 80s London. I loved it mostly because Nina lived opposite Alan Bennett, and her unique retelling of familial interactions and observations will split your sides. It’s also being made into a television series so get reading and say you heard it here first.
While her name is everywhere…Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Emma’s getting deservedly famous now Room’s a film and winning yonks of awards but Frog Music is incredibly different in style and tone. Set in San Francisco, Frog Music is a murder mystery come love story based on a true events and I couldn’t get enough. It’s a slow burning thriller but the most successful part of the book for me is the picture Emma paints of a city that can’t breathe for heat, sickness, death, crime and sex. If you want to fall into a different world for a little while this is pretty marvellous.
Because I’m in love with her…Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler.
I’m so into America’s funny women sometimes I wake up crying that they’re not my friends. (Only half-joking). I’m experiencing a pretty intense girl crush on Amy at the moment. I blame the fact she played one of the most loveable characters ever to grace our television screens in Parks and Rec, founded the SmartGirls initiative that makes me sad not to be a young girl anymore, and that she writes like a total dream. If you love Amy, you’ll love Yes, Please, and if you’re unfamiliar, it’ll make you want to jump on the bandwagon immediately because the Poehler movement is pretty infectious.
I got hooked on…The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
I’ve been waiting for a book that makes me consider taking a sick day to finish it and this is the one. I’ve tweeted a little incessantly about it and for all the good reasons. The story follows the journey of film-maker Sophie Stark, told only from the perspective of the people who knew, loved or worked with her, which turns out to be an uncanny and beautiful way of portraying an artist built out of the impact she made on other people’s lives. It’s what I like to call hashtag meta…Sophie Stark has instantly jumped to one of my favourite books of all time. Go read so we can talk about it.
What I’m reading right now…The First Bad Man by Miranda July
I’m saying nada because I’m about three and a half pages in but it’s pretty unique already and it’s come highly recommended so that’s enough for me for now. Watch this space.
Next on the list for me… A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon. So all in all – girl power much!? Any recommendations swing ’em my way please.
HAPPY READING. KEEP WARM. Love xxxxxx