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Summer Reads by Natasha Poliszczuk - Books Editor at YOU magazine, @wearandwhere)


Natasha in the blue scalloped short pyjama set

Natasha is wearing the blue scalloped short pyjama set

 The ever so lovely Natasha, who is the Books Editor at YOU magazine and is also a delight to follow on Instagram (@wearandwhere) has shared with me some of her Summer reading recommendations. Now all that is needed is a cup of tea and a pair of good pyjamas!

Natasha...

Going abroad this summer? No? Neither am I. But even If your staycation involves staying put, you are never completely stuck at home with a book. I highly recommend taking a trip with one - or all - if these…. 

Sorrow and Bliss - Meg Mason

Probably the best book you’ll read this year. Martha, the acerbic, straight-talking narrator of this startlingly fine debut is grappling with the aftermath of her marriage to sweet-natured Patrick, who has loved her since he was 13. Martha also suffers an (unnamed) mental illness which has dogged her throughout her life. It is witty, brilliant, engaging - and utterly full of heart and hope.

The Overstory - Richard Powers

A book about trees? Honestly, stay with me. This sweeping, bold, beautifully-written novel thrums with drama, hopes, deftly entangled plotlines and a cast of characters who are connected by trees. It’s a family saga meets environmental plea: a story of truth which teeters close to masterpiece. It’s big and it’s clever and Obama thinks you should read it.

The Island Home - Libby Page

If Pulitzer-prize-winning novels sound like too much heavy-lifting, then settle down with this great warm hug of a book from Libby (The Lido) Page. Lorna has spent her life running away from her past - her parents, her unhappy childhood and the Isle of Kip - the remote Scottish island where she grew up. Compelled to return and face her past, she meets, Alice, who is married to Jack - the brother Lorna was forced to leave behind. As friendship grows between the two women, so too does hope for redemption, love - and the future. Bring tissues but prepare to feel satiated.

The Startup Wife - Tahmima Anam

Asha is the titular startup wife: a computer scientist who re-meets and marries her schoolgirl crush, the aloof, rather godlike Cyrus who is now a humanist spirit guide. Together with their friend Jules, they create a social networking app which will bring meaning to this secular age. Asha codes the ingenious algorithm and they set up at Utopia, a tech incubator which is rather as you imagine Google’s HQ to be. Their app explodes into the next big thing. But plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, a woman invents and a man - the charismatic Cyrus - takes the credit and the glory. A savage, witty, whip-smart story of ambition, love, feminism - and a takedown of sexist tech start-ups.

Small Pleasures - Clare Chambers

If you missed this last year - what were you reading?! Remedy this situation immediately.  There are shades of the great Barbara Pym in this gloriously English novel. Jean Swinney is an overlooked journalist on a local paper, who lives in the suburbs with her querulous mother. As the only female on staff, Jean is sent to interview Gretchen Tilbury, who claims her 10-year-old daughter was the result of a virgin birth - and it is the prompt for a slow awakening as she becomes drawn in by Gretchen and her mild-mannered husband, Howard. A very English novel of stifled, turbulent desire. A near perfect book.


Early Morning Riser - Katherine Heiny

I am riven with envy at how brilliantly Katherine Heiny writes comedy. She makes It appear effortless. Jane is in love with Duncan - but, at one time or another, but there’s not so much as three of them of the relationship, as the entire female population of the town. He’s even friends with his ex-wife. But a tragic accident changes everything Jane thinks she knows about love and relationships. I gobbled this up. It’s an absolute JOY.

 

The Appeal - Janice Hallett

Goodness, this is a clever conceit that rewrites the crime novel as you know it. You’re presented with the legal bundle of evidence - mostly emails - about the sinister - and in the end, murderous, goings-on within a village drama group. You’re invited to deduce whodunnit (I didn’t!). Be warned: it’s witty, fiendishly clever and completely addictive.

 

Mr Wilder and Me - Jonathan Coe

It’s 1977 and on a sun-soaked Greek island (ah, to be on one of those), wide-eyed Calista finds herself working for the legendary director, Billy Wilder. As she is drawn into his world, we’re swept along to Greece, Hollywood and then to London. An elegant elegy on cinema, memory, love  and coming of age versus the declining years. Coe has such lightness of touch - and this is shot through with real tenderness and nostalgia.

Natasha in blue scalloped short pyjama set

Natasha is wearing the blue scalloped short pyjama set

 


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