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Once that OOO is on and you’ve officially checked-out, to-do lists filled with emails and brainstorm sessions are replaced by must-read titles.
We asked members of the SUITCASE team what they’ll be slinging in their totes.
You’re probably going to want to bookmark this.
India Dowley, Digital Editor-in-Chief
Book: Pour Me by A. A. Gill Why it’s a must-read: It’s probably not surprising that A. A. Gill is one of my heroes. I devoured his newspaper columns when he was alive and can’t get enough of his anthologies of travel writing, often reading them when on the road myself – I don’t think anyone describes things quite like he does. I’ve been meaning to read this exquisitely painful and laceratingly witty memoir for a while – memoir being the operative word, as it’s a tale of alcoholism in which many memories have been lost in the abyss of addiction. Beginning in a rehabilitation dormitory with six strangers dying in a last-chance saloon, Gill paints vividly perceptive pictures of the people, places and things he experienced en route – via some hell-raising parties – to recovery in an effervescent portrayal of human strength and fragility.
Sarah Bentley, Head of Digital
Book: Middlemarch by George Eliot Why it’s a must-read: I have read most of George Eliot’s novels and, while I’d classify them all as essentials, Middlemarch is her most acclaimed title. True to form, her down-to-earth observations, sharp wit and intelligent scrutiny award the reader with memories worth more than any summer fling. What makes this novel an important read today is the dominant theme of the role of women and the hopelessness they can suffer through societal norms. Where Eliot discusses women in marriage we may consider pay inequality, the glass ceiling and parenthood as a reflection of those continued hardships.
Gilly Hopper, Deputy Digital Editor
Book: Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery Why it’s a must-read: Irish native Nicole Flattery is pegged as “the next Sally Rooney” and her debut collection of eight short stories, Show Them a Good Time, lives up to the hype. Ranging in subject matter from online dating to Ireland’s abortion referendum, Flattery’s writing explores typified groups (hapless university students and romantically fatigued school teachers included), injecting each characterisation with wit and pathos. I defy you not to feel connected to and impacted by this collection.
Linda Blank, COO
Book: On Beauty by Zadie Smith Why it’s a must-read: I love reading books set in the destinations I’m visiting and, with an upcoming trip to NYC, I’ve been saving this to get in the mood for crossing the Atlantic. Having only discovered Zadie Smith just a few years ago, I’m slowly making my way through her work – I’m absolutely obsessed with her writing style. A Man Booker prize nominee, she has authored a novel with a beautifully constructed plot about the lives of a mixed-race family living between the UK and US. Examining the clash between liberal and conservative values, it feels even more relevant in today’s world than ever before.
Rae Boocock, Sub Editor
Book: The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane Why it’s a must-read: Ahead of walking Wainwright’s 192-mile Coast to Coast later this year, I’m dedicating my summertime reading to tales of journeys taken by foot. I’ll be stepping (literally) into Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, Of Walking In Ice by Werner Herzog and Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain. I’m looking forward to (re)reading, Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways most of all; it opened my mind to the imaginative power of ancient pathways that thread across Britain’s landscape, and made me reconsider walking as not just a physical act, but an inward journey too. In terms of newly published titles, I’ll be devouring the Science of Storytelling by Will Storr – fingers crossed it will help me cobble together a decent article about my adventure.
Olivia Morelli, Editorial Assistant
Book: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara Why it’s a must-read: I’ve spent the last few weeks reading (and weeping) over Hanya Yanigihara’s absolutely brilliant book, A Little Life. Yanigihara intricately weaves together the lives of Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm, while delicately dealing with a whole host of difficult topics including disability, mental health, grief, sexuality, love and growth. While 700+ pages may seem daunting, I can assure you that the heart-wrenching plot, surprising twists and beautiful story will have you immersed in the lives of these four protagonists. My next summer read will hopefully involve less tears and, after scouring SUITCASE’s list of brilliant books to read this summer, I’m looking forward to starting Diana Evans’ Ordinary People.
Olivia Squire, Print Editor-in-Chief
Book: To the River by Olivia Laing Why it’s a must-read: Started on the tarmacky heat of my London rooftop, Olivia Laing’s poetic charting of the River Ouse from “oozing” source to sea is the literary equivalent of a cider in a country pub, transporting me from the heart of the city to the haven of the English countryside in full burst. I loved Laing’s psychological mapping of New York in her essay collection The Lonely City and devoured her debut novel Crudo, so it’s a pleasure to be submerged in her tales of rivers both real and imagined. I’ve unintentionally been collecting books by female authors all year, so will also be using the summer months to finally delve into Madeline Miller’s Circe, Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion, Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Spring, the third in the gloriously surreal series by Ali Smith.
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