2/03/2019

Women + Their Books: Looking Back



Hello and welcome back to (almost) a new year of Women+Their Books. Before we dive in to a fresh new bunch of interviews and recommendations this year, I thought I'd invite some of my past interviewees back to share some books they've loved from 2018 and over the holiday season. Just to mix things up a notch, I've roped in some of my friends as well. So read on, find some new recommendations and enjoy! 

Amy: / I loved The Call of the Weird x Louis Theroux. I've always been obsessed with his out-there documentaries of fascinating subgroups and reading him follow up his biggest stories was a real pleasure.  / I re-read Plain Truth x Jodi Picoult along with two new books: Every Breath x Nicholas Sparks (not my favourite of his to be honest) and Bringing Up Bebe x Pamela Druckerman-which I found fascinating because I'm a complete francophile. 

Daisy: / I read so many books I adored in 2018, and it's really difficult to single one out. I'd have to give a special mention to my best friend, Lauren Bravo and her brilliant book What Would The Spice Girls Do? I am a profoundly proud pal and I can't wait for her to write the next one. It's a thorough, tender and meaningful book about a subject that is often overlooked. Pop culture for young women and how young women draw strength from it and learn to celebrate themselves. It's a book about the power of loving something bigger than yourself, and it's an enormously uplifting book to read during a dark time globally. / Over Christmas I read Ayisha Malik's This Green and Present Land, coming in June. I think it's brilliant-it's a book about humanity at its best and worst, the power of standing together and the way that hate is often rooted in fear. It's also funny, and has characters you really fall in love with. There is an unexpected friendship that blooms gorgeously, I felt very invested. Also Lucy Vine's utterly wonderful Are We Nearly There Yet. Lucy writes heavenly anti rom coms for smart readers, they should come with a free oxygen mask because I laughed so hard I think I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. This is her best yet.

Emma: / Normal People x Sally Rooney. I read this over a long weekend and I was in absolute bliss as I got absorbed in the story. Sally Rooney's writing is unique to anything I've read before and there's something about it that just hooks me in. This was more than a love story, it explored a special connection between two people and depicted the reality of romantic relationships. I rather liked the gloomy aspects of this book, too. For me it's a book everyone should try reading. / I read Not Quite Perfect x Annie Lyons which was an amusing contemporary and something very light to see me through the sunny days. I also read The Keeper of Lost Things x Ruth Hogan which was a cosy and charming read, which again was nice and light, nothing too trivial!

Eve: Normal People x Sally Rooney was by far my favourite book of last year. Highly recommend reading this poignant snapshot of life and love as a young person in the modern world.

Leigh: Amish Confidential x "Lebanon" Levi Stoltzfus. People are always interested or frustrated in things they don't understand. A few years ago I watched the Discovery show 'Amish Mafia' with relish as it was a documentary reality series about a culture I didn't understand. Following the series is this book written by Stoltzfus who shares his frank insiders view of the intriguing and secretive society. The chapters draw you in to a life of family, shunning, sadness to the most high profile news that rocked the world, that of the Nickel mines shooting, kidnapping and drug+gang related affairs. When you look beyond the buggies, beards, bonnets, lack of power or photography, you will discover a community that are remarkable for their random acts of kindness and a level of forgiveness. 

Sandrine: / Other than Everything I Know About Love (the obvious choice haha) I was happy to discover Curtis Sittenfeld's writing in 2018. Her novel, Prep and her collection of short stories, You Think It, I'll Say It were brilliant and I simply couldn't put them down. I found her way to address social class and gender roles very refreshing. / I love reading over the Christmas break while cosying up in a blanket and looking at the snow outside. I read an advance copy of Sonya Lalli's The Macthmaker's List, finished reading Tina Brown's masterpiece The Vanity Fair Diaries, read Laura Weir's Cosy: The British Art of Comfort in one sitting and attempted to read Austen's Persuasion. I also read Prep, mentioned above. 

Vita: / How To Write An Autobiographical Novel x Alexander Chee was a real standout for me in 2018. I found the things Chee had to say about his life were incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure. / Over my break I read Conversations With Friends x Sally Rooney and Bluets x Maggie Nelson. Very different books but I'd recommend them both. Rooney is a wonderful writer but I'm not sure I can say I loved Conversations as much as some. Bluets I read in a day, lying in the sun and I loved it. It's one of those little books that you can return to at different moments and gain something new from, which I love.

-I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you to all my past contributors and friends for coming back to take part in this lil' Q&A fest-and of course for sharing your reading recommendations! Keep reading for details on past Women+Their Books guests.

Amy shares details from her life and exquisite photography over at @teaandsage on Instagram.

Daisy Buchanan is the author of the brilliant book How To Be A Grown Up and hosts the You're Booked podcast. Her second book, The Sisterhood is released in March. NZ Friends: Go pre-order it from Time Out like I have. 

Emma is the blogger and creator of playlists you should seek out over at Emma Etc. 

Sandrine runs the fashion and lifestyle blog, iamsandrine. A self-confessed Dolly Alderton fangirl, she is about to make the move across the world to London. 

Vita aka @exlibrisvita on Instagram shares her dreamy photography and pictures of books and Wellington and brilliant reviews. Vita if you are reading, please start a blog! 

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