Have you got your summer reading list sorted? If you’re after a little inspiration, then look no further… We asked seven writers to let us know about three books that are on their summer reading lists!
1. Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Reading cookbooks is allowed right? I find cooking incredibly relaxing, and I love nothing more than flicking through cookbooks to be inspired and reading the stories that influenced those dishes.
2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
This one was one of the first books that I used my own money (not vouchers from grandparents) to buy. It changed the way I thought about food and the world. I was so devastated to hear of Anthony Bourdain's passing that I want to revisit that book again, even though it will be with a much sadder context.
3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.
Nothing like extra time on your hands to have an existential crisis! In a world that is increasingly hard to get your head around, and there is so much information to take in, hopefully I'll start my 2019 working year with a bit more clarity.
1. The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morten
If – like me – you want your summer to be resplendent with stories out of time, crumbling gothic manors, mysteries spanning generations, murder, intrigue, romance, and art, then you need Kate Morten in your life.
2. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell.
Some doors are locked for a reason... A sprawling gothic horror in the style of the greats of the genre. For fans of Susan Hill. Creepy as fuck.
3. Wake by Elizabeth Knox.
I picked this up after appearing on a LitCrawl panel with Elizabeth on killing off characters. Wake is a horror novel about what it really means to try to do one's best;
about the choices and sacrifices people face in
order to keep a promise like "I will take care of you.
1. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalto.
One of my good mates recommended it and we have very similar tastes, so I listen to her!
2. Milkman by Anna Burns.
Because ...The Booker.
3. This is the Ritual by Rob Doyle
Found him very entertaining at LitCrawl and was intrigued to see what his actual writing's like.
1. These Two Hands by Renée
I’m about to finish Renée’s “These Two Hands”, and as I get further and further through the patches that make up the quilt of her memoir, I’m reminded more and more that I need to go back and read other work of hers. As I already own “Skeleton Woman”, I’m going to dig that out and re-read it.
2. Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble
Earlier this year I bought Tayi Tibble’s “Poūkahangatus”. It travelled all the way to London with me, and ‘Sensitivity’ in particular was apt reading. Her poetry is so incisive, it makes me squeal, nod my head, click my fingers and clutch my heart. I want to give her book more time, as well as make my way through all of the interviews she’s undertaken with Māori creatives around the world which are up on the Toi Māori website.
3. The Imperfect Lives Series by Catherine Robertson
Lastly, I did some work with Catherine Robertson earlier this year on her forthcoming novel, the sequel to “Gabriel’s Bay”. When I worked with Catherine, I hadn’t actually read Gabriel’s Bay so I bought and then DEVOURED that. The sequel is not out yet so instead I’m going to get my hands on The Imperfect Lives series, because then I get to read three books.
1. Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
2. Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott
3. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
1. Nicotine by Gregor Hens
I bought this in 2016 planning to read it as a kind of pretentious equivalent to Alan Carr's 'Easy Way To Stop Smoking'. It's an extended essay, meditating on the effects of nicotine on thoughts and behaviours. I heard Will Self interviewing Gregors Hens from the perspective of a life-long smoker (Self) to a reformed cigarette afficionado (Hens). I didn't read it, but I did quit smoking, and so now seems like the perfect time to finally pick it up from my to-read pile and get stuck in.
2. The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford
This book is a confluence of two of my great interests: Death, and the Mitford sisters. I tried for years to buy this book, even putting in a special order with a local independent bookstore, but they couldn't get me a copy. I don't think it's out of print, but it just didn't work out. I finally found it in a used book store in Venice Beach, LA, in 2016. The hand-written price tag says $3.95 but I'm pretty sure I only paid $1. The book has a postcard wedged into it - presumably a previous owner's bookmark - that says 'Did Jesus Get Stoned?' on the front, and on the back it says "Actually he was crucified. Jesus took the hit for us". The book is about the death industry in the USA, and is written in Jessica Mitford's inimitable style of muckraking journalism.
3. Role Models by John Waters
My friends Jonny and Lizzie are really good at buying me (and lending me) excellent books that I never get around to reading, Role Models is a collection of essays written by John Waters about people who have influenced him. From locals like Baltimore bar-owner Esther Martin, to Saint Catherine of Siena, and music legends Johnny Mathis and Little Richard. I'm a big fan of the 'Pope of Trash', and I think there's no better summer reading than essay collections because you can fall asleep in the sun with the book on your face and not feel like you've got to catch up on the story.
1. Te Tau Ihu o te Waka by Hilary and John Mitchell
A history of Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Māui ( the Top of the South Island) from creation myths through to first settler contact. I'm from Golden Bay and spend lots of time in the region playing gigs and hanging out, so it'll be interesting and fulfilling to get an understanding of the pre-European history.
2. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
I'm really into science fiction, because I'm a geek but also because, at its best, I think it's a great way of examining societies and psychology through the limitless premises of possible future scenarios. Ursula Le Guin is probably my favourite author of science fiction because she does this so well, but Virginia Woolf did it before her! Orlando, the protagonist, is a genderfluid character, and the book is way ahead of its time both figuratively and literally. I'm looking forward to seeing how she explores this.
3. Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
I've actually just read this, but it's summer now so it totally counts. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi explores how a curse laid on a Ganda tribal leader in the 1700s affects his descendants from then, until present day. Great characters, compelling storylines that are cleverly tied together and it also neatly touches on some of the history of Uganda. An awesome read!