My summer reading list
From fiction to non-fiction, classics to contemporary, novellas to long-reads – these are the some of the best books I've read this summer.
Hello readers! I’ve spent most of my summer reading, devouring fiction and non-fiction, classics and contemporary works, novellas and long-reads, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of 10 that I loved…
This is currently what the top of my bed’s headboard looks like. Full disclaimer: I haven’t read everything, although I intend to… eventually. (Also: fun fact, the newspaper flowers on the left are what you receive if you speak at Hay Festival!) OK. Let’s take a look:
Tell me you’ve read Porter’s What Artist’s Wear. If you haven’t, run – don’t walk – to your favourite bookshop and pick one up. It was my favourite book of 2021. I even interviewed Charlie for my podcast on it. It was his first book: looking at artists through the prism of how they dressed. Let’s just say I couldn’t wait for the next one.
And here it is. Bring No Clothes is all about fashion and the Bloomsbury Group – Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, you name it, interspersed with personal stories. Like WAW, I devoured it in one sitting. His writing is some of my favourite. It makes me want to write and is emotional, personal, intelligent and informative.
Plus: Don't miss Porter’s curated exhibition at Charleston’s new gallery in Lewes on Bloomsbury and Fashion. Also, his conversation with Olivia Laing at Daunt Books in September. I’ve got my ticket! Have you?
“Women who write must learn to break the sentence and then the sequence if they are going to make work that will be truly theirs…” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929.
Peppered with quotes and analogies by some of the greatest women writers around, Art Monsters looks at a variety of female artists – from Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun to Laura Knight; Betye Saar to Carolee Schneemann; Eva Hesse and Hannah Wilke; Kara Walker and Maria Lassnig – who have centred their practice around the body. Exploring those reacting against patriarchal portrayals of the body, Art Monsters is a fascinating insight into how women have broken from the historically-weighted past and configured a new language using a voice unique to them.
I also recommend: Elkin’s book Flâneuse, which sees her trace cities through the eyes and steps of female writers and artists as the feminine “flaneur”, one who walks aimlessly. Stay tuned for a very exciting podcast with Elkin in the next season!
I know I am the last person in the world to say this, but I cannot believe I’ve only just started reading du Maurier! Gripping tales set in the depths of Cornwall, UK, du Maurier’s books will keep you up all night. Go go go!
On my list next: My Cousin Rachel.