What the Muddy team will be reading on hols
The top tomes squeezed into the Muddy suitcases this month - and all the literary inspo you need.
Whether you’re whizzing off to a sun-lounger in far-flung climes this month or simply curling up on your sofa trying to zone out our abysmal British ‘summer’, you’ll be needing a good book to lose yourself in. You can’t beat a word-of-mouth literary recommendation so here’s what the Muddy HQ crew will be reading on their holidays in the coming weeks. What’s that – little Johnny’s scraped his knee by the swimming pool? Hang on, just need to finish this chapter…
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy – chosen by founder Hero Brown
I could pretend I’m taking this to Croatia next week because it was Booker shortlisted last year but actually I’ve chosen it purely on the basis that it’s the novel that’s cropped up more than any other on my Instagram feed this summer. Everyone I know seems to be reading it (and styling it cutely on a sunlounger, next to a glass of rosé, of course). It explores the relationship between a mother and her grown-up daughter, who arrive in a sultry, Spanish coastal resort seeking treatment for the former’s mysterious paralysis. I’ve seen reviewers compare it to Virginia Woolf so that’s me sold.
Yesterday by Felicia Yap – chosen by associate editor Kerry Potter
I’ve read about 8,000 thrillers in the last few years and around 7,999 of them have been compared to Gone Girl by their publishers. However, this one, which comes with an almighty dollop of hype, is something genuinely different – and was a lifesaver during my holiday in Cornwall last week when it didn’t stop raining. At all. For the entire week. It’s set in a parallel world where people are either Monos or Duos. The former can only remember the previous 24 hours, the latter the last 48; with everyone noting down their memories in electronic ‘iDiaries’ each night. So when the body of a glamorous blonde washes up on a riverbank, solving the murder proves something of a challenge when no one can remember what has happened. Or can they? The writing is a bit shonky in places, but the concept is lots of fun. Now, has it stopped raining in Cornwall yet?
Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman – chosen by commercial director Katie Molloy
Currently I’m tearing through this candid diary by the recently departed Vogue editor. I’m really enjoying her honesty – she’s very open about feeling stressed and being scared of flying, and her love for her family comes across very strongly. Back in the day I used to work on Marie Claire magazine looking after their fashion advertisers so it’s also making me reminisce about fun times in my twenties and thirties. Those were the days!
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams – chosen by marketing director Sascha Way
I’m going trekking in Peru in September so over the summer I’ll be prepping by reading this New York Times best-seller about a man who recreates the original 1911 expedition to the famous archaeological site. I’ve been assured it’s a funny, down-to-earth must-read -although I’m hoping it’s not going to terrify me about the prospect of camping out for four nights up an Andean mountain.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – chosen by editorial assistant Sophie Hadjikyriacos
I watched the recent TV adaptation of this 1985 dystopian classic on Channel 4 and absolutely loved it. I’m a huge Margaret Atwood geek and so this summer I’m going to re-read the book and compare it to the series (hey, it keeps me out of trouble!) I’m pretty sure I remember the main character Offred being far more objectionable in print than she was on TV…
The Line Of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst – chosen by editorial assistant Sarah Taylor
This is an old favourite and a fabulous, evocative depiction of a moment in time. Set in the summer of 1987 amid London’s super-rich and privileged set, it follows Oxford grad Nick Guest in an undulating narrative of all things beautiful and sordid, with language that’s brutally raw one moment and then heart-rendingly lyrical the next. Through Nick’s perspective, we see how this world of entitlement is riddled with drug-taking and secret sexual adventures. It’s a total page-turner.
The Unwomanly Face of War – chosen by your very own Muddy Cambs editor Sallie Aylott
I came across this title and was intrigued after hearing Clare Mulley (The Woman who Flew for Hitler) speak at the recent Wimple History Festival. The Unwomanly Face of War was written by Svetlana Alexievich who has spent years interviewing hundreds of Soviet women – captains, tank drivers, snipers, pilots, nurses and doctors – who had experienced World War II on the front lines, on the home front and in occupied territories. After completing the manuscript in 1983, Alexievich was not allowed to publish it because it went against the state-sanctioned history of the war. With the dawn of Perestroika, a heavily censored edition came out in 1985 and it became a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union.
What are you reading this summer – anything we need to put on our own must-read lists?! Let us know in the comment box below.