With the summer holidays suddenly upon us, and the promise of (at least) five minutes in the sun, our thoughts have turned to the looming pile of books sat beside the bed, patiently waiting to be read.
There is something about hazy summer days that seem to beg for a shady corner, a large drink and a good book. So make sure you make a little time this week to tackle your own bedside book.
Here are a few we are most excited to pick up.
‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ by Jon Ronson.
If you’re not familiar with Jon Ronson, the journalist, author and documentary maker… get to know him this summer. He’s written best sellers like The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Frank (the last two were also turned into films staring George Clooney and Michael Fassbender respectively).
‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ is his latest offering.
The subject is unsurprisingly, shame. Or more specifically, what happens when ordinary people find themselves at the centre of high-profile, public shamings. Ronson has travelled around the world, interviewing different subjects, in what promises to be, a completely engrossing exploration of the way modern media takes justice into its own hands. And if that all sounds a bit serious, don’t worry. Ronson has a way of making the driest of subjects painfully funny. If this is even half as good as his previous books, it will still be one of the best things you’ll read this year.
‘Eleanor Marx: A Life’ by Rachel Holmes.
This biography of Carl Marx’s firebrand daughter Eleanor is not the most obvious summer read. But appearances are deceiving.
Feminist, socialist, rebel, Eleanor was a true pioneer of both women’s and worker’s rights, travelling all over the world at a time when most women of her status barely left the house. Add a fascinating family, famous friends and suspicious, dramatic death at 43 and you’ve got a story that is far more interesting than your average paperback. Plus you’ll look super smart when you pull it out on the train.
‘How to be both’ by Ali Smith.
This book was bought for Cate by her boyfriend “because the front cover reminded me of the ‘60s and you like them”.
But it turns out he’s accidently got rather good taste. ‘How to be both’ was shortlisted for the Man Booker and won a host of other awards, including the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. It’s got raves reviews across the board for its clever dual narration that follows two interconnected stories, set centuries apart. But here’s the clever bit. Depending on which book you pick up, you will either be presented with the contemporary or historical story first. Which means two entirely different reading experiences from one novel.
We had a sneak peak, and our copy starts with the modern narration. Where we end up is anyone’s guess.