Easy reads for busy weeks, dreamy interiors and supermarket bao
We can’t always face a hefty literary tome when life gets hectic. Keep things light with these uncomplicated (but still intelligent) new books
When we’re juggling meetings, deadlines and social plans, cracking open the latest 600-page prize-winner can feel like just another task on our to-do lists. At times like these, stick to slim, nimble reads – like Grand Union, Zadie Smith’s first collection of short stories. Published last week, it tackles subjects including cancel culture, desire and race with Smith’s trademark insight and lightness of touch.
If memoirs are more your thing, dip into the Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen, the cult Danish poet and author who died in 1971. Across three featherweight volumes (Childhood, Youth and Dependency), Ditlevsen’s taut, simple prose shines a light on what life and love were like for working-class women in 20th century Copenhagen. Elena Ferrante fans, take note.
Finally, Lillian Li’s Number One Chinese Restaurant – which follows Chinese-American teenagers Annie and Pat as they try to extricate themselves from the grip of their family restaurant – is now out in paperback. Longlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, it’s warm, moving and extremely funny. Happy reading.
In today’s good news: you can now chow on delicious bao without leaving the house. Stylist
’s food editor Jenny Tregoning
Since Bao first opened in Soho four years ago, those springy, pillowy soft Taiwanese buns have rocketed in popularity. But if you don’t fancy the queues, head to your local supermarket. Itsu has just launched hoisin duck bao in Sainsbury’s that can be cooked from frozen in just 60 seconds (there is a god), while Marks & Spencer has also added ready-made bao to its shelves.
Need some filling inspiration? Try Jeremy Pang’s fish finger bao recipe (the acceptable face of the fish finger sandwich) and Izy Hossack’s vegan take, using crispy, gochugang-glazed tofu. Pang’s School Of Wok also sells step-by-step kits to make bao from scratch in just 30 minutes, with a video to help. Yum.
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There’s nothing quite like sitting yourself down in a good armchair and catching up on a pile of books you’ve been too busy to read. Or if it’s a Sunday, make that the list of Netflix shows you’ve been coveting along with a big bag of posh crisps. We’ve got our eye on this teal armchair from John Lewis & Partners as the perfect companion. The scalloped back and swivel base is a chic detail making it the ideal living room or bedroom accessory.
It’s Stylist’s 10th birthday – and here’s the soundtrack to our celebrations
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