Speak Up

The 5 books you should definitely take on holiday this summer

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Laura Whitmore
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Laura Whitmore's holiday books

Need some pool-side reading inspiration? Laura Whitmore has got you covered…

‘I should read more’.

This throwaway comment pops up a lot in my conversations with mates. And no wonder: that half an hour of sleepy night‐time reading has long been taken over by frantically scrolling through fluorescent social media images; absorbing short form content, sending my brain racing and encouraging sleepless nights.

There is one time, however, when I’m back to reading books the way I used to and feeling very smug with myself… my holidays! I can read my capacity for the rest of the year in that one week summer vacation. And, no, I haven’t made the transition to Kindle just yet: I like the old way far too much. Sandy pages and stained dog eared corners reminding me of that aioli-soaked chip I nibbled during page 39 of Caitlin Moran’s Moranthology.

So here are my top five reads for summer 2018.

Sara Pascoe – Animal

This is a must read for anyone who is a woman or knows a woman. Yes, Sara is a genius comedian, but this isn’t necessarily a funny book. I mean it is funny. But I learned stuff too. (I thought I knew my body. I don’t.)

Animal is a wonderful exploration of the female body and our world, an honest and intimate view using Sara’s life to understand the female form on a wider scale. I’ve already bought numerous copies for mates, because I’m not willing to part ways with my copy.

Zadie Smith ‐ Feel Free

Feel Free is a collection of essays (31 to be exact) that are perfect to dip in and out of. Zadie Smith’s voice is razor sharp, her topics stimulating and relatable. She’s curious, witty and you will devour each story one after another. 

Yes, novels are great when you want to lose yourself in someone else’s journey but the sense of accomplishment you will feel after every essay is second to none. 

Susie Murphy – A Class Apart

Sometimes you do want that novel to get lost in, and this debut of historical fiction from Irish author Susie Murphy is the perfect book for the job. 

Susie loves the 19th century so much that she often wishes she had been born two hundred years ago. Still, she remains grateful for many aspects of the modern age, including women’s suffrage, electric showers and pizza.

A Class Apart is the first volume in Susie’s A Matter of Class series, which begins in Ireland in 1828. The perfect romantic escape, without having to elope with a bartender from Mykonos.

Caitlin Moran – How To Be Famous

I love Caitlin Moran, because I feel like she’s a friend, or a friend I want to have at least. And, with How To Build A Girl being transformed into a film, now is the perfect time to dip into her new helping of How To Be Famous.

The book continues the story of Johanna Morrigan (aka Dolly Wilde) after she’s moved to London to work for a music magazine in the Nineties . And, as I moved to London to work in television ten years ago, the madness appeals to me – with some situations most definitely identifiable.

“Young women do know who they are—OF COURSE THEY DO!—it’s just they’re told they’re not allowed to be it so often, and told to suppress their feelings so continually, that they gradually lose their entire instinct for happiness and self‐realisation, and turn into those panicking creatures you meet at parties who dance madly when I Am What I Am comes on the stereo, then spend the rest of the night crying.”

I think we’ve all been there.

Peter James – Dead If You Don’t

Dead If You Don’t marks Roy Grace’s 14th outing and the Brighton detective superintendent just can’t catch a break. I personally love a crime thriller and this is the perfect whodunnit, and will have you turning each page faster than the next (not always an easy task with aioli smeared on your thumb).

Having started in last years stage adaptation of Not Dead Enough, I’m a bit of a super fan of these books. 

Disclaimer: I don’t recommend eating chips with aioli if any of the above books are borrowed from a friend or a public library.

For one day only on Monday 13 August, Laura Whitmore has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Speak Up platform – a digital initiative which aims to shine a light on the day’s most important headlines, challenge the status quo, spark debate, encourage conversation and, above all else, champion women’s voices..

For similarly inspiring content, check out Laura Whitmore’s show on BBC Radio 5 Live, which airs on Sundays at 11am.

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