Whether it’s the last lazy days of a lockdown summer and you’re looking to while away the hours with a good book, or whether it’s the prospect of autumn nights, hot chocolates and cosy blankets on the horizon, there’s always a good excuse to spend time in the pages of a great book. We’ve teamed up with London book club, Chapter Chat, who have shared their top 5 recommendations for reads that cater for any mood, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction, a page-turner or a thoughtful book of essays…
You can follow @chapterchatbookclub on Instagram for more recommendations and monthly Q&A’s and discussions (run via Zoom for the foreseeable).
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
DAISY JONES & THE SIX has it all. It’s at once a love story, a glimpse into the tempestuous inner workings of a rock-and-roll band, and a pitch-perfect recreation of the music scene of the Fleetwood Mac era. You’ll never want it to end. With characters that jump off the page, we think Grazia summed this book up perfectly when they said it was ‘as if a woman wrestled the narrative from Almost Famous, drenched it in sun, sex and tequila, and then left it for us to read on a rainy Sunday.’ We read this in one long lazy weekend spent at Soho Farmhouse and couldn’t put it down.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Reese Witherspoon is likely to be thanked for the widespread acclaim of this novel, as after it was chosen for her book club it became a worldwide sensation, with celebrity fans such as Rosie HW singing its praises. It’s easy to see why – this is a truly beautiful book. It straddles two timeline that slowly intertwine and reads part like a thriller, part love story, part elegy to nature. The first timeline describes the life and adventures of a young girl named Kya as she grows up isolated in the marsh of North Carolina and then the second timeline follows a murder investigation of Chase Andrews, a local celebrity of Barkley Cove, a fictional coastal town of North Carolina. The film rights have also been sold (with Reese producing!) so make sure you read before you catch it on the big screen.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This might just be the book of the summer. Told through multiple perspectives across decades, The Vanishing Half centres on identical twin sisters, Desiree and Stella Vignes, who run away from their home in Louisiana in the 1950s and ultimately find themselves taking polar opposite paths dealing with their racial identities. This was one of the best books we’ve read this year and highly recommend; the characters will stay with you for a very long time and we can’t wait to watch them come to life on the small screen (HBO have just announced the rights to a TV series).
We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik
If you’re looking for a non-fiction read, we really recommend Nesrine’s book – it’s perfect for keeping on your bedside table and reading one of her insightful chapters before bed. She writes with brilliant eloquence about the world we live in, applying her journalistic style to explain some of the most important debates of our age. You’ll learn SO much from this book.
Red To The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
We read this for one of our latest book clubs and it was hands down the most well received book we’ve read to date with rave reviews all round! This is a really unusual book that plays with language beautifully and reads almost like an extended poem at times. Red at the Bone explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, as well as looking at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives, even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.