Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton

I blasted through Dolly’s memoir in a couple days, entirely captured by her voice and every little anecdote. As Alderton says herself, it’s a book about love, but it is most certainly not about boys. This memoir struck me as a real celebration of the stability and comfort of female friendships; through joy, death, heartbreak and all the in between. That being said, Dolly’s years as a dating columnist for The Sunday Times Style means that there are a couple dozen hilarious male encounters too. If you read one memoir this month, make it this.

The Secret Life of Cows, Rosamund Young

Young’s book about a life on farms and spent with all kinds of farm life is a wonderful reminder that animal’s lives exist well and beyond our mere use of them. A quiet argument against factory farming and the cruelties of the mass meat market, this books anthropomorphises cows, sheep and chickens to a level of endearment. They form friendships, mourn, hold grudges and make their own kind of jokes. Young’s argument for kindness and compassion towards even those animals we will eventually eat is impossible to combat by the end, but more than this, it’s a beautiful story of the secret lives of animals and how understanding those lives can be enriching.

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

I hope it isn’t cheeky to include Austen on my list, but given that this is one of her less famous novels I thought I could get away with it. I’ve read a fair amount of Austen, but was particularly drawn to the character of Catherine Morland. A satire of gothic novels, it’s delightful to watch Morland get entirely carried away by her own imagination and the often humorous (sometimes less so) after effects. From discovering hidden chests, to suspecting murder of various characters, Morland is every young woman who used to get a little carried away after reading a good book. An unlikely heroin she is, but a heroin indeed.

Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman

I devoured this book in a single three hour flight, eager to get ahead of it before my urge to watch the movie overwhelmed me. I always try to read the books before watching any movie adaptation because I think it adds depth to the movie, and gives all the little backstories they can’t possibly provide in a single movie. Despite racing through this (rather racy) love story between two men, the passion in the novel itself is slow burning. Before you even realise what is going on in Elio’s mind, you’re rooting for them to be together. The book, set in the hot Italian summer, is a wonderful marriage of intellectualism, passion and a tenderness most people dream of. Gloriously joyful and sad in equal measure, watching Elio fall in love feels almost personal by the end of the novel.

The Ninth Hour, Alice McDermott

Much like how I choose my wine, sometimes I choose a book by the cover and the cover of this novel by Alice McDermott caught my attention when I was looking through Amazon for my next read. The Ninth Hour follows a young widowed mother, her daughter and an order of local nuns through their lives and explores the delicacies of life, death, family and faith. A little slow to start, you soon find yourself caught up in the congregation of characters, full of personality and quick to capture the heart. This is one of those wonderful books where nothing too dramatic happens, and yet you find yourself enraptured in another world from page one.

The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford

Not a new release by any standard, but I’m such a huge fan of Nancy Mitford’s style of writing – almost Austen like in it’s tongue in cheek, proud manner. This particular story follows two cousins on the lookout for the perfect man, particularly Fanny and her multiple marriages to a whole cast of delightfully awful characters. Despite being set in the war, there are truths about love and life that resonate even today. If you’re looking for bouncy writing, and a story to devour in a day, I can’t recommend this enough.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Carlo Rovelli

Finally, something non-fiction to feast your eyes on. From quantum physics, to time, Rovelli’s brief lessons explain the inexplicable concepts that are essential in Physics in terms anyone can understand. A brief read, this little book feels almost like a story and you close the last page feeling a little bit like Einstein. If you have even any interest in understanding how time or gravity work, this is a delight.

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