Summer reading roundup
Author: Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo; David Bitton; Shaun Bythell; Fiona Mozley; Jennifer Egan
Publisher: Penguin; Bitton Gourmet; Allen & Unwin and two from Hachette
I read some great books over the summer holidays. Here’s a taste.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo (Penguin).
One hundred mini stories of inspirational women, including Marie Curie (scientist), Malala Yousafzai (activist), Jacquhotte Delahay (pirate), Zaha Hadid (architect) are accompanied by full-page portraits by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book strikes a blow against gender stereotyping, and is one to give, savour and cherish.
Chopped and Served: The Autobiography of David Bitton by David Bitton (Bitton Gourmet).
If you’ve tasted David’s food (ah, the crepes) – you’ll want to read how he became a chef and why Bitton Café and Grocer in Alexandria has been such a warm-hearted success. David hopes his story can give others the courage to rise above adversity and live out their dreams (as he has done).
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (Allen & Unwin).
Blythell runs Scotland’s biggest second-hand bookshop, and says the Kindle he shot and mounted on a shield is the most photographed object in the shop. So yes, he’s both concerned about the impact of Amazon and digitisation, and heartened by the large numbers of people who visit and tell him they prefer the physical pleasure of reading a book. Eccentric staff, rude customers, rare finds – think Black Books humour with a melancholy twist.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (Hachette).
Elmet was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2017. It tells the tale of Daniel, Cathy and their Daddy who live close to nature in their house in a copse in Elmet in Yorkshire. When their home is threatened by greedy landlords, they step up to fight against them. Mozley’s debut contains some stellar sentences and a gripping ending.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Hachett).
This Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s first historical novel is magnificent. Set in the Great Depression and Second World War, it charts the fortunes of an Irish family in Brooklyn. Anna defies convention and becomes a diver. She also uncovers the dark forces behind her father’s disappearance. Read this for its brilliant descriptions and marvellous characterisation.