Planning your Summer vacation? Here are my top paperbacks to take with you! All set in different countries around the world, I’ve cherry-picked my favorite beach reads of 2017 – from light-hearted romps to thrillers, emotive historical journeys, and gripping, political non-fiction.
Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
I was recommended this by a PR friend right before I left to host a show with Fox Asia, in a remote part of beachy Malaysia. It’s a hilarious, insightful read about the generational and cultural issues faced by a group of ABC’s (American-Born-Chinese) and the jaw-dropping wealth and snobbery they encounter. It not only made me want to visit (and eat my way through) Singapore, but I can’t wait to read its sequel, China Rich Girlfriend.
I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
After seeing her speak at a charity dinner, I was enraptured by Malala’s wisdom and bravery. Shot in the head by the Taliban on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley for campaigning for the rights of girls to an education, Malala was not expected to survive. Instead, she and her family were relocated to England, where she continues her peaceful protests by speaking all over the world, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story is a must-read.
Mount! By Jilly Cooper
If you’re English, you know all about Jilly Cooper. Now in her seventies, this legendary author writes about posh people drinking scotch, riding horses in the sunny countryside, and shagging each other’s wives. It’s bloody brilliant! And now she has brought out another in the series, after a couple of decades break. I can remember finishing my English Literature degree Summer of 2004, having spent years deconstructing complicated novels and ancient poems. I bought my first Jilly Cooper book and spent the summer enjoying a very different kind of literature! PS. If you’re going to buy Mount, I’d start at the beginning with Cooper’s novel Riders, followed by Rivals, then Polo.
The Paris Wife, by Paula McClain
The Belle Epoque fascinates me. An era of decadence and artistic creation second-to-none. But not everyone realizes these geniuses associated with the period (F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound) were all buddies hanging out in Paris together, drinking absinthe at Les Deux Magots and holidaying as a group on the Riviera, or in Spain, to watch the Bull Fighting. The Paris Wife is a raw, romantic, sobering and sometimes sad peak into the life of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Elizabeth, narrated from her perspective, as Hemingway struggles to find inspiration, social standing and enough publishing contracts to pay the rent. This is the first book I ever cried at, reading the end.
The House on Sunset Lake, by Tasmina Perry
I still feel so proud of my former editor, Tammy, when I see her books in the store! Even though she’s a best-selling author of over ten books, I still remember the day she gave me my first job a decade ago, as a features assistant at In Style magazine. She believed in me and has been a friend, mentor and source of inspiration ever since. So every Spring, when her newest novel drops, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Her latest thriller is as glamorous as ever, set in Savannah, Georgia.