Most of you will know how much of a bookworm I am and summer vacations are the perfect time to lay by the pool with a good paperback. I’ve put together a list of my favorite poolside reads – from inspiring memoirs to thrillers, trashy brilliance, and fascinating non-fiction. If you read any, tell me what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!
Pandora by Jilly Cooper
I re-read this every couple of Summers and it never fails to transport me to English meadows, scotch in crystal glasses and torrid love affairs, all with the backdrop of a stolen painting. Whenever I feel homesick in LA, I read another Jilly Cooper. She’s in her eighties now, still writing, and fabulous.
Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington
One of the biggest influences on fashion imagery, Grace’s witty and charming yet blunt personality comes through as she details her enviable career, starting as a model to then joining British Vogue as a fashion editor, before becoming American Vogue’s creative director. Grace also intimately describes her personal life, from her two miscarriages and the death of her sister to her long-lasting relationship with the queen of fashion herself, Anna Wintour. I have always admired Grace since my first day working in the fashion industry, she’s a true legend and I still get a thrill seeing her bright red hair on the front row at fashion week. This book is a total must-read for all fashionistas!
My Paris Dream by Kate Betts
Kate is a former Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar editor and, as a fellow journalist, I really enjoyed reading her experience as an American fashion journalist in Paris in the 1980s. Plus, I got to live vicariously in Paris through Kate’s experience! From the glamorous fashion to the sometimes-exclusionary way of Parisian life to the constant deadlines faced by a fashion journalist, Kate really brings Paris, and the fashion journalism industry, to life. It’s a true coming of age memoir about a woman finding herself in the working world, falling in love, facing her ambitions and doubts, and shaping her identity, whilst living in one of the most beautiful and fashionable cities in the world. I loved this book so much I dm’d Kate herself on Instagram and she replied!
Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry
Tasmina gave me my first ever job as an assistant at In Style magazine, about 13 years ago! We have stayed close ever since and she is a dear friend and mentor to me. This novel is a real thriller about a woman with a seemingly perfect life, Amy, who offers the daughter of an old friend, Josie, work experience and a place to stay in her home, but it begins to look as if this Josie is outstaying her welcome and may not be a friend at all. After reading this book, with its explosive ending, you’ll be scared to have anyone stay over for a while! It’s an escapist read that will keep you guessing throughout.
A New Model by Ashley Graham
It is so refreshing to read such a brutally honest and raw story. Ashley is so genuine and transparent; she’s not afraid to discuss her struggles with her own body and working in the fashion industry. Her message about body positivity and confidence in fashion shines throughout her memoir. It is incredibly inspiring to see Ashley changing the stereotype of what beauty should look like in the fashion industry and I am glad that young girls today get to grow up with Ashley as a role model. She really encourages women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their body confidently and use it to conquer the world. This book truly is about women empowering other women to be their best and I love it.
My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran
Think Pride & Prejudice, but you actually get to pick the heroine’s choices. My Lady’s Choosing is a slightly more modern take on a classic romance novel. It has a really cool interactive book format where you make your own choices as the story goes on and the outcome of the story changes depending on your selections! I would recommend reading it as part of a book club or with a group of friends as it is great fun and very amusing to see what everyone chooses and go through the adventure together.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
The sequel to The Devil Wears Prada featuring my favorite character, Emily Charlton, who has now left Miranda Priestly and is working as a celebrity publicist in LA. By chance, Emily lands in a suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut where wealth, competition and scandal are heightened. In this novel, with her signature wit and a whole lot of glamour, Lauren Weisberger reveals the very relatable struggles of trying to navigate being a career woman, a mother, and a wife. This book was just released in May and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
The Fear of 13 by Nick Yarris
This is a fascinating account of a man who was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. The book has since been made into an equally gripping documentary on Netflix which is definitely worth a watch too! I learnt so much about the justice system, particularly death row, in America from Nick’s firsthand account. Fortunately, Nick was finally released after spending 22 years waiting to die. His persistent positive outlook and strength to forgive, despite his unimaginable circumstances, are truly inspiring. His story is incredibly hard-hitting and emotional.
The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg has such an interesting and unique life story and today, she is one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry. I have always loved DVF and found her so inspiring, but I discovered a whole new level of respect and admiration for her after reading her memoir in which she reveals intimate stories about her family, love life, beauty and, of course, her business. Diane fully devotes herself to everything she takes on, from her business to philanthropy to her battle with cancer, and her memoir is no exception! Her wisdom is a necessary guide for anyone wanting to build a global brand.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell has such a fascinating and entertaining way of looking at research in the social sciences. In Outliers, he discusses the different factors that contribute to a person being successful. He uses familiar examples, examining some of the brightest, most famous, and most successful people in the world, but looks at them from a completely unfamiliar yet enlightening perspective. His five books are all on my top reads list, and I can’t wait to get my hands on his newest book, Talking to Strangers, but Outliers is undoubtedly my personal favorite.
Let me know your favorite summer reads in the comments below!
Contributors: Symron Mehan