Two of things I like most in the world are bed and books.
Combine them and you’ve got a recipe for joy. Add a cup of tea - or a gin martini if you want to make a night of it - and a pair of silk PJs (natch) and you have the perfect antidote to life’s pace and noise.
Here are three much-loved books from the Hesper Fox library that will see you through the cooler days and nights to come as Autumn approaches.
Two are more recent reads by super-talented female authors and the third, although first published almost 20 years ago, is one that I return to again and again for its laugh-out-loud greatness.
A worthy winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction and nominated for numerous other awards, this tale of a marriage beset by external forces and terrible injustice is a beautifully written commentary on race, loyalty, marriage, love and pain. The book’s epilogue had me reading with a lump in my throat and after closing it, I thought about its characters for days. A poignant, superbly crafted reflection on how we don’t always get the life that we’d envisaged. I know I’ll re-read this in a year or so and love it even more.
So, I thought the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year was pretty noteworthy - here’s another one. 'Ordinary people' captures the lives of two couples living in London (the book's snapshots of life in the capital are sublime), navigating the landscape of parenthood, mixed-race middle class domesticity, and the unravelling confines of the lives they find themselves in. In turns funny and terribly sad, I loved it for its sharp observation on ageing, friendship, grief, and the fragile nature of love. Oh, and it has a soundtrack; the author created a Spotify playlist of 90s classics that's worth a listen whilst you read.
Published almost 20 years ago, a friend introduced me to this collection of essays by humorist David Sedaris more than 10 years ago. I think I have probably read it once a year since. A laugh-out-loud read that I have often dipped into if I need a lift or have finished reading something on the heavier side, this is a book that should be on the bookshelf of anyone who loves a pithily told tale. Stories of his suburban upbringing in North Carolina and his accounts of learning French at the hands of a sadistic teacher are some of the most hilarious I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Observational, analytical, anecdotal, quoteworthy and pant-wettingly funny. As an aside, if you’ve never heard him read any of his essays aloud - get to it.