The books you should be reading by a Soho House pool
Sunlounger secured? These books are all the entertainment you’ll need while soaking up some rays
Saturday 20 August 2022 By Natasha Poliszczuk
In an ideal world, your summer reading matter needs to convey three very important things. Firstly, that despite lounging by a pool, your mind is sharp and your appetite for wit undiminished. Secondly, that you are an individual with impeccably good taste. Finally, you just so happened to pick up the hot book that everyone will be talking about. Get reading – and be ready to have an opinion about our pick of this summer’s literary crop.
I’m Sorry You Feel That Way by Rebecca Wait
As Tolstoy so very nearly said, all dysfunctional families are dysfunctional in their own way. Siblings Michael (repressed) and twins Alice (nervy, needy) and Hanna (caustic, damaged) – know it only too well, as they try to escape their meddlesome, narcissistic mother. Sounds depressing? Worry not, it’s also terrifically witty, and littered with comic vignettes and whip-cracking dialogue. Think Sorrow And Bliss meets Fleabag, but also entirely itself (and funnier).
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
In Elizabeth Zott, Bonnie Garmus has created an iconic heroine who breezes into the literary landscape like a blast of ozone. She’s a brilliant scientist, a single mother, the star of an unlikely cooking show, and a feminist heroine who refuses to accept any limits. There’s a pleasingly quirky supporting cast, including an anthropomorphic dog called Six Thirty, but it’s Zott’s book and all the better for it. Magnificent.
The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays
The debut novel from the co-creator of How I Met Your Mother is predictably amusing, original and clever, but also grapples with big ideas and even – whisper it – the meaning of life. Bays deftly juggles a disparate cast of characters, all looking for love and connection amid the chaos, and the perpetual distractions of their phones and social media. Quite deservedly heralded by the likes of Mindy Kaling and Jason Segel.
Why Did You Stay? by Rebecca Humphries
In 2018, Humphries’ ex-boyfriend, Seann Walsh cheated on her with his Strictly Come Dancing partner. Her tweeted statement (highlights included: ‘My name is Rebecca Humphries and I am not a victim’, the stark revelation of his gaslighting, and the elegant dig at a superfluous consonant ‘Sean(n)’) went viral. She found her voice and uses it in this extraordinarily fierce and compelling memoir, which is both a chilling expose of damaging relationships, and testimony to Humphries rising like a phoenix.
Africa Is Not A Country: Breaking Stereotypes Of Modern Africa by Dipo Faloyin
It’s rare that truly necessary books manage to be both revelatory and funny – but Faloyin’s portrait of modern Africa dispels lazy stereotypes and hackneyed thinking, with humour, charisma, and generosity of spirit. Not always the easiest of reads, but a deeply insightful one that’ll compel you to change the way you look at the continent.
The Crane Wife by Christina Joyce Hauser
An intimate memoir in the form of incredibly moreish essays, sparked by Hauser’s viral sensation about decamping to Texas to study the whooping crane (as you do) 10 days after calling off her wedding. In the process, realising she had dodged the bullet of living the wrong life. A quirky, brave, intellectually rigorous – but never po-faced – inventory of life and love. Ideal for dipping in and out of – if you can stop yourself from gobbling it down whole.