The Soho Book Club: Alex Holder’s reads about brilliant women

soho house book club

If you want to read about women – sweaty, believable females who get up from the page horny and drunk, then these five books are for you

Wednesday 28 September 2022    By Soho House

Each month, we’re asking brilliantly bookish people from within the Soho House community to select the reads they’re devouring right now. For September, writer Alex Holder, who is launching a bookshop called Salted Books in Lisbon, reveals her favourite female-centric reads. Amazon basket at the ready, people.

1. I’m A Fan by Sheena Patel

Publisher: Rough Trade

You know the recognition that jolts you when you see the girl you don’t follow, but you do stalk on Instagram, in real life? This book knows exactly how low you go on social media, it knows how low we all go. It’s comforting and unsettling in equal measure.

2. My Year Of Rest And Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Publisher: Vintage

She’s young, thin, pretty and has a trust fund, which should make for a boring protagonist, but she has a dream we can all relate to: to sleep for a year. I love a female protagonist who takes drugs unapologetically, they’re rare. And this one just crunches her way through the novel, chewing on animal crackers and high-grade sleeping pills. Reading it is like being hungover in a stuffy, airless room; you are desperate for a breeze, but you can’t move. I read it quickly and feverishly – I couldn’t stop, and by the end I felt like we’d both gone through something together.

3. Send Nudes by Saba Sams

Publisher: Bloomsbury

This book of short stories is a smorgasbord of women – some you want to party with, a few you’d try hard to avoid, and one you just want to scoop up and tell her life is going to be OK. Normally I skip at least one story in a short story collection, but with these I savoured each and every one.

4. The Three Of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Publisher: Penguin Random House

A wife, her husband and her best friend toe the lines of compromise and betrayal. This is the book to make you question all that you know about loyalty, friendship and long-term relationships. Agbaje-Williams is the debut author to watch next year.

5. 1000 Coils Of Fear by Olivia Wenzel

Publisher: Dialogue Books

A young woman attends a play about the Berlin Wall coming down and is the only Black person in the audience. This is a book about loneliness and race, a meditation on panic and love, and, of course, it’s a beautiful story that absolutely will not have you messily crying on the train.

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