Life & Style

Good Reads: Katie Law

The holidays are all about snuggling up by the fire with a good book. Who better to trust with your reading recommendations than Katie Law, Deputy Literary Editor at the Evening Standard?

Let's Hope For the Best by Carolina Setterwall

A compulsively readable emotional battering ram of a book that falls somewhere between bereavement memoir and autofiction, and has drawn comparisons with Karl Ove Knausgaard. It begins when Carolina finds her husband’s dead body in bed, leaving her with an eight-month-old son, but then ingeniously scrolls backwards and forwards in time.

Don't Look at Me Like That by Diana Athill

Athill, who died at the age of 102 last year, set the only novel she ever wrote in 1950s London. Her largely autobiographical story about an unconventional young woman touches on themes of loyalty, friendship and betrayal. First published in 1967, it is deservedly reissued this month as part of Granta’s ‘outsider classic’ editions.

Greenfeast: Autumn, winter by Nigel Slater

Slater has been noting down what he eats every day for as long as he can remember. His cooking is lighter and more plant-based than it used to be, and his new recipes include lots of things on toast, a celeriac, horseradish and pumpernickel soup, and a syrupy sweet rice pud with fig jam. Yum!

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman

Available in English for the first time, this is the prequel to Grossman’s Tolstoyan epic, Life and Fate. Originally published in Russian in 1954, Stalingrad tells the story of Viktor Shtrum, a physicist whose family are fatally caught up in the Nazi dragnets, set against a vast panoramic landscape.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Artist Mackesy became an unlikely Instagram sensation thanks to his beguiling pen and wash posts about loneliness, friendship and the meaning of life. Now he’s written this touching tale with inspiring lines like this one: “‘What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever said?’ asked the boy. ‘Help,’ said the horse”.

The Redstone Diary 2020: Dreams of Europe by Julian Rothenstein

Every year Redstone Press produces another beautiful diary, more work of art than working calendar. The 2020 edition celebrates Europe in all its fading glory, including pictures, photographs, prose and poetry from Bonnard to Bardot, Picasso to Pasolini and Thomas Hardy to Alain-Fournier.

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner

From being Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, and entertaining rock stars on the island of Mustique, which her husband Colin bought for £45,000 in 1958, to the tragic deaths of not one but two of her sons, this bitter-sweet memoir is a mixture of acid wit, sadness and good humour.

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

How did the 16 year-old Swedish schoolgirl became the most famous teenager in the world? The transcripts of Thunberg’s impassioned speeches for climate change, together with photos of her progress from solo strike in Stockholm to crowds of half a million in Montreal a year later, are now available in this luxe yellow-bound edition.

Scent Magic: Notes from a Gardener by Isabel Bannerman

An intoxicating volume by grandee gardener Bannerman, based on diaries about her own garden in Trematon, Cornwall. Rosa Souvenir de la Malmaison, she writes, is "the perfect bosom, the decolletage, the cleavage of happiness, a cushion of silky petals, smelling of apples and pears warmed by the sun."

JEW. Photographs by John Offenbach

Offenbach has spent the last four years photographing Jews from all walks of life all over the world. The result is 120 beautiful black and white portraits, each face telling its own powerful story, whether it’s a rape victim in Tel Aviv, a weaver in Addis Ababa, a gaucho from Argentina or an English Lord in London.

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