Books

Summer reading: Best-selling author Jane Johnson's top three beach reads

The author of The Sultan's Wife, The Salt Road and The Tenth Gift shares her favourite books, past, present and future, to take on vacation.

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

The Sultan's Wife by Jane Johnson

The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson

Author Jane Johnson

Author Jane Johnson

The author of The Sultan’s Wife, The Salt Road and The Tenth Gift shares her favourite books, past, present and future, to take on vacation

1. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, $15.
The book I’ve just finished: JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You was very different than my normal choice of novel: an unusual modern love story bound up in a compelling moral drama — can a young man rendered paraplegic in an accident be persuaded that life is still worth living? Gripping and affecting, tender and surprisingly funny, this was a real page-turner.

2. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, $25.
The book I’m reading now: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies. Her Booker award–winning novel about Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court is reprised in this wonderful second volume in which we see Cromwell falling dangerously in love with Jane Seymour. Mantel is a stylist par excellence, every sentence a lesson in economy and guile. As a historical novelist, I find myself taking notes!

3. The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon, $30.
The book I’m looking forward to reading: The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon. I read Lyon’s The Golden Mean last year, in which she brought to earthy, vivid life the philosopher Aristotle as he taught the young Alexander the Great the precepts that make a great ruler. Now she carries the story on, telling the life of Aristotle’s 16-year-old daughter Pythias as she struggles with her father over an arranged marriage. Her grasp of Ancient Greek thinking and society is incredibly impressive. She’s a marvelous writer.

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