Jill Mansell is a busy best-selling author, whose latest novel is A Walk in the Park. According to her website, she is a full-time writer. Or rather, as she notes of herself on the site, “She watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marvelling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write.” In the midst of all that busyness, Mansell somehow found the time to share with Chatelaine her suggestions for great summer reads.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, $15. The novel this year that gripped me by the throat and wouldn’t let go until I’d finished it was Me Before You, which has been a mega-seller over here in the UK. If you haven’t read it, you really must—it’s just wonderful, thought-provoking and absolutely heartbreaking. One of my favourite books EVER.
The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff, $23. Another lovely novel is The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff, who writes beautifully and whose books I always look forward to reading. This one is about a portrait painter, the secrets of the people she meets through her work and the further secrets within her own family. The writing is thoughtful, elegant, humorous and affecting—just gorgeous.
Mary Quant Autobiography by Mary Quant, $37. Now for non-fiction, and I’m not sure how well known the designer Mary Quant is in Canada, but can unreservedly recommend her autobiography anyway—it’s fantastic, a complete roller-coaster. Quant is a national treasure; she’s also one of those people to whom amazing things keep happening. Some of the events she describes in this book seem unbelievable, yet we know they really did happen. She knew everyone, defined an era and had the most extraordinary adventures along the way. Plus, she invented pantyhose—hooray!
Eleven by Mark Watson, $17. And finally, a new discovery for me is the work of Mark Watson, a British stand-up comedian. I knew he wrote novels but had never read any. Having just finished his newest book, The Knot, I’m blown away by his writing. This wonderful book isn’t out just yet, so I can’t tell you to rush out and buy it, but I’m about to read his last one, titled Eleven, and cannot wait. I know I’m going to love it.