Hello everyone! I am very excited about today’s post as it is something I have been thinking about writing for such a long time. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive on instagram is what am I reading. I love to read and aside from going to the gym or walking my two pugs, Daphne & Edith, it’s pretty much my only hobby. Nothing relaxes me more than putting my cashmere socks on and curling up with a good book, my dogs and a cup of tea..and some Ombar chocolate!! I am a much happier person when I read, and I find when I scroll too much on my phone and neglect my books my mind feels a bit frazzled and sapped of inspiration. I am pretty sure I am not alone in feeling this so I thought I would write a series of blog posts about my favourite books by genre and then periodically I will add a new post when I have some new recommendations. I only recommend books I really really love and would rate 4 and 5 stars.

So for the first instalment I thought I would round up some of my absolute favourite fiction however there are two missing, Any Human Heart by William Boyd and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, because I gave my copies to friends! But I love these two books and authors and wanted to make sure they got a mention. OK now for the recommendations…

First up Victor and Lucy by Edgar Lodato. I read this last Summer and devoured it in about 3 days. I don’t want to give anything away but it starts out as a domestic novel and then really turns into something else so fascinating and gripping that I just didn’t see coming. I can’t say much more than that about the plot without giving it away. I really adored this book and I was so pleased when I found it. Originally I picked it up in a lovely book shop in South Kensington and then reminded myself how many books I had on my bedside table so I didn’t buy it. Only a few weeks later did I realise I wanted to buy it but hadn’t noted the name of it. I then spent ages trawling the internet to try and find it and eventually I did! If you like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (more on which later) then I think you’ll love this. I am surprised there wasn’t more hype around it as it’s so good and just such good writing. I loved it!

I loved this short novel which reminded me of William Boyd’s work. It’s such a beautiful, touching story and very readable. I read it in one sitting when I had a quiet weekend in January and I just adored it. Highly recommend.

William Boyd is up there as one of my favourite authors, and lucky for me he is quite prolific. At least in recent years I feel like he has written a new book every year which to me seems a lot but maybe that is because I am sitting here wondering when Donna Tartt will have a new book out!! Sweet Caress is is hugely readable, and classic William Boyd in that the story spans the entire life of the protagonist. It’s a bit like Any Human Heart but the main character is female although that is a rather deductive of me because it is a wonderful story in its own right and differentiates from Any Human Heart in lots of ways. What I love so much about his writing is how he transports you to different eras and places in such detail, and it helps that he often writes about Scotland which I ,of course, love!

Next on the list is Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings which is a story about friendship, growing up and the complexity of relationships. I loved her writing style which I found quite unique and different from the usual authors I read. I found it really easy to get into and definitely want to read more of her work.

A lovely friend, who also happens to be a literary agent, recommended this book, by Jess Walter, to me. We seem to have very similar taste in books so I always read whatever she tells me! I just loved this romanic and touching story. It’s the perfect summer read and I’ve lent my copy to so many friends and family – you can see it is quite well thumbed!!

OK now onto what is possibly my desert island book/favourite book ever. It’s a tough call between this and The Secret History.. and Any Human Heart. I love this book! I nearly didn’t include it because I feel like everyone has already read it but you never know! It’s pretty hefty but don’t let that put you off or intimidate you. The premise and opening chapter are brilliant and I just adore her writing – every sentence is so perfectly crafted. I really don’t want to give away too much but all I’ll say is read it! I’m jealous you get to read it for the first time!

The next book was a new author for me last year and I just loved this story! I found it unputdownable and felt deeply engrossed in the character’s lives. It’s moving, touching, and all the things the reviews say on the front cover.Really really recommend, such clever story-telling and a satisfying ending. I’ve been on a book buying ban since December as I had so many to get through. I’ve finally cleared the backlog so I’ve just bought ‘A Ladder to the Sky’ which is John Boyne’s most recent novel – can’t wait to read more from this author.

I picked this next book up in Penn Station in NYC en route to a meeting with Anthropologie in Philadelphia. I’d heard so much about it but for some reason it had slipped off my radar until I saw it in Hudson News! I was so pleased we had a two hour round trip train ride and I really got stuck into this complicated domestic novel. It’s so well written and the characters have so much depth to them. I felt really engrossed in their intertwining stories. It’s an emotional journey worth taking.

I’m late to the Sally Rooney party but I loved Normal People! I felt it brought to light some really interesting subjects and issues, and even though the ending wasn’t perhaps what I had hoped, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished it, which I think is a sign of a good book. I also found her writing style really refreshing and readable. Definitely recommend this young love story.

I hope you enjoyed this feature and that you find something to add to your reading list. Please do send me any suggestions or ideas you have for how I can improve this feature!  Send me a message on instagram or email info@rosiesugden.com.

I’ll be posting again soon with a roundup of recommendations so stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Rosie x