Reading lists

What Caitlin Moran is reading this summer: nature writing, recipes and some new feminist classics

The journalist and bestselling author talks us through her seasonal must-reads, from Robert Macfarlane's Underland to Ottolenghi's Simple

Caitlin Moran

I like my summer reads to be a combination of immersive literary joy, and some ‘deep thinky’ stuff - so I can start the autumn having finally learned about buzzwords and phrases I’ve been carelessly chucking about willy-nilly on social media since Christmas. I want to end summer slightly tanned, deeply delighted, and clever.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez

In a world of talkers, Criado-Perez is a do-er: first the campaign to have a woman on our banknotes, and now this: groundbreaking, mind-blowing research on how the world is literally made for men, and not women: seatbelts, heart-attack care, central heating. In these design of these, we are invisible.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Caned off Normal People in one giddy evening of exclaiming ‘Fuck! This is so good! over and over; so now going to go back and hoover up Rooney’s first novel, too. Her writing is as glorious and pleasing as watching swifts hunting overhead. She just dives onto truths. 

The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel

I know it’s not out until next year, but I’m going to spend a portion of the summer just imagining how good it will be: like when you make yourself giddy with excitement thinking about Christmas as a kid. Actually, I might re-read Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, in preparation.

Underland by Robert Macfarlane

Macfarlane writes with strong, endlessly bendable magic: he can describe a mountain, a river, a sunset – things that have been categorically over-described in the last centuries – and make it feel like the first. He has Nabokov’s knack of being able to use a single word – ‘violet’, ‘spire’ – perfectly. His books are the Bible of nature. 

Follow Robert Macfarlane to the furthest corners of the globe....



'You'd be crazy not to read this book' The Sunday Times

A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century

In Underland, Robert Macfarlane takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland's glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet's past and future. Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, Underland is a work of huge range and power, and a remarkable new chapter in Macfarlane's long-term exploration of landscape and the human heart.


'Macfarlane has invented a new kind of book, really a new genre entirely'
The Irish Times

'He is the great nature writer, and nature poet, of this generation' Wall Street Journal

'Macfarlane has shown how utterly beautiful a brilliantly written travel book can still be' Observer on The Old Ways

'Irradiated by a profound sense of wonder... Few books give such a sense of enchantment; it is a book to give to many, and to return to repeatedly' Independent on Landmarks

'It sets the imagination reading a prose Odyssey sprinkled with imagist poems' The Sunday Times on The Old Ways

Don’t Hold My Head Down by Lucy-Ann Holmes

The No More Page 3 campaigner does a simple, clever, intriguing thing: writes a biography of her sexuality. Realising she’s in her thirties and has never had amazing sex, and is semi-addicted to porn, she re-traces her formative sexual influences, then tries to reboot her sexuality with a series of experiments (sex-toys, BDSM, orgies, tantra). A breezy, friendly, quietly revolutionary book every women, young or old, should read, whilst shouting ‘Oh my God! I thought that was just me!’, or ‘Maybe I should put something up my bum?’

Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

I enjoy boasting about how easy I find Ottolenghi’s recipes. I just don’t understand what everyone’s on about when the moan how difficult they are. ‘There’s so many ingredients!’ GOOD. LOTS OF THINGS ARE AWESOME. ‘But how do we find nduja, or ras-al-hanout?’ WHERE YOU FIND EVERYTHING - ON THE INTERNET. JUST PRESS A BUTTON AND IT WILL ARRIVE TOMORROW. BUCK UP. COOK DELICIOUS THINGS. 

Ottolenghi SIMPLE
Ottolenghi SIMPLE

The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. Winner at The National Book Awards 2018

Everything you love about Ottolenghi, made simple.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s award-winning recipes are always a celebration: an unforgettable combination of abundance, taste and surprise. Ottolenghi SIMPLE is no different, with 130 brand-new dishes that contain all the inventive elements and flavour combinations that Ottolenghi is loved for, but with minimal hassle for maximum joy.

Bursting with colourful photography, Ottolenghi SIMPLE showcases Yotam’s standout dishes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy – whether that’s getting wonderful food on the table in under 30 minutes, using just one pot to make a delicious meal, or a flavoursome dish that can be prepared ahead and then served when you’re ready.

These brilliant, flavour-forward dishes are all SIMPLE in at least one (but very often more than one) way:

S – short on time: less than 30 minutes
I – 10 ingredients or less
M – make ahead
P – pantry
L – lazy
E – easier than you think

Ottolenghi SIMPLE is the stunning new cookbook we have all been wishing for: Yotam Ottolenghi’s vibrant food made easy.

Buy the SIMPLE 10 ingredients at

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