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. 

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. 

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