5 Books to Curl up with During the Rains
The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani
Fact: Leila Slimani is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. But that’s not why you should pick up this novel. Translated to English by Sam Taylor, Slimani’s novel won the Prix Goncourt (the highest literary honour in France) when it was published there in 2016. The book is equal parts engaging and disturbing. In fact, The New Yorker dubbed it “the novel that conquered France”. It begins with good-nanny-gone-bad Louise having murdered her two young charges and takes us back to the moment when she entered Myriam’s perfect little family.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
Weisberger picks up where The Devil Wears Prada left off. Except this time it takes us to Miranda Priestly’s assistant, Emily Charlton, and her journey. Having left Runway magazine, Emily – now a celebrity stylist and image consultant – works from Los Angeles. A high-profile publicity disaster takes her to Greenwich, where she joins forces with her old friend Miriam and a former supermodel model Karolina. The satire on suburban life takes place in a universe where the linen is Frette, the candles are Diptyque and Soul Cycle is the hottest obsession. Together, they attempt damage control that takes them on road trips and to desert spas, and right back into Priestly’s office (for the cameo we’ve all been waiting for).
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Smith returns with essays previously published in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. It features sections like In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free. It covers a vast cross section topics recent history – everything from Brexit to Bieber. Smith’s fascinations are wide ranging, and hard to box. She flits from dissecting the allure Facebook to 18th-century German portraitist Balthasar Denner with remarkable ease. Take your cue from the title, and indeed feel free to jump chapters and dig deeper.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
“If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?” With this premise, Benjamin has you hooked from the get go of this sprawling family saga. A travelling psychic passing through New York’s Lower East Side claims to predict how anyone’s death will play out. Armed with this knowledge, four adolescents get ahead with their lives. Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; the eldest, Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. With these four at the centre, Benjamin explores contrasting themes of destiny and choice, reality and illusion.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
An autistic woman decides to take lessons on sex from an escort. Stella is adept at her job of creating predictive algorithms. Relationships? Not quite. This is where Michael steps in. Stella knows how to use her particular challenges to her advantage on the work front. But matters of the heart soon get a little tangled when their professional arrangement threatens to become much more. Hoang’s frothy romance novel is not without depth.