10 captivating summer reads

Style influencers reveal the books that gripped them – from moving memoirs to outstanding novels

From left: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love and Art in Venice by Judith Mackrell. Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle by Mike Horn
From left: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love and Art in Venice by Judith Mackrell. Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle by Mike Horn

Rose Uniacke, interior decorator and furniture designer

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout is such a beautiful story of the complexities of love, particularly between a mother and a daughter. I went on to read everything else she had written.” penguinrandomhouse.com.

Philippe Delhotal, watchmaker

Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle by the South African-born Swiss explorer Mike Horn is a great read. I love the mountains and anything to do with the outdoors, so I found his incredible adventures fascinating.” us.macmillan.com.

From left: Stoner by John Williams. Barkskins by Annie Proulx
From left: Stoner by John Williams. Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Laurence Dacade, footwear designer

“I loved The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love and Art in Venice by Judith Mackrell. It’s about three famously eccentric women from different countries – Italy, the UK and the USA – who successively owned what is now known as the Guggenheim Palace. I love the way it portrays these strong, fascinating women.” thamesandhudson.com.

Isabel Ettedgui, owner of Connolly

Stoner by John Williams was passed on to me by my daughter. It was written in the early 1960s and it’s about the life of an academic. There’s something very true in its sense of place and atmosphere. The writing is beautiful and so touching in a very low-key way.” penguin.co.uk.

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Paul de Zwart, founder of furniture brand Another Country

Barkskins by Annie Proulx is a brilliant book. It tells the story of two French immigrants to Canada and their descendants over the course of three centuries, drawing on the fascinating history of how the continent was settled.” simonandschuster.co.uk.

Bill Bensley, architect and designer

“I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential by the late chef, writer and TV personality Anthony Bourdain. He was a seriously talented person and his behind-the-scenes writing about the world of restaurant kitchens is fascinating.” bloomsbury.com.

From left: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre
From left: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre

Olivia von Halle, fashion designer

The Handmaid’s Tale is so relevant to women now – and Margaret Atwood is a genius. It’s much better than the TV version.” penguin.co.uk.

Ben Evans, co-founder of the London Design Festival

“I recommend The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre. The story of Britain’s most important Cold War double agent, it reads like a fiction thriller yet it’s all true.” penguin.co.uk.

From left: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance
From left: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance

Patrick Grant, fashion designer

“The dialogue of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is funny and pithy, and Thomas Cromwell’s work ethic really resonates with me. I spend 18-hour days managing five different businesses, so I find his juggling act very familiar.” harpercollins.co.uk.

Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, co-founder of skincare brand Omorovicza

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance is uplifting, interesting and funny. He grew up in a very poor family originally from the Appalachians – missing teeth, gun-on-the-front-porch kind of thing. He worked hard and, after Marine Corps, went to Yale Law School; I have no doubt Vance will become a senator one day, if not president.” harpercollins.co.uk.

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