Now I love books, and before I had kids my husband and I were like two book worms! We would bring them on holiday, go to bed reading and we just loved getting stuck into a really good read and lately especially during lockdown I have come to find my love for books again. I mean sure I can’t finish a book as quick as I’d like to but I’m going to bed reading and finding gaps in my day to get some good reading done and it feels good for the soul! And after sharing books on my Instagram stories I had a lot of questions about books and thought it was a good idea to bring in the super stylish and book addict Jess from The Book Case Edit (here) and get her to share her favourite books to read and some quick win books for those busy mums!
Tell me about yourself..
Ciao, my name is Jess, I’m a 20 something Project Manager who specialises in Marketing and Customer Experience. The Italian heritage means you’ll always be able to hear me above a crowd, and yes, I do use my hands to talk.
I’ve always been very driven in pursuit of a healthy and busy career, and therefore on the flipside have always needed to find something that gives my mind a break. This comes in the form of time with family and friends. I am an avid foodie, and pre-lockdown spent many evenings and weekends exploring the best of London restaurants or wandering round some of the Cotswolds fine dining venues.
I started ‘The Bookcase Edit’ as I wanted a space to share recommendations and connect with other readers. I often share my latest reads with my personal Instagram and love to know what others have read and enjoyed. Reading is my ‘downtime’ it’s about the only time I can switch the world off and escape into the story on the pages.
What was the last book you read?
I re-read Becoming by Michelle Obama.
I’m guilty of returning to my favourites every now and again. I’m not sure why, but I find comfort in returning to the stories that I know and love, there’s a familiarity about it that I find relaxing
What did you think of the book?
I thought this book was such a wonderful insight into a woman I deeply admire and am inspired by. I had this book on pre-order before it was released and powered through it in a day.
Following the release of Netflix’s documentary ‘Becoming’ I wanted to go back and re-read.
Being the First Lady of the United States makes you an untouchable public figure, someone the world sees but does not know. I always felt that the Obama’s let the world in as much as they could – so for me this book was like seeing behind the curtain, getting to know what shaped one of the most famous women in the world. From her upbringing, to her career, and her journey into marriage and motherhood. She talks very openly about the compromises and sacrifices she has made throughout her life, and how she has adapted and grown, as a partner but even more so as a strong and determined woman.
Which book would you recommend for an easy read for someone who is a little busy but enjoys reading
This is going to hurt – by Adam Kay. Adam was a junior doctor at the turn of the millennium and documented his early years and experiences in his private journals. He shares stories and anecdotes from his time on the wards, the people he came across and the situations he was in. It really sheds a light on the humans behind the scrubs but does so in a dark comical way. He covers very serious things, in a sort of non-serious way, which really appealed to my sense of humour.
This book is a collection of journal entries, so it can be picked up and put down after each chapter, and you don’t lose the flow of the book. It makes it very easy if you don’t have the time to sit for a few hours and read.
I found this book witty and addictive, it had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
What poetry book would you recommend?
I have quite a collection of poetry books, it’s always been a passion of mine. I was quite embarrassed about that when I was younger – it wasn’t very ‘cool’ during my teenage years.
But with adulthood comes a refreshing freedom and sense of self, and I always have at least one poetry book on my bedside table.
For modern poetry, I would highly recommend Nikita Gill – Fierce Fairytale.
Nikita is an incredibly talented author, who’s poems are beautifully written and incredibly empowering for women. There is a sense of female solidarity within the pages. Gill amassed a huge following on Instagram which resulted in the publication of several bodies of work.
Which book is your favourite book or favourite type of book to read?
This question for me is like asking a parent which their favourite child is. Perhaps not quite the same but you get the gist.
Throughout my twenties I’ve certainly leaned more towards books written by modern women, specifically about their own experiences. You’ll often see me talking about Dolly Alderton’s – Everything I know about Love & Beck Dorey-Stein’s – From the corner of the Oval office.
Both women share tales of their twenties and allow the reader into some of their most personal feelings and experiences. They share their embarrassments, their anxieties, their heartbreak and their friendships. Both books are very relatable for women and equal measures reassuring and inspirational.
I have always had a thing for the ‘classics’ – since reading Wuthering Heights during my late teens, I’ve worked my way through many prolific pieces of literature. Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dante’s Inferno are a few of my favourites. My mother always said I had a flare for the dramatics, and the classics certainly attest to that.
Alternatively, I am a sucker for a crime thriller. A good detective novel and murder mystery can have me occupied for hours. I’m guilty of always trying to guess the ending before I get to it, and become enthralled in a plot that unfolds as you turn the pages.
What book has got you through Lockdown the most?
I’ve had the luxury of time during lockdown, so have gotten through quite the reading list. I couldn’t say one book has had my total focus, but rather a collection.
I’ve always had a diverse bookcase – but there is always room to expand. What is going on in the world around us right now can’t be ignored, and I’ve always believed reading to be a main source of education. It would be ignorant not to apply that thinking to issues that are rightly front and centre. I’ve used the lockdown to bolster my bookcase further with books from prolific black authors, to better understand their experiences and point of view. It has been fantastic to see so many recommendations being shared across social media, and seeing talented black authors take their place on No.1# best seller lists.
Books new to the bookcase:
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
I am not your baby mother – Candice Brathwaite
Can you list your top 5 books to recommend for reading?
I was recently asked this by one of my followers, and they asked specifically for a mixture of genres – which I loved. Variety is the spice of life after all. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I change it daily because there really are so many different books that I’d recommend.
Here’s my top 5 for today:
I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
From the Corner of the Oval Office by Beck Dorey-Stein
I always know I’ve come across a good book when I close it with a sigh of exhaustion, of all the emotions experienced. That may sound odd to some, but I think you leave a bit of yourself on the pages, and the story imprints itself on you. It’s a value exchange of sorts.
Hopefully you will find an escape within some of the above suggestions, or it simply inspires you to go and find a story that hooks you in.