Dolly Alderton Recommends Her Top 5 Reads of 2018
Christened this generation’s Nora Ephron, former Sunday Times Style dating columnist Dolly Alderton hit home this year with her relatable, frank and achingly funny memoir - shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year - Everything I Know about Love. Here, exclusively for Waterstones, she rounds up her own favourite reads of 2018.
I quite literally could not put this book down. I read it in one day while I was in Paris on holiday on my own and it came everywhere with me - in the queue for the Picasso museum, on the metro, eating chocolate mousse at Chez Janou. I was utterly compelled by both the story and Rooney’s vividly formed characters - a book about the heart-wrenching disappointments and lessons learnt while growing up, the ever-changing nature of social status and the identities we create and mutate from adolescence. The central relationship between two school friends and their on-off romance and everlasting tie to each-other was one of my favourites I’ve ever read.
An extraordinary, raw, mystical, novel about a female sex and love addict desperately looking for peace and struggling to rid of her demons. It is almost a modern-day parable, telling a story of what happens when the only thing that makes you feel present, alive, complete and fulfilled is the romantic gaze of another. I found it so confronting, I dreamt about it every night for a week after I finished it.
My Thoughts Exactly by Lily AllenAn admirably frank memoir written by Lily Allen about a life of extreme highs and lows. It is a privilege to be invited into her straightforward, acerbically funny, vulnerable account of a dysfunctional childhood, soaring fame, falling in love, unbearable grief and ultimate hope. I loved it.
A darkly hilarious book about a woman who appears to have it all – beautiful looks, a perfect Manhattan apartment and seemingly endless money. But in reality, she is in a state of grief, existential exhaustion, identity crisis, nihilism and capitalist malaise. A crooked therapist (and one of the funniest characters I’ve ever met in the pages of a book) prescribes her a dose of drugs that will give her a year of hibernation from the world. It is an addictive read about the end of 90s decadence, a sense of foreboding unrest and the importance and complexities of retreating from the world.
I adored this memoir by Deborah Levy about becoming single in her sixties, after a long, long marriage. Through delicate, thoughtful prose spun as finely as silk, she tells the story of her new life alone, her new home, her new friends and neighbours as well as reflecting on her past. She explores feminism and the roles of wife, mother, daughter and writer with carefully observed anecdotes and mind-stretching metaphors. I have folded down every other page to mark every time I read a sentence that both challenged and nourished me.
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