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Dolly Alderton Recommends Her Top 5 Reads of 2018

Posted on 17th December 2018 by Martha Greengrass

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.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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. 

£14.99
Hardback
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An exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel, and it tells us about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege, confirming Sally Rooney as an accomplished observer of our contemporary life.

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The Pisces by Melissa Broder

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.

£16.99
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A sharply written satire on captalist America and a thoroughly modern - and eye-openingly graphic - erotic fantasy, The Pisces is a smart novel that's frank in its skewering of the angst, unease and ennui of twenty-first century life. Merciless in its black humour, it is a blackly brilliant depiction of a woman's life set on fire by the siren-call of a seductive, mythical escape.

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My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

An 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. 

£20.00
Hardback
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So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change - for the better. This is my story.
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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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.

£12.99
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A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman's experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided by one of the worst psychiatrists in literature. Told with the same unique combination of candour, biting black humour and insightful understanding that caught readers’ attention in her novel Eileen, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is shock-factor fiction at its finest.

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The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy

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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A Guardian Best Book of the 21st CenturyThe audacious and elegiac second installment in her 'living autobiography' on writing and womanhood, from the twice-Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home'Extraordinary and beautiful, suffused with wit and razor sharp insights' Financial TimesFollowing the acclaimed Things I Don't W...

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