As we begin to switch our brains from business to pleasure, the RUSSH editors contemplate the books they're packing for the summer holidays. From tackling our 30 before 30 booklist to reading Patricia Highsmith's entire oeuvre, these are the titles that have made the cut, the books on our summer reading list for 2023.
Creative Studio and Campaign Manager
The one time of year I actually get enough down time (boredom) to read is summer, and so I have the goal of reading one single book. The contenders are currently Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, The White Album by Joan Didion or Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, which I have started and stopped a few times. I am also semi-curious to read Normal People because I love the TV show, but maybe that is retroactive to read it after watching? You tell me.
My summer reading list is always much more intentional than the rest of the year. Without the regular stresses of everyday life it’s less about escapism and more about the mentality I want to have moving into a new year.
The first time I read Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women I found it so beautifully powerful that I told myself that I was going to re-read it every year. It’s the kind of book that feels like soul food to me and I’m all about that during the summer months.
I was also reminded recently that I’ve not read almost any of the classics including the majority of our 30 books to read before 30 list and I'm therefore diving in with The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar also sits in this category for me and I’ll be rounding out the list with a new release that I know everyone will be talking about – Trent Dalton’s Lola in the Mirror.
I’ve been a bit slack when it comes to my reading pile as of late, so I’m relishing the opportunity to get stuck into some good books this summer. I’ve been trying my best to track down a copy of Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen, and Franny Choi’s poetry collection The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On. I’ve heard incredible things about Olivie Blake’s Alone With You in the Ether (another book I’m struggling to get my hands on IRL), and for something a little more classic, Alex Garland’s The Beach.
Executive Fashion Director
I love to mix up my reading between classics, biographies and novels so I always have something for whatever my mood/setting calls for. This year I have a decent pile to get through over the holidays, including Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley, (I just finished Strangers On A Train, so on a roll with her); Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh; Lee, the Lee Radziwill biography; What Artist’s Wear by Charlie Porter and the new Britney memoir. I tend to read an Agatha Christie over the holidays too, nothing like a murder in an English country village to get the spirits high.
Assistant to Editor in Chief
I am torn on what my next book should be after A Little Life left me distraught. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy explores the relationship between a sick mother and her daughter and I have a feeling it might be a tear-jerker. But so is my second recommendation, Fleabag: the Scriptures. I saw the TV show and I have lots of questions that the script might be able to answer.
Arts & Culture Editor
Around this time of year my brain hurts and I don't think I could read a single sentence more. Then I get over myself, which is helped by the list of memoirs I've promised myself I'll read over the summer break. Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus is on my list, so is Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black by Cookie Mueller. At some point, I would also like to sneak in Lucia Berlin's A Manual for Cleaning Women, Cool for You by Eileen Myles and Strangers at the Port by Lauren Aimee Curtis, but I admit I'm probably being ambitious.