With so many bank holidays peppering the British springtime, you’d be forgiven for allowing yourself a day or two to laze around with a good book or indulge in a little DIY. We’ve dedicated hours and hours to trawling awards shortlists and seeking out creative reads to hunt down and invest in for days such as these, and while we could compile an exhaustive list of the many wonderful works we’ve discovered and devoured, we’ve opted to share our highlights with you instead. These six books are the perfect set of inspirational companions for holidays, DIY days, afternoons indoors snuggled up on the sofa or simply dipping into during your commute.
1. Living with Plants
If you’ve snooped through our monthly wish lists, Geo-Fleur is a name we’re sure you’ll recognise. Purveyors of all things botanical and hosts of wonderful workshops on urban planting and growing, Geo-Fleur Founder Sophie Lee has produced a brilliant tome titled Living With Plants. Launching in a matter of days, the book is a handy guide to indoor plants and is filled with information on light, styling, plant types and care. If you fancy reading up on how to get your green juices flowing and enliven your living space, this is the ultimate read.
2. Swing Time
Zadie Smith’s latest novel Swing Time is, as we’re sure you’ll have heard, a treasure. A story exploring music, race and identity in a wonderful marriage of figurative and graphic moments, this book doesn’t violently grip you, it entreats you, requesting that you methodically and emotionally consume and consider every word on the power of what it means for a human body to move, dance, interact and exist in its own space. Set aside some time for yourself with this one, you won’t be able to draw yourself away.
3. Sunshine Spaces
Illustrator and designer Beci Orpin makes life beautiful with her compendium of things to create and repurpose at home. Sunshine Spaces is a how-to on anything from homewares and table decorations to hammocks and plant-based dyes. The book contains chapters on how to jazz up your home and bring a little of the outside indoors using natural materials like wood, fabric, rope and of course, green plants. The book makes a brilliant read for this time of year and is a great one to dip into when you’re in need of a little interiors inspiration.
4. Ice Cream for Breakfast
If it’s a light-hearted read with a healthy helping of mindfulness you’re after, try Laura Jane Williams’ Ice Cream For Breakfast. The book is a goofy yet surprisingly wise instruction manual on how to reconnect with your inner kid in order to relax and master adult life. Any book that encourages rediscovering your inner silliness is a great one by our standards and we love how this one subverts the self help book genre with wit and plenty of lols.
5. The Power
If controversial, feminist sci-fi’s your thing, Naomi Alderman’s The Power might just be your pick from this list. In this story, young girls exact terrifying power over the world with hormonal electricity that literally shoots from their fingers. Taking cues from a cannon of unsettling and necessary literature by the likes of Margaret Atwood and George Orwell, this novel is a huge, in-your-face thriller that examines faith, sexuality and power politics in the most unapologetic way.
6. Testosterone Rex
The perfect read for bedtimes, long trips and short commutes and one of our favourite books published this year, Testosterone Rex gets real in debunking the myths of our gendered minds, addressing stereotypes and explaining the true science of our hormones. Written by psychologist, professor and author Cordelia Fine, this excellent book takes idea that gendered behaviour is biologically hard wired and burns it to the ground.
Words: Emily Beeson