Bookworm, Juliet Trickey, works in publishing and content creation. When she’s doing neither of those things, you’ll find her in the company of a good book. Leafing through a novel per week, she’s the kind of gal you can reliably turn to for excellent literary recommendations.
So what does she look for in a book? Fiction over non-fiction, Juliet says. And realistically depicted emotion over an action-filled plot. Books that teach us about contemporary society and its challenges also tend to catch her interest.
“I just love losing myself in a story,” Juliet tells us, “Whether it’s through the plot or through the world that the author has built.”
She also loves the ritual of reading. Her favourite reading spot is under a blanket on the sofa. Rain preferably pouring outside. And a pot of English breakfast tea within reach.
“Reading helps me maintain a routine of self-care,” she tells us. “It encourages me to be comfortable spending time by myself too.
“I think reading can slow people down. We’re always rushing from one thing to the next! Reading requires focus, patience and time - all things which are increasingly being squeezed out of our busy lifestyles.”
If you fancy slowing things down and picking up a book you just don’t want to put down, read on to discover Juliet’s all-time favourites. These are the tales and tomes that have defined different stages of her life so far. And all books that you should add to your to-read list!
Juliet's All-Time Favourite Books
by Gustave Flaubert
The book that helped me pick a degree
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]“I read this book in my final years at school and would credit the study of this book (and my wonderful teacher) as the reason why I chose to study English Literature at university.
“Madame Bovary is a literary classic about a bored and dissatisfied housewife who seeks escape from reality in fantasies and affairs, only to find out that these, too, are ultimately unsatisfying.
“It’s a fantastic book but, even more than that, it was a clear example to me of the depths and richness of literature. And the great appreciation we can take from books through close study.”
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The book that introduced me to my favourite author
“Ever since I read this book in 2014, I have considered Adichie my favourite author of all time. I was blown away by this book upon first reading it. And immediately read my way through her other books too.
“Americanah follows two characters, Obinze and Imuela, as they fall in love in Nigeria but then take different directions through life, each with their own successes and challenges, only to cross paths again many years later…
“The way Adichie writes, the way she builds characters and the way she so accurately captures the nuances of society make her writing just outstanding to me.”
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith
The book that reminds me of my travels
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]“I read this book in 2019 on a trip I took with my husband to the USA in the spring. We visited New York and were staying in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, so I thought it the perfect time to read this book.
“It’s the coming-of-age story of Francie, born into poverty in Brooklyn. The book follows her and her family as they fight to survive and make a better life for themselves.
“This book is exquisitely written. The scene setting is stunning, the character depictions are so true to life and honest, and the writing itself is just mesmerising.
“But the book also acts an amazing memento of my trip away. Any time I pick it up, I’m reminded of cafe-hopping around Manhattan and falling in love with reading all over again.”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz
The book that sparked a lifelong interest
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]“I studied this book in my final year at the University of York and I remember thinking that I had never read anything like it before.
It’s the story of one young man, Oscar, an overweight Dominican-American nerd, set against the backdrop of his family’s complicated history and the Dominican Republic’s brutal legacy.
“The use of Spanish within the text without translation was so eye-opening to me. I was fascinated by this merging of languages and cultures within literature.
“The themes of the book – identity, belonging and heritage – also propelled me towards my dissertation subject. And they’ve influenced my reading choices ever since. It’s amazing the influence one book can have on you if you read it at the right moment.”
Places I Stopped on the Way Home
by Meg Fee
The book that helped me through my twenties
“I read this book a couple of years ago at a time when I wasn’t reading much non-fiction at all. I’d ended up spontaneously going to the book launch in London with one of my closest friends and picked up the book that night after hearing the author speak.
“It’s a memoir about a young actress finding herself and her place in the world amidst the noise of New York City. I didn’t really know what to expect upon reading it.
“What I found was an incredibly moving, relatable and true-to-life depiction of life in your twenties, the joys and struggles of living in a big city, and the uncertainties and complexities of this ‘defining decade’ of life.
“The way Meg writes about friendship, success, and most importantly love, and the small gestures it contains, is so profound.
“I cried so many times reading this book, and have underlined so many beautiful paragraphs that I could never lend my copy to anyone else as it would feel far, far too personal.”