Welcome to Shelf Life, ELLE.com’s book column, where authors share their unforgettable reads. If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel good, move you, and maybe even make you laugh, consider a recommendation from our writers, like you (while you’re still here), love to the books. Maybe one of their favorite titles will be yours.
Maggie O’Farrell’s last book, Hamnetis set in 16th century Stratford and focuses on the life of Shakespeare’s son who died at the age of 11. For his new and ninth book, Wedding Photography (Knopf), he went south to Florence and Ferrara at the age of 16 and focused on the life of the Duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici. He also wrote a memoir detailing his 17 brushes with death, including a childhood illness that left him bedridden for a year, a plane crash, and a knife wielding knife. around his neck, and for a small fee, two children’s books. Hamnetwhich won the National Book Critics Circle Award and Women’s Prize for Fiction, is being adapted into a film with Sam Mendes as producer.
Born in Northern Ireland, O’Farrell wanted to be a composer; studied English at Cambridge; studied English in Hong Kong; an administrative assistant at Freedom on Sunday; she is the middle of three sisters; He has three cats named Moses, Selkie, and Gingko; buried a medicinal garden (including valerian, comfrey, chamomile), that’s right falconry with the kestrel, and one work as a hotel waitress, where a friend dares her to try on a guest’s dress (Chanel), the guest will just walk away.
Likes: yoga, swimming, the Salar de Uyuni Salt in Bolivia, Radiohead, the National Museum of Ireland. See his book collection below.
The book is…
… it’s too late for me:
I tore my way through Virginia Feito Mrs. March, a disturbing, twisty, Highsmith-ian story about a woman who believes her husband committed murder. It has one of the most interesting and unbelievable stories I’ve seen in a long time.
… sitting on my nightstand:
A certified copy of AM Homes’ latest publication, Interpretation, which I really want to start. I’m a fan of Homes: his books are sometimes shocking, always beguiling.
…I recently bought:
Claire Keegan short story collections, because I loved his novels with a passion. Her stories are as romantic and beautiful as her stories.
…I read in one sitting:
I sat down one evening to re-read the opening pages of Alice Walker The color is red. I sat there at 2 o’clock, crying at the end. I’ve read it many times before but Celie’s voice is so powerful and fast that I can’t stop.
…I often recommend:
Alice Munro Selected stories for each is a lesson in holiness and grace.
… has the best opening line:
Anthony Burgess must World Powers: “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was lying down with my catamite when Ali told me that the Archbishop had come to see me.” It has everything you need from a front line, and more.
… made me laugh out loud:
Nora Ephron Heart Heart I don’t laugh – every time I read it. I get something about his axis between danger and attention every now and then. “Overly tall” is the best insult ever written.
… there is the most important result:
That’s a tough one. How about John Fowles The French Lieutenant’s Wifewho pulls off the magic of getting two?
…I re-read too much:
Maybe a throw in between Jane Eyre, Anna Kareninaand Molly Keane’s Good Workall of which I recommend.
… surprise me:
Abi Daré The Girl with a Loud Voice A shocking, revealing, and uplifting story about a young girl who is bought into marriage with an older man. Adunni’s spirit is spiritual and fearless.
…I would like to sign as the author:
Chaucer of the Canterbury Tales. I want to meet him. I think he’s a great team.
…I asked for one Christmas as a child:
A complete set of Tove Jansson Moomin books, to me now. They have the original cover art and it was a live show in the 1980s, in his biography, Jansson is described as “living alone on a Finnish island,” when he lived with his longtime girlfriend, Tuulikki Pietilä.
Riza Cruz is a New York-based editor and writer.