Brilliant books Marie Claire team members are reading right now

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  • And why you should read them too

    Welcome to Marie Claire’s Tuesday book club. Each week we’ll be bringing you a run-down of what we’re reading here at Marie Claire HQ. So if you’re after a really great holiday read, gifts for book lovers, or just want something to get you through your commute, here are the books currently making us miss our bus stop…


    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

    The Slap follows the lives of eight characters following an incident at a BBQ, where a father slaps a misbehaving child who isn’t his. It’s a controversial one that asks a lot of difficult questions. In fact, it might leave you questioning your own moral values! However, be warned: it’s pretty dirty at times, so perhaps keep it close to your chest on the tube journey home!’ – Martha Edwards, features intern



    We Were On a Break by Lindsey Kelk

    ‘It’s impossible not to think of Friends when reading the title, and We Were On a Break is just as hilarious as the show itself. The story follows the aftermath of a failed proposal and all of the relatable moments that follow. Written from both Liv and Adam’s perspectives it’s the perfect read for anyone going through a break up.’


    The Circle

    The Circle by David Eggers

    ‘If you’re in the mood for a chilling comment on modern society – this is the book for you. The plot follows Mae, a University graduate who has secured a “dream job” at The Circle, a powerful multinational tech company that’s taking over the world – essentially, Apple. Despite seeming positive, welcoming and friendly on the surface, the company gets darker with every page turn, trapping its workers and monitoring their every move, insisting it is for their convenience and protection. The 1984-esque thriller is fairly predictable but the plot is gripping, and as a warning to modern society about the dangers of technology it’s extremely effective. You will be covering up your webcam and de-activating your phone’s location tracker after reading this.’ – Jenny Proudfoot, digital writer


    City on Fire

    City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

    ‘An amazing collection of interwoven stories based around New York City in the 70s, all of which are connected to a random shooting one night in Central Park. It’s mammoth, so you’re probably better off buying it for your Kindle, but it is worth buying, especially if you’re a fan of beautifully rich prose.’ – Georgie Lane-Godfrey, freelance digital writer


    The Shepherds Life

    The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks

    ‘You might be the sort of person who regards a visit to Richmond Park as a trip to the country. You might have absolutely no idea what a gimmer is. You might have even once believed your mother when she told you hill sheep have longer back legs so they can stand up straight (naming no names here, guys). But no matter how much of an ignorant urbanite you think you are, you should read this book – a fascinating, funny and often very moving insight into the life of a Lake District sheep farmer that I enjoyed so much I kept reading bits aloud to my husband, something he didn’t find annoying at all. You will not look at a field of sheep in the same way again.’ – Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor


    Sweet Caress

    Sweet Caress by William Boyd

    ‘You know you’ve read a great book or seen a brilliant movie when days and even weeks after you are still thinking about the characters and plot lines. I raced through this book on my holiday last week and still feel totally intrigued and captivated by the lives and loves of the main protagonist, Amory Clay. Boyd has cleverly woven historical facts around his fictitious female war photographer, as she records some of the the 20th Century’s most defining moments. It’s hard not to believe this isn’t a real biography (although an episode in California near the end nearly gives the game away), especially as it features some great images from Amory’s ‘life’ (pictures apparently from Boyd’s personal collection of unknown photographs). Riveting – I’m sure this will be my book of the year.’ – Trish Halpin, editor-in-chief

    ‘A wonderful and reflective portrait of a female photographer’s romp through Berlin and New York in the 1930’s followed by her wartime experiences in London and Paris, the story is held together with her string of affairs, it captures each city and its atmosphere at that moment in time rather well.’ – Hannah Moore, acting executive fashion director


    The Last Act of Love

    The Last Act Of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

    ‘It’s pretty harrowing in parts and I have shed a few silent tears on the train over this beautiful story of sibling and family relationships pushed to their limits by a dreadful, life changing, accident that’s based on the author’s own life. It’s not your typical holiday read, but if you’re anything like me you’ll whizz through this emotional whirlwind and feel sad once it’s over.’ – Charlotte Clark, beauty writer


    The Empathy Problem

    The Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence

    ‘I absolutely loved this story of a gorgeous – but total bastard – banker called Gabriel who is diagnosed with a brain tumour and starts to become a nicer person completely against his will. Extence has such a dry, witty style of writing and (against my own will) I really began to care about this anti–hero protagonist and his unlikely romance with a busker.’ – Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor


    The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver

    ‘I’m a big fan of Shriver’s writing, as she always seems to have an interesting and very pertinent take on contemporary American life. That said, it’s always quite frightening, and this look at how four generations of one family cope when the American economy collapses and society starts to implode is chilling – but entertaining too. It’s a slow start, as Shriver needs to set up all the economic theories about how this can (and could) happen (the level of research is remarkable) but I’m racing through it now. Any other Shriver fans out there will be pleased to know she is the key note speaker at Marie Claire’s first creative writing weekend in October.’Trish Halpin, editor-in-chief

    The Girls by Emma Cline

    ‘If you’re in any way familiar with the story of the Manson murders (or frankly even if you’re not) this book is an absolute must-read. It’s very tightly written so if you’ve got a good stretch of sun lounger time you’ll gobble it up in just a few days. ‘The girls’ is the nickname for cult-leader and murderer Charles Manson’s gang of female followers, most of whom were in their teens. Cline’s novel provides a fictionalised account of one of these ‘girls’ who spends a summer at the ranch and becomes intertwined with its inhabitants. I could not put it down.’ – Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor

    The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi

    ‘I actually bought this as a gift for a friend because I wanted to read it. Chimamanda is generally just a great human and I’m totally on board with everything she does – this book being no exception. It’s a collection of short stories and the characters are full of life, flaws and all.’ – Sunil Makan, multimedia editor


    I Found You by Lisa Jewell

    ‘I couldn’t put this book down on holiday but didn’t finish it all and really can’t wait to carry on reading it. There’s a really good pace of build-up as the story unfolds and it’s a brilliant mix of mystery and romance. I can feel a twist coming on at the end – another brilliant read from Lisa Jewell.’ – Ali Williams, editorial business manager


    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

    ‘I decided to take The Girl on the Train on holiday with me last week because I’ve heard great things and I wanted to read the book before the film comes out later this year. The psychological thriller is a quick and easy read, following Rachel, a divorced and unemployed alcoholic who has key information to a missing person investigation. She soon gets in way over her head, becoming far more involved than she ever expected. The plot is gripping and easy to get into, making it the perfect holiday read – I read most of it on the plane.’ – Jenny Proudfoot, digital writer


    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

    ‘You’ll need to invest a bit of time in this book – it’s long and not really suited to stop-start reading – and a portion of the subject matter is pretty devastating (someone I know actually stopped reading their copy on public transport in case they started blubbing), but it’s also an utterly beautiful story of four friends’ lives stretching over a thirty-year period. Hanaghihara writes people so insightfully that you’ll feel like you’ve known the characters forever after just a few pages. I finished it three weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking of the lovely Jude St Francis.’ – Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor

    Reading now