Culture

FOUR SEASONS, FOUR BOOKS

Author of our January book, Birds Art Life Death, Kyo Maclear shares her favourite reads for every season: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Kyo Maclear’s Birds Art Life Death was our January book – and one which resonated with so many of you.  Taking readers through a year of “The Art of Noticing the Small and Significant”, it’s a thought-provoking book – certain to encourage introspection and self-reflection. It’s a novel to enjoy all year round – but one that feels particularly relevant in January. So we’re delighted to have Maclear herself sharing her favourite reads for every season…

Spring: Lucy – Jamaica Kincaid

A short novel about a young Caribbean woman who goes to the United States to work as an au pair for a wealthy white family. Its deeper themes of displacement, domestic work, mother/daughter bonds are developed beautifully. I will never see daffodils the same way again.

Summer: The Waves – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf called this dazzling novel a “play-poem.” It’s best experienced as you might experience the sea on a hot summer day—via surrender. Let its meanings tumble over you, ebbing, flowing, falling, rising.

Autumn: Being Here Is Everything: The Life of Paula Modersohn-Becker – Marie Darrieusecq

This fragmentary memoir is as mesmerising as any novel. It shines an overdue light on the short but robustly creative life of German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907)—the first female artist to paint herself not only naked but also pregnant. It is, among other things, a gorgeous testament to art flourishing under restrictive conditions.

Winter: Winter – Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s work seems set to a unique and static-less dial between play and politics, dreamy magic and urgent realism. Her mind: vast and unconfined. This latest book takes place during a family gathering in Cornwall at Christmas but its scope is so much greater. Really, it’s about what happens when you let a book enter the flow of the world and the world enter the flow of a book.

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