Team IMAGE on their most engrossing summer reads to get lost in.
I recently read Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, devouring it in just a few days. And while it might not seem particularly groundbreaking to recommend the Booker Prize winner, when the award was given in November 2020, I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up as it was frequently described as a tough read. I was not looking for more emotional turmoil at that point, and I think I probably wasn’t the only one. I’m so glad I finally decided to read it though. Yes, it is a heartbreaking read, but it is such a beautiful portrayal of childhood, albeit an extremely difficult one. Every time I picked up the book I was totally immersed in its world, and I felt like I could walk around the homes and streets it describes in my head. It’s a book I’m already planning to read again. – Megan Burns, Deputy Editor, IMAGE, IMAGE interiors
If you’re a crime junkie like myself, Tall Bones by Anna Bailey is a thrilling read that ticks all the boxes – a missing girl named Abi, a small town stuck in the past and an intricate web of secrets that points at multiple suspects. The story weaves in and out of the lives of Abi’s loved ones, including her best friend Emma, who will stop at nothing to figure out what happened on the night of Abi’s disappearance. The book also touches on prejudice, classism, homophobia and domestic violence, revealing that nothing is as it seems in this small town tucked away in Colorado – a proper page turner you won’t be able to set down. – Shayna Sappington, Branded Content and Staff Writer, IMAGE Magazine
Every year I make the same promise to read more… and every year, I fall short. But, in a very welcome turn of events – 2021 has reignited my love for the written word and I’ve powered through almost seven (seven!) books so far this year. That may not sound very impressive, but it’s a whole lot in my world so please let me have this one small win. Currently, I’m stuck into Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I usually tend to favour fiction over non-fiction but this particular book came highly recommended by a friend so I decided to give it a go. An exploration of female sexuality and desire, it’s based on the lives of three different women from three different parts of America. The fruit of eight years of work and thousands of hours worth of interviews, knowing that it’s based on real-life makes it hard to get through at times – it’s definitely a tough read – but still worth delving into so don’t write it off. – Sarah Finnan, Staff Writer, IMAGE.ie
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: A Novel by Quentin Tarantino is the director’s engaging first novel, blending fact and fiction. It’s based on his 2019 film of the same name (which is now on Netflix) and an ode to the glamour of 1960s Hollywood. The book goes into any gaps the film left out (Cliff Booth is as dangerous as it was alluded to on the big screen) and is full of surprises. He breathes particular life into the late Sharon Tate and gives her the ending she was denied thanks to the Manson family. At less than 400 pages, it’s an easily digestible, entertaining read that is a perfect companion to the film. Watch the movie before you read to get the most out of it. – Jennifer McShane, Writer, IMAGE Magazine, IMAGE.ie
I picked up The Girls by Emma Cline on one of Jen’s always reliable recommendations and ate it in two sittings. Like Jen’s book above, it’s hinged on the Manson family. The Girls follows 14-year-old Evie Boyd, a lonely teen at the end of the Sixties, desperate for excitement and belonging when she’s dazzled by an encounter with The Girls. The story flicks back and forth between Evie’s memories of a summer at their ranch where they plan to build a ‘new society’ under their captivating leader Russell and adult Evie’s justifications for how she became caught up in an eventually infamous cult. It’s a painfully acute coming-of-age story, an examination of our collective obsession to gorge on every disturbing detail of true crime and a look at the lengths we can go to for acceptance. Save it for a free weekend or a holiday – you’ll want to cancel any other plans once you’ve started. – Holly O’Neill, Beauty Editor and Deputy Digital Editor, IMAGE Magazine, IMAGE.ie