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  • Writer's pictureAlice Spencer

A New Wave of Island Reading

It might seem obvious, but getting 104 boxes of books from the UK to a tiny island somewhere in the Indian Ocean during a pandemic that affects ports worldwide, is challenging to say the least (shout out to our logistics manager Claire!). But it means there’s all the more reason to celebrate when they finally do arrive after their long journey across the sea. There’s few things more exciting for a book lover than receiving boxes of shiny, new books so I thought I’d share what I’m most excited to get stuck into from our new delivery.

The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

Living on an island and being at the centre of nature every day has

made me fall back in love with nature writing. I’m currently reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson which is making me so excited to get back into hiking. (First on my list is the Yorkshire Three Peaks, as I don’t think I’m quite ready to tackle the Appalachian Trail like Bryson does). This is the same feeling I had when I read The Salt Path, the first book by Raynor Winn. It is a real-life account of Raynor and her husband Moth walking South West Coast Path when they were made homeless and Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The Wild Silence is the follow up and I’m hoping the prose is as beautiful, emotive and as descriptive of nature as the first book.

Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola is a scriptwriter, journalist, author and very funny commentator on Twitter. Her

debut book, Love in Colour, is a collection of retold myth and folk tales mainly from West Africa, but also including stories from ancient Greece and the Middle East. And if that wasn’t enough to entice you to read it, the cover is a stunner and definitely one you’ll want on your bookshelf!

I don’t quite know how I didn’t read this last year when it was published, it felt like it was, quite rightly, everywhere and so now I am eager to catch up. I’m even more excited to dive in after the news that was announced this week that Bolu has two new books on the way, with the first a novel publishing in Summer 2022. If the buzz around Love in Colour is anything to go by, Bolu’s star is one that is going to keep on rising.

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

I’m a real sucker for a Booker Prize winner but recently I realised, to my horror, that I’ve

never read a winner of The International Booker Prize. I intend to rectify that by delving into The Discomfort of Evening which won the respected prize in 2020. It’s a story of a Dutch dairy farming family dealing with the grief after the loss of one of their sons.

The Guardian said, ‘this is a pretty remarkable debut. Confident in its brutality, yet contained rather than gratuitous, it introduces readers to both a memorably off-key narrator and a notable new talent.’

Yves Saint Laurent: The Impossible Collection by Laurence Benaïm Assouline Collection

This one isn’t exactly one to pop in your bag for a holiday… Yves Saint Laurent: The

Impossible Collection by Laurence Benaïm and published by luxury brand book publisher Assouline is 19 inches tall and 15 inches wide. It comes in a beautiful box, with a designed tote bag and white gloves so you don’t mucky the pages when you’re leafing through. The book spotlights all the classic looks created by Yves Saint Laurent throughout his remarkable career, displayed in an Italian hand-made incredibly impressive book which is, in itself, a work of art. It is something to behold and very much something of a treat to be able to look at as one copy will set you back $895.

Creativity by John Cleese

I’ll put my hand up and admit that I’m not one of the lucky people blessed with a natural gift

for creativity. I get frustrated with my lack of talent and find it challenging to pick my brains for new ideas. However, it seems I’ve found a helping hand in comedy legend John Cleese. On the back of his new book Creativity it tells me, ‘There’s a myth that creativity is something you have to be born with. This isn’t the case. Anyone can be creative.’ This sounds promising to me, and the fact these creative secrets are told in only 100 pages of large font – well, I’m sold. I’ll get reading and will let you all know when my first exhibition at the Tate will be.

These are just a few of the new books that have arrived in the bookshops, but there are so many more that I’m itching to read, and many that I can’t wait to recommend to the guests. There’s no better feeling than someone falling in love with a book that you think is special, and no better place for it to happen than a beautiful island in the Maldives.


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