Read a Book Day: Our Team Favourites

Sylvie Vartan by Jean-Marie Perier

Whether it’s a coffee table book or a seven-hundred page novel, reading has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, help with mental illness, reduce symptoms of dementia and improve your ability to empathise. As well as all this, it’s a great way to get your eyes away from a screen.

Luisa May Alcott once said “A well read woman is a dangerous creature.” A statement that has since landed on an immeasurable number of coffee mugs and t-shirts all across the world. So in honour of Read a Book Day, the “Dangerous Creatures” of our PAOLITA team are sharing some of our favourite reads.

Anna Paola's Book

Our Founder and Creative Director Anna Paola’s book of choice is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Jeffrey Eugenides published in 2002. The book is a bestseller, with more than four million copies sold since its publication. Its characters and events are loosely based on aspects of Eugenides’ life and observations of his Greek heritage.

Middlesex tells the breathtaking tale of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a remote village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Anicca's Book

Our Marketing Manager Anicca, chooses The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles is a 2011 novel by American writer Madeline Miller. Set during the Greek Heroic Age, it is an adaptation of Homer’s Iliad as told from the perspective of Patroclus.

Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.

Achilles, “best of all the Greeks,” is everything Patroclus is not—strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess—and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper—despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

Claudia's Book

Our Marketing Associate Claudia chooses, Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder. The novel is by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945, and follows the story of Oxford student Charles Ryder and his unique friendship with an eccentric aristocrat, Sebastian Flyte, with whom he experiences the seduction of wealth, power and status while falling in love with Sebastian’s sister Julia.

The novel is filled with exciting, eccentric characters, witty humour and profound accounts of the fragility of love, friendship and memory as well as undertones of religious conflict following Sebastian’s battle with his family’s catholic faith.

Ahead of its time, Brideshead Revisited also pictures gay people. From the openly homosexual, caustic, and decadent Anthony Blanche to the nearly untold love between the narrator, Charles Ryder, and the delectable and sad Sebastian Flyte. But there’s more, a lot more. There is a religious tale told by an agnostic narrator who is captivated by a family of English Catholics who is torn between their faith and their wants.

There’s a story about nostalgia, for the disappearing world of English aristocracy, the era before WWII, and for all the “paradise lost” of our youth.
There’s a narrative about coming of age, a melancholy one at that. It explores the complex and demanding grace of God, love’s grace, and the grace of joy, which is both intricate and demanding.

Exquisitely written with the most gorgeously eloquent locution, Brideshead Revisited is sure to win over the hearts of any reader. The language alone, enough to make you fall in love.

Nicki's Book

The Pendragon Legend is a 1934 novel by the Hungarian writer Antal Szerb. The book is a philosophical thriller/comedy/murder-mystery/ghost story set first in London and then in Wales. A mystical element is diffused through an increasingly complex plot, as all threads converge in the final chapters.

At an end-of-London-season soiree, the young Hungarian scholar-dilettante Janos Batky is introduced to the Earl of Gwynedd, a reclusive eccentric who is the subject of strange rumors. Invited to the family seat–Pendragon Castle in North Wales–Batky receives a mysterious phone call warning him not to go; but he does and finds himself in a bizarre world of mysticism, romance, animal experimentation, and planned murder. His quest to solve the central mystery takes him down strange byways–old libraries and warehouse cellars, Welsh mountains, and underground tombs.