Books of the Month | Month of the Books #1

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” - Vera Nazarian

“Only in London” by Hanan al-Shaykh

Four strangers meet on a turbulent flight from Dubai to London: Amira, a canny Moroccan prostitute; Lamis, a 30-year old Iraqi divorcee; Nicholas, an English expert on Islamic art; and Samir, a Lebanese man who is delivering a monkey on a mission he doesn’t fully understand. Once safely on British soil, Lamis and Nicholas fall in love, Samir chases after blond British youths, and Amira reinvents herself as a princess, the better to lure clients at the best London hotels. Through the city and across cultural borders, Only in London wittily portrays the smells, sounds, and sights of London’s lively Arab neighborhoods, as well as the freedoms the city both offers and withholds from its immigrants.


About the Author

Hanan al-Shaykh, an awardwinning journalist, novelist, and playwright, is the author of the short-story collections I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops and One Thousand and One Nights; the novels The Story of ZahraWomen of Sand and MyrrhBeirut Blues, and Only in London; and a memoir about her mother, The Locust and the Bird. She was raised in Beirut, educated in Cairo, and lives in London.


“10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” by Elif Shafak

For Leila, each minute after her death recalls a sensuous memory: spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the birth of a yearnedfor son; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar to wax women’s legs while men are at prayer; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each fading memory brings back the friends she made in her bittersweet life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her…

Shortlisted for The Booker Prize 2019 this is a masterpiece by one of the best writers in the world today.


About the Author

Elif Shafak is an awardwinning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages.

Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better.


“My Friend Anna - True Story of the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City” by Rachel DeLoache Williams

How does it feel to be betrayed by your closest friend? A close friend who turns out to be the most prolific grifter in New York City...This is the true story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress whose dizzying deceit and elaborate con-artistry deceived the Soho hipster scene before her ruse was finally and dramatically exposed. After meeting through mutual friends, the ‘Russian heiress’ Anna Delvey and Rachel DeLoache Williams soon became inseparable. Theirs was an intoxicating world of endless excess: high dining, personal trainer sessions, a luxury holiday... and Anna footed almost every bill. But after Anna’s debit card was declined in a Moroccan medina whilst on holiday in a five-star luxury resort, Rachel began to suspect that her increasingly mysterious friend was not all she seemed. This is the incredible story of how Anna Sorokin conned the high-rollers of the NYC social scene and convinced her close friend of an entirely concocted fantasy, the product of falsified bank documents, bad cheques and carefully edited online photos. Written by Rachel DeLoache Williams, the Vanity Fair photography editor who believed Anna’s lies before helping the police to track her down (fittingly, deciphering Anna’s location using Instagram), this is Catch Me If You Can with Instagram filters. Between Anna, Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland (Anna even tried to scam Billy) and Elizabeth Holmes, whose start-up app duped the high and mighty of Silicon Valley, this is the year of the scammer.

*Anna stood a high-profile trial in New York that has been followed voraciously by the media. She was found guilty of theft of services and grand larceny, facing up to 15 years in prison. The trial ended on 25th April.*


About the Author

Rachel DeLoache Williams was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennesse. She studied English and studio art at Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio. Since 2010 Williams was working at Vanity Fair’s photo department on photo shoots by photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Mark Seliger - with subjects ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Bruce Springsteen.


“How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habbits” by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas

From four stunning and accomplished French women, fresh and spirited, take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves.

In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. The authors - Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas - unmarried but attached, with children - have been friends for years. Talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.

“How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are” will make you laugh as you slip into their shoes to become bold and free and tap into your inner cool.

And as the greatest Karl Lagerfeld famously said: “You don’t have to be French to be a Parisian.“


About the Authors

Anne Berest is the author of two novels and a biography of Françoise Sagan. She also writes for television, cinema, and theater.

Audrey Diwan became a scriptwriter after studying journalism and political science. She wrote the screenplay for Cédric Jimenez’s La French with Jean Dujardin and is now directing her first feature film; she is also editorat-large for the magazine, Stylist.

Caroline de Maigret studied literature at the Sorbonne before moving to New York to model. She returned to Paris in 2006 to found her music label. De Maigret has been an ambassador for Chanel since 2012 and supports women worldwide through the NGO CARE.

Sophie Mas was born and raised in Paris. After graduating from Sciences Po and HEC, she started her own film company and now works as a producer in Los Angeles, New York, and São Paulo.


“Green Home Book” by Susanna Vento and Riikka Kantinkoski

Green Home Book is a richly illustrated guidebook to a lush, green home. Besides helpful advice for taking the best care of your houseplants, the book provides detailed photos of flourishing plants and the homes they live in. Green Home Book was published by the Finnish Cozy Publishing. The houseplants in this book live in wonderful places, leaf through the pages and get inspired by the beautiful homes, intensive home decor solutions and great atmosphere. On the pages of the book you can peek into more than 30 individual Finnish Homes. But how do you take care of the plants? Don’t worry, in this book you’ll find easy and concise care instructions for over 50 elegant houseplants.


About the Authors

Susanna Vento (writer) has made a long career as an interior designer, interior journalist and stylist. She has worked for interior magazines and with commercial pictures for more than18 years. In recent years the pictures have gotten more and more green in the hands of this self-taught green thumb.

Riikka Kantinkoski is a recognized photographer whose photos are familiar from interior magazines, home decoration books and from her popular blog. Riikka loves the nature; it’s an important source of inspiration for her.


Assembled by Tanja Beljanski