5 books I Have Read (and Loved) Lately

From my Goodreads


Everyone has a favourite or optimal spot to read a book, such as at home or a coffee shop. For me, that’s public transport. Whether it’s a 6-hour flight or a 10-minute bus ride, I find public transport to be the perfect reading spot. After many trips and bus rides home, I have had the honor of updating my Goodreads to feel like the time spent sitting next to strangers on the bus didn’t go to waste.
While scrolling through my feed I came up with the idea of sharing perhaps what are my 5 favourite books I read in the past few months, each of which has taught me something different. As I have been both into biographies and fiction lately, these genres are what most of the books listed below fall under. Note: the list is in no particular order.



Anna: The Biography – by Amy Odell

“Anna” was one of the first biographies I had ever read. This book presents a well-rounded narration of the life and career of one of the most (if not THE most) powerful forces in the fashion industry. Amy Odell writes about a young woman’s journey from the UK to NYC, where she is currently working as editor-in-chief of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world: Vogue. The author does not limit herself to writing from her own perspective; as a matter of fact, Odell’s opinions are only a small part of the biography’s appeal. A large amount of sources used to narrate Anna’s story limit the bias and offer contrasting perspectives on Anna’s work ethic. The efforts of the author to narrate Anna’s life from a fully impartial perspective is perceived in the way she interviews multiple people to dive into the Vogue editor-in-chief’s life. What I appreciated the most is the variety of sources which the author used to build the story, such as friends, colleagues, and other important icons of the fashion industry who have worked alongside Anna for many years. Although Anna Wintour’s leadership style might raise some eyebrows, we must not forget it is a crucial tool that allowed her to get to a point in her career which some of us can only dream of. The story of the Vogue editor-in-chief and fashion icon is a great example of what we call a “girl boss”, who, despite people’s opinions of her, uses her passion to fuel her dream.


Before the Coffee Gets Cold – by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

In this book, Toshikazu Kawaguchi tells the story of different characters who visit the same coffee shop located in the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo. The book is based on the magic of the coffee shop, which allows customers who sit at a designated chair to travel to a specific moment in time only for as long as their coffee stays hot. Using the concept of time travel, the author invites the reader to emphasize with the characters to the point of feeling like you are watching their journey to both the past and future. Whether a customer wants to spend another few minutes with the person they love, or change something they said in the past, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is a cozy read which teaches us that time is valuable, leaving us with the message that not everything is life is up to us and some things are just meant to be.


Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman – by Sam Wasson

As an Audrey Hepburn fan, I found this book a must read. Although the world-famous actress Audrey is a key point of the book, the author doesn’t write solely about her life. On the contrary, he focuses on a detailed explanation of how Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” made its debut on the big screen. Through some interesting and unique anecdotes about Capote’s contribution in the process of turning “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” into a movie, Wasson explains why the NYC-set story about a young woman called Holly Golightly changed the expectations of women’s role in society. What I found particularly interesting is the depth of the research which the book is based on, which covers every detail of the making of the movie. If you want to find out how the director and producer adapted the book to the movie, how they found the perfect actress to play the part of Holly Golightly, and how they hired one of the most talented costume designers of all time, this book is for you. Wasson explores the role of Audrey Hepburn’s fame and image in the movie’s success, including how, through this movie, she launched Hubert de Givenchy’s career. Most importantly, you will be surprised to read about how just one single movie marked a significant milestone in women’s history, presenting the concept of a modern, emancipated woman to society, who wears a black dress and pearls at 5 a.m., and who truly believes in the power of being in charge of her own life. This movie came as a breath of fresh air in the 1960s, offering a new concept of what an independent and sophisticated woman looks like. If you love movies, fashion, and Audrey, this book is for you.


Sorrow and Bliss – by Meg Mason

When people think of mental illnesses, they often give a negative connotation to this expression. For example, not only is there a stigma towards those who struggle with depression, but some often think everyone is dealing with something and struggles are just a part of life. “Sorrow and Bliss” challenges this concept, showing the mental and physical process of discovering what is wrong with something going on inside yourself. Although this novel is not a heavy read, it covers difficult topics which should be talked about more freely. Meg Mason does so by allowing the reader to dive into the main character’s mind, and understanding her every move thanks to a close look into her thoughts.


Strangers I Know – by Claudia Durastanti

As someone who has lived on different continents, I particularly loved this novel. “Strangers I Know” narrates the story of the author’s family, as well as how living in Italy and New York City played a part in finding her identity. As she explains, one’s life is a sum of geological eras, which divide childhood from adolescence and adulthood. In other words, in order to narrate someone’s story, one needs to look at all the physical and geographic areas where their life took place. Claudia’s book covers all of these eras, narrating from her memory. In particular, the author focuses on how migration shaped the way of seeing and experiencing things in life, what living with disabled parents is like, and the struggles of speaking and thinking in different languages. What motivated me to start reading it in the first place was the similarity between her story and mine, as I relate to her when it comes to feeling like a stranger and being perceived as a stranger everywhere you go. As what are perhaps my favourite quotes from the novel say: “Migrating means living with all these ifs of the self, hoping that none of them takes over the other”, and “The future was everything that came before a departure”.