The author of The Party – our fantastic book for April – Elizabeth Day shares her most intimate reading secrets with us…
Literary accolades, journalism prizes, a successful events series, bylines in all the best publications. Oh, and she’s a regular face/voice on TV and radio. Elizabeth Day‘s career is covetable by pretty much anyone’s standards. Did we mention she’s interviewed Matt Damon (yes, the actual Matt Damon) too? Just before you sigh about ‘sleb journalism, with eight years at The Observer under her belt, she’s tackled serious stories aplenty too. Day’s latest novel, The Party? Rave reviews, of course. Plus FYI – it’s our Recommended Read for April. So it MUST be good!
‘Witty, dark and compelling’ opines a certain Sebastian Faulks. Elizabeth Day’s fourth, darkly brilliant novel The Party has drawn comparisons with Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley and Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty. It is, without a doubt, an absolute must-read; a page-turning thriller that plays on that innately British malaise: class anxiety. The high jinks of the aristocracy – who have the cash to live life without thought for the consequences – what could be more fascinating? And Day’s writing; powerful, energetic, nuanced – propels you through The Party at breakneck speed. And as the pen behind The Party, we couldn’t be more delighted that Day has shared her most intimate reading secrets with us…
Why and when do you read?
I need to read in order to stay sane. It’s a sort of mental yoga: being able to sink into an alternative world and decompress as you find out what happens to characters you care about. Now that we’re all constantly online, there are fewer and fewer spaces where you can reconnect with disconnection.
That’s why I read a lot on the tube. I resolutely refuse to join the wifi networks on the London Underground, because it forces me to put my phone away while I travel. I don’t own a Kindle because I prefer to read a physical book, so I need a bag that has the necessary space. Ally Cappellino did a brilliant artist’s rucksack for the Tate a few years ago, and I use it all the time. It has space for my laptop too.
What about reading at home?
I read a lot just before bedtime. There is almost nothing I like more than running a bath with some Aromatherapy Associates oils, sinking into it and picking up my book. If I’m feeling really luxurious, I’ll light a Diptyque Baies scented candle. After that, I’ll lie in bed underneath my favourite Lulu & Nat duvet cover (grey and white stripes) and get a few more pages in before nodding off.
My boyfriend gave me a pair of silk pyjamas from Victoria’s Secret last year and they have transformed my life. Previously, I thought silk pyjamas were just a bit too much, but they’re so comfortable: cool in summer and warm in winter. Wearing them while reading makes me feel ineffably glamorous.
I never read with music playing but I don’t mind background cafe noise or the lapping of the waves against the beach when I’m on holiday. In fact, reading books on the sunlounger while getting brown is one of my favourite activities and I’ve been known to read ten books in two weeks when on holiday. Good tanning equipment is essential for reading in the sunshine: my sunglasses are a black-rimmed round pair from Cubitt’s, my cut-off denim shorts are from J-Crew and my bikini is a polka-dot one from & Other Stories.
Reading drinks and snacks?
A cup of strong green tea (I gave up coffee a few years ago) and a perfectly toasted Warburton’s crumpet, soaked through with butter and Marmite. You can trace my crumpet obsession through the trail of buttery fingerprints I leave on pages.