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Top Shelf With Annie Brown

Take a peek inside this style editor’s reading life

By Laura Brading

Annie Brown is the Style Editor of Wish magazine and The Australian, and a watch, jewellery and fashion journalist. She is also an avid reader with impeccable taste.

We asked Annie about her comfort reads, the book she read in a single sitting, and the one she recommends to everyone. Dear reader, your to-be-read pile is about to get a whole lot bigger.

A book you return to
My ultimate comfort read, The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. Being drawn back into the world of the chaotic Radlett family with wonderful Linda and terrifying Uncle Matthew (who famously only ever read one book, White Fang, and it was so good that he never bothered to read another) is both cheering and offers just the right amount of satisfying heartbreak. My mark of a true ‘Hon’ are people who share my practically lifelong love of Nancy Mitford.

A book you read in a single setting
Annie Ernaux’s A Simple Passion. For one, it is a sliver of a book! For another, I utterly gobbled up this intense, unbearably honest unpicking of desire, obsession, power and self. Another book I read in one sitting over the summer holidays was Claire Keegan’s Foster, and oh how it crept under my skin. The story of a young, neglected girl who unfurled with kindness and the importance of it, has stayed with me since.

A book you recommend to everyone
…especially to women who remember being young and full of secrets and promise, and who know the feeling of being on the outside looking in, is Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I love books when you keenly feel power and class dynamics and the allure of reinventing yourself, but that are also very, very funny and a little too close to the bone.

Your approach to reading
In snatches, whenever I can.

You’ve read everything by this author
I have several: Zadie Smith always, including her essays – the discovery of one, such as her recent New Yorker piece on being a teenager, is the biggest treat. Also Meg Wolitzer, Ali Smith, Curtis Sittenfeld, Deborah Levy, Alan Hollinghurst and Amor Towles (I do in fact occasionally read books by men!). I’ve recently been on Annie Ernaux, Elizabeth Jane Howard and now Claire Keegan binges.


BY Laura Brading

Laura is PRIMER's books editor

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