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Top Shelf With Lauren Sams

Discover what this fashion editor loves to read, including the book she thinks is chronically misunderstood

By Laura Brading

Lauren Sams is a fashion editor who writes about the local and global fashion industry. She is also a published author and prolific reader with exceptional taste, and a swathe of recommendations up her sleeve at any given moment.

We asked Lauren about her ideal reading room, the book she’s embarrassed to have loved but loved all the same, and the one she recommends to everyone. Have your pencil ready, dear reader, your to-be-read pile is about to get a whole lot longer.

Describe your ideal reading room.
Quiet, occupied solely by me. Rain pouring outside (if it’s sunny I’ll feel like I should be enjoying the outdoors). Coffee in hand. No deadlines. Chores done. In other words: nothing but uninterrupted reading ahead of me.

A book you recommend to everyone.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. Meg is a good friend of mine and so this may come with some bias, but even if I’d never met her, I would tell everyone I knew about this glorious, deeply felt, laugh-out-loud book. I have read it at least five times and each time, I find something new and wonderful to love about it. Meg’s mastery of language and flair for human observation is so admirable. I am lucky to have read this book and luckier still to count her as a friend.

A book that made you cry.
A Little Life. I read the last part in a single sitting, eight months pregnant and in absolute tatters.


I read the last part in a single sitting, eight months pregnant and in absolute tatters

A book you return to or have re-read.
Circle of Friends is my comfort read. Benny and Eve forever.

How do you choose what to read?
I take the opinion of my friend Annie Brown very seriously (we have great overlap in our tastes) and often turn to a Slack channel we have at the AFR, which is all-women and full of excellent recommendations (often of a literary nature – but we also talk about less worthy things like skincare and where to find a good sandwich in North Sydney).

Do you have a reading ritual?
Not really. I try to read when I can – on my commute, when I’m stirring something on the stove for dinner, at the breakfast table. If I don’t do these things I’ll never find time.

A book you’re looking forward to reading.
My friend Jacqueline Maley has a book coming soon that I am dying to read. And there is a new novel from Taffy Brodesser-Akner coming out in the middle of the year that I’ll get my hands on as soon as I can. I loved Fleishman is in Trouble – I read it in New York, where it’s set, and really felt as if I was living the book (though thankfully not the more traumatic parts). 

I try to read when I can – on my commute, when I’m stirring something on the stove for dinner, at the breakfast table

A book you’re embarrassed to have loved but loved all the same.
Mel C’s memoir Who I Am. Memoirs are a great way to rocket out of a reading rut, and I often turn to them when I can’t find something I truly want to read (I highly recommend reading Rob Lowe’s two memoirs!). Mel’s was dishy and pervy (two non-negotiables from all memoirs!) and made me a lifelong and avid fan. Everyone knows she was the best singer but also, she just seems like a lovely person and a great friend. Justice for Mel C!

Contemporary or classic?
Contemporary. The list of classic books I haven’t read is long and shameful.

A book you think more people should read.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I love this book and think it is chronically misunderstood.

An author whose books you will always read.
Curtis Sittenfeld. I have adored her since I read Prep many years ago (I am fascinated by boarding schools; I think it’s an Enid Blyton hangover) and I have read everything she has written since then. I even read her short story collections and I hate short stories. I think she manages to be smart and light at the same time, which is a very difficult thing to achieve.

A book you hated but everyone else loved.
I heard a lot of people rave about Pineapple Street last year and frankly I found it superbly turgid and predictable. And I love Dolly Alderton but Everything I Know About Love is such a wank. Sorry! Oh and anything by Sally Rooney. I do not get it!!

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BY Laura Brading

Laura is PRIMER's books editor

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