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Eight great reads to lose yourself in

Posted 27.03.20  - Culture

In the next instalment of our stay-at-home culture guides, curated by the Turnbull team, we turn to books. Here are eight of our favourites to get stuck into while we’re all whiling away the time quietly in the company of close family and friends.






The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry



Recommended by Lucy Zorab, our Assistant Merchandiser



In a nutshell, this is an offbeat, dry British comedy of a book, about a failing cynical poet-cum- theatre critic called Ted and the weeks that he spends at his old friend’s estate in Norfolk. I had no idea what to expect when I first picked it up, but the plot snuck up and surprised me. It’s a little outrageous at times but that added to me not being able to put it down!



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My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier



Recommended by Kate Butcher, our Marketing Executive



This is a moody and introspective classic which I’d happily enjoy again. The book is beautifully paced, with an underlying tension running through it that keeps you gripped. The narrative centres around the relationship between two cousins, Phillip in Cornwall, and Ambrose in Italy, who begins a relationship with a woman called Rachel. It’s a hard read to put down – filled with twists and turns.



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After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey



Recommended by Aleks Cvetkovic, a journalist and friend of the brand



This book straddles non-fiction and autobiography; it’s the fascinating true account of American journalist, Michael Hainey (formerly of Esquire US, now Air Mail) and his quest to discover the truth about his father’s untimely death in 1970s Chicago. If it sounds macabre, it’s not; it’s superbly paced, thought-provoking and sensitive. Perfect for readers who are looking for a strong narrative, but not necessarily fiction.



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Papillon by Henri Charrière



Recommended by Becky French, our Creative Director



Discovering Papillon was a positive case of “judging of a book by its cover” years ago when it caught my eye in a charity shop. Within pages, I was totally wrapped up in Charrière’s dystopian stories of escape attempts from Devil’s Island; a retelling of his attempts to escape from a penal colony during the 1930s. His writing took me on a rollercoaster of ups and downs as I cheered this ‘petty criminal’ towards a life of freedom. Papillon is a book for anyone who loves travel, adventure, suspense and escapism – in all senses of the word.




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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt



Recommended by our Owner’s wife, Jen Fayed



At times, I both loved this book and loathed it. It will make you feel very conflicted, which is what kept me wanting more. It’s an epic tale of trauma, loss, love, and ultimately fate. The story follows a young boy named Theo as he learns to navigate a life of survival and relationships. It will whisk you away with its many pages to a world of antiques and art with its many memorable characters. Not to mention that Turnbull gets a shout out in it...



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Beau Brummell by Ian Kelly



Recommended by James Cook, our Jermyn Street Store Manager



Regency dandy George ‘Beau’ Brummell changed menswear forever. He created a masculine, paired-down look that became the predecessor of the modern suit, and Ian Kelly captures this period brilliantly. Having worked in the West End for nearly 26 years, many of the book’s settings – especially Brummell’s house on Chesterfield Street – are still with us today. The book makes you feel as if you are with all the great men and ladies of the time. It’s also a valuable lesson in how to keep your ego at bay!


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The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel



One more recommendation by Aleks (he couldn’t resist…)



If you’ve yet to get into Mantel’s stunning Wolf Hall trilogy, now is the time. The Mirror and The Light is the newly released final instalment, but the first two books both won Mantel the Booker Prize, so you can be sure this is going to be quite something. The trilogy follows the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell, one of King Henry VIII’s key advisors (and fixers) in the Tudor Court. It’s brilliantly researched and effortlessly written. If you’re not a fan of historical fiction, this trilogy should change that.


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The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane



Recommended by Oli Culcheth, our Head of Marketing & Communications



As someone who grew up on the woolly coast of one of the UK’s least-visited National Parks, I’ve always been drawn to wild places. Macfarlane’s evocative writing questions the existence and importance of corners of the UK that can be considered truly wild, and poetically delivers a case to confirm their value. The Wild Places is a breath of fresh air at time when it feels like we need it the most. It may leave you yearning for the great outdoors, but it’s also reassuring. There is natural beauty all around us, and it’ll be there for us to enjoy soon enough, when things return to normal.


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Aleks Cvetkovic

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