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    HomeFashionCandice Carty-Williams on Samantha Irby, 'Citizen,' and the Book That

    Candice Carty-Williams on Samantha Irby, ‘Citizen,’ and the Book That

    Welcome to Shelf Life, ELLE.com’s books column, in which authors share their most memorable reads. Whether you’re on the hunt for a book to console you, move you profoundly, or make you laugh, consider a recommendation from the writers in our series, who, like you (since you’re here), love books. Perhaps one of their favorite titles will become one of yours, too.

    Candice Carty-Williams People Person

    People Person

    Candice Carty-Williams People Person

    Candice (rhymes with niece) Carty-Williams’s first novel—the bestselling British Book Awards 2020 Book of the Year Queenie – began as 8,000 words written on her first night at a retreat run by Jojo Moyes. Her second, People Person (Gallery/Scout Press) out next month, sprang from 10,000 words she wrote another night after a conversation with her sister. She’s also written a YA novel, Empress & Aniya.

    Books were a refuge and eventual vocation for the South London-raised and -based author: she wanted to be a librarian, launched the The Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize for underrepresented writers at 4th Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins, was a marketing executive at Vintage, and wrote a literary column for Guardian Books. She’s adapting Queenie, about a journalist navigating her 20s, for Channel 4 as well as writing BBC/Netflix drama Champion about a rapper’s fame and family, for which she’s also the showrunner.

    She’s a Cancer with a Pisces moon and Scorpio rising (she gives her characters star signs, uses Co-Star, and won’t date a Gemini); has worked with Christian Louboutin in partnership with Idris and Sabrina Elba (Walk a Mile in My Shoes capsule collection), Prada (she wrote its holiday advertorial) and Canopy Planet (sustainable clothing campaign); her tattoos include “romantic,” a fox, a rose on her chest, “baby love” across her fingers, a castle on her thigh, waves across her entire right shoulder, and SOUTH on her forearm to represent South London; partnered with Brixton Brewery for People Pale, an alcohol-free pale ale named for her new book; and Queenie has been a prop on Insecure and You Don’t Know Me.

    Loves: Stranger Things “more than life itself”, music, especially grime, UK rap, and Amy Winehouse, saltfish fritters and cashew nuts. Dislikes: writing in the daytime, public bathrooms, hotels. Check out her book recs below.

    The book that:


    …helped me through a loss:

    Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.

    …kept me up way too late:

    Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom.

    …made me weep uncontrollably:

    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

    …I recommend over and over again:

    Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson.

    …shaped my worldview:

    Citizen by Claudia Rankine.

    …made me rethink a long-held belief:

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. The belief was that I should meet up with all of my online friends one day, even though I really didn’t want to.

    …I swear I’ll finish one day:

    Roots by Alex Haley.

    …I read in one sitting, it was that good:

    Luster by Raven Leilani.

    …currently sits on my nightstand:

    All About Love by bell hooks. It’s like my Bible, I read it over and over again.

    …I’d pass on to a kid:

    The Upper World by Femi Fadugba.

    …I’d gift to a new graduate:

    The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon.

    …made me laugh out loud:

    Popisho by Leone Ross.

    …I’d like turned into a Netflix show:

    The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah.

    …I first bought:

    Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding.

    …I last bought:

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.

    …has the best title:

    Heartburn by Nora Ephron.

    …has the greatest ending:

    1984 by George Orwell.

    …broke my heart:

    The poetry collection Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

    …has a sex scene that will make you blush:

    Queenie, written by 25-year old-me, has many (and makes 32-year-old-me blush now).

    …features a character I love to hate:

    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

    …helped me become a better writer:

    On Connection by Kae Tempest.

    …grew on me:

    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy.

    …is a master class on dialogue:

    Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn.

    …describes a house I’d want to live in:

    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

    …should be on every college syllabus:

    Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

    …I read on a momentous trip:

    I listened to Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi on my first solo trip to New York. It was an audiobook, which I think counts, and I tuned in all the way from London Heathrow to JFK Airport. A better travel companion than any person could have been.

    …I’ve re-read the most:

    This Is Grime by Hattie Collins. Another bible of mine.

    …I consider literary comfort food:

    The poetry collection Bless the Daughter Raised By A Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire.

    …I would have blurbed if asked:

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

    …I never returned to the library:

    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

    …sealed a friendship:

    Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

    …inspired me to donate to a cause:

    Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City, a book about London knife crime by Ciaran Thapar.

    …makes me feel seen:

    Ordinary People by Diana Evans.

    …everyone should read:

    An American Marriageby Tayari Jones.

    …I could only have discovered at BLK MKT Vintage on Marcus Garvey Blvd. in Brooklyn:

    A very special first edition of for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.

    …fills me with hope:

    Ironically, Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson.

    …surprised me:

    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

    …I’d want signed by the author:

    Any Toni Morrison book.

    …I asked for one Christmas as a kid:

    Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.

    …holds the recipe to a favorite dish:

    Curry chicken (Jamaican style) from West Winds: Recipes, history and tales from Jamaica by Riaz Philips.

    Bonus question: If I could live in any library or bookstore in the world, it would be:

    Eso Won Books in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. (Editor’s note: The independent bookstore is closing at the end of 2022.)

    Read Carty-Williams’s Picks:

    Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

    Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

    Now 21% Off

    Thick: And Other EssaysA Little LifeOpen WaterCitizen: An American Lyric

    Citizen: An American Lyric

    Now 46% Off

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

    Now 37% Off

    RootsLusterAll About Love

    All About Love

    Now 24% Off

    The Upper World

    The Upper World

    Now 34% Off

    Riza Cruz is an editor and writer based in New York.

    Read The Full Article Here

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