Book Reviews / Books / Desert Island Books

Desert Island Books: Ella from Coco’s Tea Party


Ella Gregory | Coco's Tea Party

One of my very favourite things about the Bookstagram community is how easy it is to connect with like-minded readers the world over. I’ve made countless friends – both online and in real life – through Instagram, and love nothing more than bonding with fellow book lovers over our shared love of literature. One such person is Ella from popular lifestyle blog, Coco’s Tea Party, who, after sharing a series of book reviews on her Instagram account, hosted a book club meet up, that fortuitously fell on my penultimate day in London. I loved meeting both Ella and a handful of other book clubbers to discuss Three Women by Lisa Tadeo, and it was great hearing about other books that everyone had enjoyed. I was thrilled when Ella agreed to share her favourite eight books as part of my Desert Island Books series. Having only read one of her eight picks, I’m looking forward to adding some more tomes to my ever-growing reading pile, and hope that you too find some literary inspiration among her reading recommendations.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld 

American Wife is my all-time favourite novel. I re-read it every year, without fail. It’s a fictional re-telling of Laura Bush and George W Bush’s relationship, told in four parts – starting with the former First Lady’s childhood, and running up to the President’s final year in office. This description usually puts people off, but it’s truly the most beautiful depiction of marriage, and everyone who picks up a copy upon my recommendation always ends up loving it too.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb 

This memoir is a very recent discovery, as it hit shelves earlier this summer. But it made an instant impact on me, and I know it’s going to be a book that I return to over and over again, throughout the years. Lori Gottlieb is a writer and psychotherapist, and in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone she shares stories of her most memorable patients, alongside accounts of her own personal journey with therapy. I found myself underlining and highlighting passages in every chapter, and by the end of the book I felt like I’d discovered so much more about myself.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron 

I’ve been OBSESSED with all things Nora Ephron for as long as I can remember. When Harry Met Sally is one of my favourite movies, and I absolutely adore her writing for screen and print. Heartburn is the only novel Nora Ephron ever produced, but the term “novel” should be used lightly, as the story was heavily inspired by the breakdown of her second marriage, to journalist Carl Bernstein. Heartburn is absolutely hilarious, and easily the most quotable work of fiction I’ve ever read. Here’s one of my favourite passages:
“I married him against all evidence. I married him believing that marriage doesn’t work, that love dies, that passion fades, and in so doing I became the kind of romantic only a cynic is truly capable of being.”
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Bossypants by Tina Fey 

Bossypants is the ultimate celebrity memoir. It’s so funny, and possibly the most quotable book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The chapter “All Girls Must Be Everything” – in which Tina discusses the unrealistic beauty standards forced upon women – should be essential reading for every teenage girl. In fact, the entire book is essential reading for anyone with a vagina. Read it, read it, read it!

New York by Edward Rutherfurd 

New York is such an ambitious, epic novel. And at 800+ pages it’s one of the longest books I’ve ever read. It tells the story of my favourite city, starting with its simple beginnings as a tiny fishing village, through to the invasion of the Dutch and British, and running right up until the terrorist attacks of September 11th. I’ve only read New York once, and constantly wish I had the time to re-read it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld 

I’ve read all of Curtis Sittenfeld’s novels and short story collections, and I always tell people that Eligible is probably the weakest of the bunch. But, that said, I still love to revisit it every summer, and I have a real soft spot for the story and characters. It’s a modern re-working of Pride and Prejudice and one of the only romantic novels that doesn’t make me roll my eyes. It’s a fun read, and one that I always recommend to friends.

Ella Gregory | Coco's Tea Party

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris 

David Sedaris has long been one of my favourite writers, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim was the collection of essays that first brought him to my attention. He has this magic ability to make the most mundane, everyday stories completely unforgettable and laugh-out-loud funny. I also love listening to David Sedaris read his work, so if this desert island allows audiobooks, I’d chose the audio version of this title.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 

I borrowed this book from my brother, on a rare occasion where I had nothing to read. And, if I’m honest, I didn’t think I’d like it enough to get to the end. However, after a few pages I was completely transfixed. The story is split in two – following a 16-year-old in Tokyo, and a novelist living in Canada. And their stories intersect as a series of artefacts from the 2011 tsunami are washed ashore and end up in the novelists possession.

Images © Ella Gregory | Coco’s Tea Party

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