ELLE (UK) - - Contents - — DR SEUSS

Ed­i­tor-in-chief Anne-Marie Curtis on the books that still in­flu­ence her to­day

I have al­ways loved read­ing. In fact, my love of fash­ion was first fu­elled by the vivid de­scrip­tions of cloth­ing in some of my most trea­sured child­hood books; Noel Streat­feild’s won­der­ful por­trayal of the out­fits in Bal­let Shoes and Hi­lary Knight’s ge­nius il­lus­tra­tions of the an­ar­chic Eloise in Kay Thomp­son’s iconic se­ries of the same name, to name just two.

Some char­ac­ters still in­spire me to this day, from Lud­wig Bemel­mans’ brave and ad­ven­tur­ous Made­line to the bril­liantly ob­ser­vant, hi­lar­i­ously dry teenager Cas­san­dra Mort­main in Dodie Smith’s I Cap­ture The Cas­tle. And, per­haps a lit­tle con­tro­ver­sially, the re­source­ful, in­trepid ma­noeu­vres of Becky Sharp in Van­ity Fair surely mark her as a fem­i­nist of her time?

Then there are the nov­els and sto­ries I go back to again and again. The ones that make me cry, laugh out loud, or some­times both: The Grass Harp by Tru­man Capote; Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy; Stella Gib­bons’ truly bril­liant Cold Com­fort Farm. I’ve read them all count­less times.

When it comes to au­thors, I will buy books by my favourite con­tem­po­rary women writ­ers with­out ever need­ing to read a re­view. That list in­cludes any­thing by Mag­gie O’Far­rell, Kate Atkin­son, Zadie Smith, Linda Grant, Jen­nifer Egan and Donna Tartt.

Per­haps due, in part, to my roots on my mother’s side and early read­ings of her Edna O’Brien col­lec­tion (a great source of sex ‘ed­u­ca­tion’ in my teenage years), I’m also a sucker for an Irish writer: Se­bas­tian Barry, Joseph O’Con­nor and Anne En­right be­ing just three of my favourites. There are more good books in the world than I will ever get to read in a life­time, and it’s im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine my days with­out them.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, my pas­sion for books is the fuel of my life­long love for print, which is some­thing I’ve worked to cel­e­brate here at ELLE. Sure, we’re nav­i­gat­ing a dig­i­tal world (I can’t think of any greater proof of this than El­iz­a­beth Holmes’ fas­ci­nat­ing fea­ture on the new wave of CGI so­cial-me­dia in­flu­encers on page 62), but I love how a mag­a­zine, like a book, pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to slow down. It gives you the chance to lose your­self in the ex­pe­ri­ence of an im­mer­sive long read or in­spir­ing im­agery — work that has taken time to pro­duce and, in turn, de­mands the lux­ury of time to con­sume. One of the great things about read­ing a good book is, of course, shar­ing it with those around you. We know the ELLE au­di­ence are pas­sion­ate read­ers, so in this spirit, we in­tro­duce Hearst’s Big Book Awards, for which we’ve judged the Women Writ­ers cat­e­gory. From a be­gin­ners’ guide to men­tal health to a fem­i­nist re­work­ing of Greek mythol­ogy (my per­sonal favourite), the nine books that made our longlist are all the sum­mer read­ing you need – find them on page 68, and look out for the win­ning ti­tle in our Oc­to­ber is­sue.

Speak­ing of sum­mer, this is the time of year when we be­gin to look ahead to the next sea­son in fash­ion. Just as our minds are turn­ing to sum­mer Fri­days and far-flung hol­i­days, au­tumn may feel (and be) months away, but the col­lec­tions are all hit­ting stores now. And while it seems early to think about in­vest­ing in a new coat, there’s plenty to get ex­cited about wear­ing be­fore the sea­son of­fi­cially be­gins, from the bursts of neon that bright­ened the run­ways at Ba­len­ci­aga, Prada and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC to the barely-there mini dresses at Saint Lau­rent. This is­sue guides you through it all, be­gin­ning with our com­plete A to Z guide to the sea­son’s big ideas (page 32) and run­ning straight through to our col­lec­tions shoot, star­ring Lara Stone and styled by ELLE’s new fash­ion di­rec­tor, Gillian Wilkins (page 82).

When it comes to go­ing on hol­i­day, our beauty sec­tion is there to cover all your travel needs, with a spe­cial-edi­tion Shelfie fea­tur­ing your favourite make-up, hair and skin­care prod­ucts in minia­ture form (page 143). And if your sum­mer plans don’t in­volve get­ting on a plane, fret not. Our travel fea­ture Cool Britannia on page 146 is a round-up of the chicest, coolest and most lux­u­ri­ous new coastal and coun­try­side des­ti­na­tions to va­cay in, lo­cated right here in the UK. Happy sum­mer!


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