Holiday reading guide

We are all avid readers here at Jones & Co HQ. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you so all you need to do is spread out your towel, grab your beverage and read up!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

This is a twisty page-turner with a dash of murder, intrigue and misdirection. Set on a windswept island off the coast of Ireland, guests start descending for a weekend wedding. Is it the handsome groom, the ambitious wife, the dodgy best man or the weepy sister?

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

From the author of Crazy Rich Asians is this modern love story set in the summer playgrounds of the rich and fabulous: Capri and the Hamptons. It won’t win any Pulitzers, but it’s an easy read and is meant to be an homage to “A Room with a View”

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Now, this one is not for everyone. But we loved it. Wickedly funny but also very, very dark, it follows Martha who is newly separated from her husband Patrick. She spends the novel looking back at her life which has been dominated by an unnamed mental illness. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s not her best book (that goes to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) but this 2021 release is nonetheless a frothy, easy read. It follows the fortunes of the Riva family who live on the Malibu coast. It switches time periods from the children to the parents and weaves a wispy tale, all centred on one epic New Year’s Eve party in a Malibu mansion. 

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

We read this page-turner in a day. And then groaned. But it was good while it lasted. The premise is intriguing: newlywed Hannah’s new husband disappears mysteriously, leaving a note asking her to “protect” his teenage daughter, Bailey. The unlikely duo then go on a wild goose chase to find the errant Owen. 

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

This is our creative director Jen Sampon’s highlight read of 2021. “With an explosive introduction it had me gripped in its cinematic throes from the get-go. Set against a long summer backdrop spanning 25 years and concurrently 24 hours it’s the perfect beach/pool read for the holidays. Cowley Heller is the former Head of Drama at HBO and it shows in her rich character development and pacing in this absorbing literary love story.”

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

A memoir about the author’s mother’s long illness and death. In the aftermath, Michelle finds herself often in Korean supermarkets grappling with her grief and her memories of growing up in a bi-racial home. Full of intimate anecdotes, it’s a touching read.

Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

From the author of Normal People, this has been a much anticipated read for 2021. If you suffer from FOMO, you will of course want to read this one from the much-hyped Irish author. It’s not our favourite Sally Rooney novel (that would be Conversations with Friends). The characters are so irritatingly neurotic you will want to reach through the pages and shake some sense into them. But there is some wonderful writing to enjoy. 

Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

A fun take on a whodunnit. This novel is set in a genteel retirement home in the English countryside where a group of elderely residents set out to investigate a recent murder in their community. It’s a bit silly but also very funny in parts. 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora gets a chance to re-do her life over and over again to find out what could have been. In each life she has a different relationship, career, children, past and future. A good novel for those who often wonder, “what if?” 

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

As the clock strikes midnight on new year’s eve, 19-year-old Oona jumps to a different age, out of order. And this continues every new year’s eve. Bummer! One year she is in her 50s, the next year she is thrust back to a life in her 20s. But inside she’s still aging chronologically. An interesting read about the choices we make in life. 

Other books we read this year (and recommend!) 

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

The Mountbatten by Andrew Lonnie

The Good Wife by Elizabeth Buchan

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Kings of Shanghai by Jonathan Kaufman

The Sphinx by Hugo Vickers

The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach