When it comes to reading, Jojo Moyes is constantly changing her tune.
“I believe books are like music,” the bestselling author exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Sometimes you want jazz, sometimes heavy rock or rap.”
Enter her latest mix: Paris For One and Other Stories, a collection of short essays, out now. “This wasn’t a conventional writing exercise, in that each of these stories was written for a different purpose: for a literacy charity, for magazines, in a couple of cases to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4,” Moyes, 47, says. “When I realized they would make a good collection, I decided to revisit them all to polish them — and in some cases extend them, now that I wasn’t tied to a strict word count. The strangest thing was discovering that in a couple of cases I had forgotten them so comprehensively that I read halfway through each with no idea what was going to happen at the end. That’s often the most fun as a writer.”
To celebrate the book’s release, the Me Before You scribe shares her must-reads with Us.
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
The 1935 tale of a young equestrian is “oddly radical,” says Moyes. “It’s funny, sly and inspirational. The heroine does something astonishing. She is uninterested in how she looks or how others see her, which is a rare thing in today’s literature.”
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
In Game of Thrones, “nobody is entirely good or bad, but everyone is compelling,” the Brit says. She especially enjoyed the series’ second book because of the emphasis on Tyrion Lannister: “He’s my favorite character.” But don’t ask her to compare the cult classic to the HBO series. “They are quite different beasts!”
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
After devouring the thriller on vacation, she insisted journalist husband Charles Arthur take a turn. “Then I was driven mad when he didn’t lift his head from the book to talk to me for the next three days,” she jokes. “I had to discuss it with somebody!”
My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Moyes calls the 1956 memoir about the author’s childhood on a Greek island “wickedly funny.” In fact, after recently watching the TV adaptation, she decided to revisit the tome: “The curiosity and fascination of young Durrell for the animal world is absolutely infectious. That love has stayed with me today.”
A Manual For Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
The “poignant” essays are “told by a writer who didn’t get much recognition in her lifetime,” admits Moyes. “I picked it up because I saw a number of good reviews, and I was intrigued by the title. I had a brief spell as a cleaning woman.”
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
Though her pal’s suspenseful drama is not out until April, Moyes got her hands on an early copy. “I’m always anxious about reading books by friends, as it is a nightmare if you don’t like them and have to find a way to evade saying so,” she admits. “But, I’ve never read a book by Lisa that I didn’t love. In this case, I ended up reading the whole thing in a day which is always a pleasure, and makes you feel as if you’ve had a little holiday from your own life.”
Pick up Moyes’ latest book, Paris For One and Other Stories, on bookshelves now!