The Sweet Life, Part Two: Desert Island Reading List with Lucy Williams

The perfect reading list for turquoise waters, white sands and bare feet in the Maldives.

This post comes from UK blogger Lucy Williams of Fashion Me Now, and is part 2 of our 5-part series on The Sweet Life.

The Maldives has long been on my dream bucket list and, flying in over the tie-dye atolls and lagoons, they didn’t disappoint in any way. Nothing prepares you for those turquoise seas, powder white sand and coral reefs full of life and colour. Days are spent barefoot and low-key, with every moment either in the water with a snorkel or looking out over the ocean from under a palm tree. My idea of heaven! For me, no desert island getaway is complete without getting lost in a book (or five). There’s a reason my luggage is forever overweight but I wouldn’t be without a pile of books on holiday. Here are some of my all-time favourite reads, most of which I’ve devoured on a beach somewhere and still have sand between their pages on my shelves at home. The test of a really good beach read is if you remember it long after the holiday’s over, and I can definitely vouch for all these in that department.

Jonathan Franzen, ‘The Corrections’

Franzen is one of my favourite American authors, writing about the intricacies of ordinary life and everyday families like no one else. ‘The Corrections’ follows a grown-up family from the Midwest and all the complexities that have shaped them both individually and collectively from the start. Scarily relatable and terrifically sad, Franzen always succeeds in making you think and his books stick with you far after you’ve read the last page.

Jennifer Egan, ‘A Visit From The Goon Squad’

I read this book twice in 48 hours. Yes, really. Egan winds together various narratives and timeframes in an interconnecting story that touches on love, loss, family, technology, the future and the repercussions of a single moment through generations. The book I always recommend to everyone and anyone…

Jess Walter, ‘Beauitful Ruins’ 

Kicking off in the Amalfi Coast in the 1950s, this sweeping story roams from Italy to Hollywood and London, and reaffirms every good feeling along the way. It’s essentially a love story but goes so much further than your simple boy-meets-girls narratives, crossing continents and generations while constantly feeling current and real. Apparently there’s a movie in the making so read it now before the film comes out…

Dodie Smith, ‘I Capture The Castle’  

Written during the Second World War, this beautiful coming of age story follows Cassandra Mortiman and her eccentric, creative family in their impoverished castle in the English countryside. The family’s future looks set to change with the arrival of a wealthy American family nearby and their two very eligible, but very different sons…I just love the way it’s written as you can picture every little detail and intricacy, and I really connected to Cassandra and her whimsical imagination too. Just as good when you’re 28 as it was when I was 15.

Chimamnada Ngozi Adiche, ‘Americanah’

I could have put any of Adiche’s novels in here as they really are all great. But ‘Americanah’ was the one I read most recently and I absolutely loved it. No one writes about identity and race better than Adiche and she manages to weave incredible characters and stories while at it. Americanah follows Ifemelu and Obinze, a young couple in love and studying for their futures at university in Nigeria. Afters trials, tribulations and opportunities arise, Ifemelu leaves for the US while Obinze’s journey takes him to London and back to Lagos. The story follows the next decade of their lives and the relationships that shape them as people.

Pemberly Victorian Wrap

Daisy Crop Bikini Top, Daisy Cheeky BottomGolden Hour Sunglasses


Check out Lucy’s blog Fashion Me Now, and follow her on Instagram.

Photography by James Wright , Editor of So It Goes Magazine.


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6 years ago

These photos show how magical this place is, I guess I need to pay a visit to these islands. And thank you so much for the reading list, I am currently looking for some reading inspiration, perfect timing!