At Savoir Flair, reading is one of our most valued and cherished past times. This new monthly series invites you to discover the books that our editors are loving right now, with insights into why each one is worthy of your time and attention.
'My Name Is Red' by Orhan Pamuk
Recommended by Noor Tehini, Head of Content
I have long held a fascination for anything to do with the Ottoman Empire and with the history of Turkey, even though I’ve never been there, and often find myself walking into bookstores to ask for anything on that subject. This was the last of these books that I picked up from the iconic Book Soup store in Los Angeles. I had never come across the author before but was intrigued by the fact that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
A word of warning: This book will require some commitment on your part. In fact, the first few chapters, which are each written from the perspective of a different character, including that of a chair, a tree, and a paint color, will feel like downright hard work. Stick with it, and I promise that this will be one of the most beautifully written stories you have ever read. I found myself marveling at Pamuk’s descriptive abilities, wondering how it was even possible for the human brain to dream up such wonderful sentences.
As for the story itself, it is one of crime, love, and mystery, and it will keep you guessing until the absolute last moment.
Orhan Pamuk ‘My Name Is Red’
AED40 / SAR41
'M Train' by Patti Smith
Recommended by Grace Gordon, Fashion Features Editor
Even though I am a fast reader, it took me months to finish Patti Smith’s phenomenal, self-proclaimed “novel about nothing” as I took ample time to savor every delicious turn of phrase, mind-bending metaphor, and symphonic sentence. Her prose makes my brain light on fire, makes me see the world in new ways, makes me feel deep down in my marrow. After falling in love with her incredible way with words while reading her debut novel Just Kids, I have eagerly anticipated every subsequent release, and M Train does not disappoint.
On its surface, this meandering narrative introduces us to Smith’s eccentric personal world, where her routine involves brown bread, a dish of olive oil, and a cup of strong black coffee at her local café and evenings spent with her cats and various crime shows. However, it is interwoven with tales of world travels with her husband, Fred, now deceased, and her extraordinarily eccentric life after his death.
For reasons that I still can’t grasp, Smith, the poet and progenitor of NYC punk in the 1970s, is a real-life member of the Continental Drift Club – an “obscure society serving as an independent branch of the earth-science community.” In one of the book’s chapters, she traverses the globe to Berlin on an invitation to speak, where she bumbles and subsequently recovers her lecture in front of a scrutinizing audience.
Later, she travels to Japan, chasing the well from Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. As she shifts between memory, real life, and philosophical ponderings, the reader wonders what it all means, until suddenly and with heart-breaking awe you realize that this is the story of a woman dealing with grief in her own unique way. This is a story about someone losing their other half, someone with whom they have wandered the world and built a home, and that, while it proclaims to be about “nothing”, it is about something very, very real: our inability to comprehend death. Astonishing.
Patti Smith ‘M Train’
AED60 / SAR61
'The Signature of All Things' by Elizabeth Gilbert
Recommended by Frankie Rozwadowska, Beauty Editor
Elizabeth Gilbert has done it again, creating yet another bestseller with her stunning novel The Signature of All Things. But this is a far cry from Eat, Pray, Love, so don’t expect anything similar. Set in the 1800s, it follows the life of Alma Whittaker – a blossoming botanist who embarks on a journey of spirituality, love, heartbreak, and adventure in the age of Darwin and the theory of evolution.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll question the world and the nature of its beings through the incredibly researched and beautifully in-depth world created by Gilbert. An instant classic, and one I couldn’t put down.
Elizabeth Gilbert ‘The Signature of All Things’
AED44 / SAR45
'Men Without Women' by Haruki Murakami
Recommended by Samia Qaiyum, Culture Editor
I’ve long taken an interest in the topic of gender roles and the (sometimes adverse) effects of recent generations defying them – or attempting to, at least – so picking and binge-reading Men Without Women was a no-brainer. The series of subtly witty short stories by Haruki Murakami is a bit of a departure from what we’d normally expect of the internationally acclaimed Japanese writer, but it is no less brilliant.
Within these pages lie tale after tale of men who have lost a woman, be it to death or through infidelity. The subsequent solitude of each essay’s leading character is sure to force you to confront some of your own uncomfortable truths, making the book as thought-provoking as it is entertaining – provided you’re up to the task.
Haruki Murakami ‘Men Without Women’
AED62 / SAR64
'the sun and her flowers' by Rupi Kaur
Recommended by Shannon Paris-Cross, Fashion Editor
the sun and her flowers takes its reader on a powerful journey through love and heartbreak divided into five chapters: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. The collection of prose is both written and illustrated by Canadian-born poet Rupi Kaur, whose previous work Milk and Honey tackled the subjects of loss, trauma, violence, and sexual abuse in striking fashion.
It’s Kaur’s uncensored, anecdotal, and simplistic writing style, paired with her undoubtable “wokeness”, that makes her poetry accessible for the millennial. This book is an escape from and a raw representation of today’s approach to love. In my opinion, it’s a must-read for 20-somethings.
Rupi Kaur ‘the sun and her flowers’
AED38 / SAR39