Four favourite books: Emily Rich

Something old, new, borrowed and blue

Picking four favourite books from a lifetime of voracious reading seemed such a Herculean task, that I decided a theme was needed. I went to a lovely wedding at the weekend, so have decided upon the nuptial inspired; something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Here we go.

(Something old) Everybody Loves Our Town, by Mark Yarm

I’ve kind of cheated here, as I don’t really read a lot of classic fiction (I blame my English Lit degree for that one). Instead, I’ve gone for something that makes me feel old. But also, nostalgic and happy.

Everybody Loves Our Town is an oral history of Grunge collated through hundreds of interviews with musicians, producers, managers, record executives, photographers, journalists, roadies, scenesters and hangers-on who lived through it. And any book that heavily features Babes in Toyland has to be amazing, right?

(Something new) The Stranding, by Kate Sawyer

I’m actually halfway through this, so I hope the second stretch doesn’t disappoint, but at the moment I’m loving it. A sort of old-school castaway with post-apocalyptic cataclysm mash-up. And it kicks off with the protagonists sheltering from the end of the world inside a dead whale, which is something. 

(Something Borrowed) Vurt, by Jeff Noon

Set in a gritty future version of Manchester, this slice of sci-fi joy was passed around my friends at uni (although it’s mine now!). I was finding it hard to find the words to succinctly describe both the amazingness and weirdness of Vurt, so I asked Chat GPT and it told me, ‘it’s a mind-bending blend of drugs, alternate realities and a whole lot of messed up stuff.’ So there you go.

(Something blue) My year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh

So I didn’t go for blue in THAT sense, I went for it in the sense of feeling blue. Set in New York, this book follows a jaded protagonist as she gradually escalates her use of prescription medications, in an attempt to sleep for an entire year. Darkly funny and with themes of alienation, identify and the pursuit of happiness it doesn’t provide any answers. But it’ll make you feel less guilty about having that nap.

Featured image: The Stranding, by Kate Sawyer

Emily Rich, Lead Strategist

Over the past 15 years Emily has encountered and tackled strategic challenges across virtually every category, working with numerous and varied brands, from Mercedes-Benz to Twinings tea.In recent years she’s headed up work for a number of UK Government clients including PHE and Home Office; from creating strategies to improve health behaviour such as Stoptober and Child Vaccination to devising innovative and award-winning approaches for improving diversity with Police Recruitment.With a passionate, and ever-growing, interest in all things human behaviour Emily continuously seeks to challenge and provoke accepted norms to create true behaviour change.

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MediaCat is an online publication exploring marketing and media change. We focus on brands, the environments where they operate, and the industries that serve them, reporting on ideas, trends, and perspectives. Delving into modern brand experiences, evolving media landscapes, emerging forms of insight, the dynamic world of commerce, forces of transformation in organisations and markets, and the drivers of social impact, we aim to guide professionals navigating a brave new world.

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