Books that changed my life: Susannah Constantine

Caroline Hutton

The fashion journalist and presenter Susannah Constantine has written her first novel, After the Snow, which is out now, published by HQ

Delta of Venus By Anaïs Nin

Sex wasn’t a subject we discussed when I was growing up, so I was lucky to discover this extraordinary book in my late teens. Now considered a modern classic, this anthology of erotic short stories explores the essence of female sexuality and makes it acceptable and beautiful. Nin’s exquisite descriptions of emotion and sensation opened up an adult world for me.

 

The Map of Love By Ahdaf Soueif

I’ve long been fascinated by the Middle East; the mysticism, culture and creativity of that part of the world is easily overlooked because of its many troubles. But the history and politics of both the first decade of the 20th century and the present day are clearly and brilliantly brought together by parallel love stories in this book. Soueif’s novel reminds us that we are all the same. It doesn’t matter if we’re from different times or countries, we’re all looking for the same things and struggling with similar feelings.

 

Winterdance By Gary Paulsen

Snow has always appealed to me. I also have a passion for adventures, both reading about them and taking part myself, so I was thrilled to immerse myself in Paulsen’s heroic tale of the iconic Alaskan dogsled race, the Iditarod. His tales of preparation and misadventure are really funny, while his relationships with his dogs and the outdoors are moving and exhilarating. Paulsen inspired me to take part in a 300-mile dogsled expedition in 2016. Whenever I had to push my sled or felt the effects of the extreme cold I reminded myself that the Iditarod is 1,180 miles!