Seeing as it’s now July, I wanted to write a post about ten books that I think are the perfect summer reads. These are books that I have read and loved, and while I would recommend anyone to read them at any time of the year, I believe laying on a beach with the sun shining would be the best time to do so!
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I read this book recently and absolutely loved it – you can find my review of it here – and just had to mention it. This is a beautiful and wonderfully crafted novel that follows two sisters’ families throughout many generations, exploring the impact of the slave trade in the eighteenth century and onwards. Set primarily in sunny, exotic Ghana, I believe summer would be the perfect time to dive into this novel and learn about a host of wonderful characters and African culture.
The Girls by Emma Cline
This is another novel I would recommend to read in summer due to its setting: North Carolina in the summer of 1969. Inspired by the infamous Charles Manson and his ‘Family’, this novel follows 14 year old Evie Boyd who gets caught up into a cult, with the charismatic Russell as its leader. Not only does this novel’s setting make it a perfect summer read, it is also extremely fast paced and gripping, making it a perfect novel to read when you have plenty of spare time. My full review of this novel can be found here.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This is a wonderfully heart-warming story that I think would be a brilliant book to get swept into this summer. The novel follows A. J. Fikry, a grumpy middle aged man who after the loss of his beloved wife has a rare first edition stolen from his already failing bookshop. Then, A. J. finds a two year old girl sitting on his doorstep with a letter attached to her, and his life is changed forever. This novel is entertaining and optimistic, and especially brilliant for book lovers!
A Room With a View by E. M. Forster
I love this classic, and you can read my review of it here. Following young Lucy Honeychurch as she attempts to discover herself and gets caught up in love affairs along this way, this novel is a wonderfully written and witty love story that also challenges many issues at the heart of Edwardian society. I always love to read novels with romance at their centre in the summer, and as the novel is partly set in the beautiful Florence, Italy, I cannot think of a better time to read it.
Us by David Nicholls
This is an incredibly funny – and often sad – believable depiction of a family and a marriage and the issues they face. In this novel we follow 54 year old Douglas, who after being told by his wife that she wants to end their marriage, takes them both and their teenage son Albie on a grand tour of Europe. This novel is frank, hilarious and painfully truthful, and due to its delightful descriptions of the European cities the family visit it is a perfect summer read. My full review of it is here.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
This is a wonderful children’s classic following the four Walker children on their family holiday to the Lake District in the 1920s. We see the children sail out their boat, Swallow, to the nearby island and set up camp for the summer, where they undergo many adventures and struggles including a war that develops with two sisters, This is an exciting and endearing children’s novel that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun, quick read. Read my full review here.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is a psychological thriller that follows protagonist Nick Dunne on the day of his fifth wedding anniversary when his beautiful and intelligent wife disappears. This novel really is as good as the hype claims, and I would definitely recommend trying it out even if this isn’t your typical genre. As this novel is extremely gripping and fast paced it definitely benefits from being read in as few sittings as possible, and as such is the perfect novel to take with you to the beach and get sucked into!
The Muse by Jessie Burton
I read this novel really recently and loved it – check out my review of it here. This novel follows two story lines that revolve around a mysterious masterpiece of a painting – one story line follows the painting arriving at a gallery in London in the 1960s, and the other is set in 1930s rural Spain, where the painting originated. This novel is rich and unique, and the story line is so clever and suspenseful that I believe it is the perfect read to get caught up in this summer.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I am a great fan of this novel, and would recommend people try it if they haven’t gotten around to it yet. Set in the 1920s Jazz Age of America, this novel tells the story of the extremely wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Set in the glamorous Long Island, and full of lavish parties, rich colours and vivid imagery I believe this is a brilliant novel to read in the summer time.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
While I do not read much YA fiction summer is personally my favourite time to do so, and this is one that I would really recommend people to read if they want a quick, engaging and emotional read that goes beyond being a lighthearted contemporary. This novel follows two sixteen year olds who are both individual and somewhat outsiders – Eleanor with her red hair and unusual clothes, and Park who wears eyeliner and has black hair and green eyes – and we watch their romance unfold.