Summer is often a time when those of us who are normally too busy actually get a moment to delve properly into a book. If you’re looking for ideas for what to read this summer, we’ve picked some fabulous books to go with 5 different summer scenarios, from a beach-read to a guide to having fun outdoors.
The summer beach book
A beach book needs to be something lightweight (especially if you are having to do that thing where you use the book to shield your eyes from the sun!), gripping and not too demanding. Sling a book into your beach tote, along with a quick-drying super absorbent linen towel, some sunscreen and a bottle of water and you’ll be happy all day. This book, by debut and name-to-watch Emily Elgar is a high-concept thriller, but instead of the usual police-procedural it is based around a hospital and the events surrounding the arrival on the ICU ward of the mysterious Cassie. Pacy, beautifully told and page-turning to the end, this is much more than your typical beach read. Other great beach choices are sun-drenched classics like Francois Sagan Bonjour Tristesse, Khaled Hosseini And the Mountains Echoed or Tove Jansson Summer Book.
The vacation read
Vacations can be great times to tackle a classic tome that you feel you should have read but never had time to. Taking one longer book rather than two or three short ones saves you packing space too. You will have more time, more quite moments and leisurely breakfasts for which a good book can be the perfect companion. Classics with an element of travel are even better. Try Henry James A Portrait of a Lady, or Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea to get you going. Along with a simple summer scarf, some decent sunglasses and a bottle of refreshing facial mist, a book should be part of your basic essential summer vacation kit.
Family fun for summer
Summer can often mean long journeys with hot, tired children. Arm yourself with some fun books to keep spirits high while you are travelling, and for inspiration on outdoor things to do once you get there. These books will also be invaluable if you are at home over the long summer break wondering how on earth you are going to fill the days. Make it Wild has 101 things to do outdoors, from creating ice sculptures to building dens, and I’m Bored is packed with brilliant, fun things to do with little or no cost or resources.
Summer food inspiration
From classic cookbooks like Elizabeth David’s Mediterranean Food to new releases such as Zoe Adjonyoh’s Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, make the most of all the delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables available in summer with some kitchen inspiration. Cooking in hot weather can be a chore, so find a cookbook with plenty of salads and simple dishes that don’t involve sweating away over a hot stove. Pair your new cookbook with some new kitchen linens for a total summer kitchen refresh.
The follow-up to Cathy Rentezenbrink’s heartbreaking first book, A Manual for Heartache is a comfort read for curling up with on a rainy day. Because, let’s face it, it is going to rain at some point. This book explores ways to recover from and live with feelings of loss and grief, told with Rentzenbrink’s trademark humour and compassion. It’s like having a chat with your best friend, and will help you get through any emotional bumps you encounter. Snuggle up with a cosy throw and a cup of tea, and lose yourself in this book.
Wishing you a peaceful, sun-filled summer!