Thursday, 14 June 2018

Summer Holiday Reading

I've selected some of my favourite reads from the past year which I think are perfect for holiday reading. Yes, they're literary rather than poolside blockbuster as that's just not my style, but I think all of these books are accessible rather than the sort of read that feels like a penance. Starting from the top:

Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale - I was kindly sent a proof copy of this and have really enjoyed it; I've not read Patrick Gale before but I loved this coming of age story, set partly in 1970s Weston-super-Mare (I place I went to a lot as a child too) which follows Eustace and his family and relationships, with music and his passion for the cello as a compelling constant. (do note this book isn't out till mid August)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - moving stories are weaved together in this stunning tale set in wartime St Malo. Both a history lesson and an account of the personal tragedies experienced in occupied France and Nazi Germany. 

Us by David Nicholls - this was so resonant to me as a mother of a teenage son. Both laugh-out-loud funny and unbearably melancholy, it encapsulates the perfect holiday read as it tells the story of a couple on the brink of separation as they embark on one last family trip around Europe. I loved it.

Lullaby by Leila Slimani - comes with a big caveat: do not read if you're currently organising your back to work childcare. Dark and devastating, this is a taut novel that draws on real-life events to bring every parent's darkest thoughts to life. Slimani serves up a truly compelling story of a woman's mental breakdown and its unbearable consequences.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay - the book everyone's talking about and with good reason. I haven't quite finished this one but it's had me in fits. A must-read for lovers of black comedy who a) aren't pregnant b) don't have any surgeries pending at the moment.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson - a gentle and simple tale, with an almost allegorical feel about it. Set in Finland, it tells the story of a young girl who spends the summer with her grandmother on an isolated island. As the curious girl and independent, sometimes crotchety grandmother come together, a tender tale of family love and relationships is revealed. And you'll definitely want to go to Finland after reading this.

For One More Day by Mitch Albom - I discovered this writer off the back of one of those handwritten recommendations in Waterstones and instantly fell in love with his writing. This is a lovely slice of holiday reading with a very poignant message about mother-son relationships. 

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