Best books for this summer - what are yours?

(31 Posts)

I must be in grip of mad delusion (holiday reading? with three boys aged 5, 3 and 4 months? who am I kidding?) but I am nonetheless happily stockpiling the paperbacks already. This is what I'm going for:

When God Was a Rabbit - this has had rave reviews (plus the thumbs-up from my older sister who has always been my benchmark for top beach reads) and just seems to fit the summery bill

The Paris Wife - hoping this will be like Curtis Sittingfield's American Wife (my top summer read last year) with added literary-ness and French chic. I couldn't hack more than one day married to Hemingway so interested to see how it really felt.

The Tiger's Wife - I seem to have a lot of Wifes going on, but this one won the 2011 Orange Prize, and am thinking perhaps the author Tea Obrecht might come and be a Bookclub author in the autumn, so prepping up now

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - have never read this Le Carre classic, and I suddenly fancy a pacy thriller. Perhaps to offset all the Wifes.

The Great Sea - this is a massive history of the Mediterrannean which, given we are holidaying in Cumbria this year, will give me an escape into olive groves and clear warm water. And there are 600 pages of those olive groves. Like I said, mad delusion...

What are your holiday reads going to be? Got any hot tips?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 14-Jun-11 20:20:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:28:52

I have just downloaded When God was a Rabbit onto my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading it on my hols. At the minute I am reading Rose Tremain's Trespass which I am loving.

Stewie I loved the Poisonwood Bible and Half a Yellow Sun, BUT The Diviners is actually my most favourite book of all time - I am actually jealous of you having not read it yet!! I read it at Uni when I took a course in Canadian writing (so lots of Atwood, Munro, Carol Sheleds) and was completely and utterly blown away by it - so loking forward to discussing it on here when you have read it!!

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:29:23

shields, not sheleds!

RupertTheBear Tue 14-Jun-11 20:36:36

I loved When God was Rabbit.

I am going to Spain in a few weeks and planning to take (on my kindle)

Jump by Jilly Cooper (I know it's trash but it is a proper beach read)
The Poisonwood Bible (I read The Lacuna last year and loved and have been told this is better)
The last part of Dragon Tattoo series ( have read the first two but not picked up the last one yet)
The third Shardlake book (I am pacing myself with these - I dont want to read them too soon IYSWIM)

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:38:40

Ooh haven't read The Lacuna, will add that to my wishlist!

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 14-Jun-11 20:40:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:50:36

No, didnt read him. Did read Alastair McLeod and Jane Urqhuart as well, would recommend both of those.

Will have to look up Robertson Davies, thanks for the tip and enjoy The Diviners!

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 14-Jun-11 20:54:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

supersocrates Tue 14-Jun-11 22:01:32

A Wonderful Life? (Keef Feeley) tells the story of a teenage girl, Stacey, who tries to commit suicide after becoming overwhelmed by her problems and the stress associated with them. However, she begins to turn her life around after she is visited by the ghost of her great Granddad, Arthur. Arthur tells Stacey about 8 skills needed to succeed, how she can acquire them, and the impact they would have on her life.
What is particularly refreshing about this book is that, though it is made clear that Stacey chose the path she did, the writer draws attention to the way parents’ behaviour can affect their child, and how schools fail to teach children the 8 essential skills outlined in the book. So, rather than trying to pin point the blame, it highlights the ways in which many institutions in society can affect the lives of children and teenagers.
In addition to this, it is nice to see how Stacey’s relationships develop with her family, particularly her younger sister, Suzi, as they endeavour to learn more about the 8 skills, positive parenting, self-esteem, self-harm and a number of other key issues tackled within the book.
Review of the book written by Ruth Anderson. (age 19 years)

DJB Wed 15-Jun-11 10:14:19

For me, the best book has to be Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult. Fantastic twist in it and amazing to imagine what you would do if someone was hurting your child. Hard to read as the subject matter is difficult (child abuse) but a fantastic book and brilliantly written.

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0340960531/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=matebelt-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=0340960531

quitefrankly Wed 15-Jun-11 20:44:37

I'm currently reading Tina Fey's "Bossypants". I'm only three chapters in and it's made me laugh out so loud much that sleeping husband keeps getting irritated.

shezzle Wed 15-Jun-11 23:00:21

The Novel in the Viola
The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs

Both very different fiction but equally as good for holiday reads or otherwise, first is set in wartime about a family in Vienna who send their daughter to England to be safe as many people did during the war. It is a moving and incredibly poignant read,and at one point made me cry but I would read it again and again as the writing is beautiful. I could imagine this being made in to a film.

The second is a bit of a laugh but also an insightful, look at marriage and relationships. A woman decides to keep a spreadsheet of what her hubby does and doesn't do at home in order for her to decide if it is all worth it. Definitely not a 'down on men' kind of read as it may seem by my description anything but -do get it as is so funny! Again I found this very well written and have passed round to all my friends. Loved it.

inthesticks Thu 16-Jun-11 16:25:52

Crime and Punishment. A little light reading for the beach.
May take Jump in case I finish the above. wink

solareclipse Thu 16-Jun-11 19:08:49

Has anyone read "Then", the new novel by Julie Myerson? I've strongly disliked at least one of her books, but this new one is apparently post-apocalyptic and rather good. Still in hardback, though, so not great for the summer packing. Maybe someone on Kindle?

Ilovetoread Thu 16-Jun-11 20:01:39

My summer reads are as follows (in an ideal, no time constraints!!):
'The Secret Intensity of Every Day Life' - William Nicolson: 3/4 of the way through. Beautifully written, so enjoying the secrets bubbling under the villagers' facades.
Have Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Stranger's Child' which I can't wait to read as I love his books/writing.
'Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance' because I love The Smith and Morrissey and am intrigued to read what the author theorises happened.
'The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner' as I loved 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' and this is meant to be very much in the same vein.
And lots of renaissance drama as that is my next module for my English Liturature degree...
Perhaps I am hugely overestimating the time I am going to have available to spend reading - we shall see and I shall remain ever the optimist hmm

Dillydollydaydream Thu 16-Jun-11 21:12:41

I've just finished 'after you'd gone' by maggie o'farrell.
Loved it.
Got 'Room' to read next smile

MrsE Fri 17-Jun-11 09:35:59

The help - it's a story about American housekeepers in 1960 America and how a white American helps them tell their story - brilliant

threestars Fri 17-Jun-11 13:48:27

I'm just finishing Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, which I've loved. He decided, in 1960 or 1961, to travel around the States with his dog, as he hadn't visited many parts of the country for years. It's a series of observations and encounters, not necessarily a travel book, with honest and straightforward writing and musings over the future of America that are very relevant to today. It's a short book too.

Next up is The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard which was recommended by the Independent at the weekend. It's set in war-torn Naples and is apparently about friendship and love. Apparently the writing is beautiful. And it's short.

Ask The Dust by John Fante because I read another of his books a few years ago and really liked it, and it comes recommended by Charles Bukowski whose books I like for their mad and self-deprecating honesty. Quite short this one (seeing a trend?)

and City Boy by Edmund White which my husband bought me a few months ago and keeps asking me when I'm going to start it. It's an account of the writer's life in New York in the 60s and 70s and described as "at once fascinating social history and sublimely detailed gossip". So we'll see. Not sure if it's just going to be full of name-dropping. And it's not so short.

fuzzylj Fri 17-Jun-11 22:41:25

In light of the debate about the NHS I heartily recommend "so much for that" by Lionel Shriver, blurb sounds a tad depressing but is a thoroughly excellent read. The Smiley triology is a brilliant place to start with Le Carre, just make sure your memory for names is switched on! Also big fan of anything by Peter Hoeg and Steven Sherril, as for Atwood's Blind Assassin - another superb choice. If you want a laugh and enjoy literature start with Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series
Enjoy your summers folks smile

coolbeans017 Wed 06-Jul-11 14:17:03

I really want to read 'When God was a Rabbit'...watched the small video on amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-God-Rabbit-Sarah-Winman/dp/0755379284
(I love it when they do that) and already seems like a touching read. Is it an easy read? Does it make you cry???

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 13:05:16

i reccy
Teh english german girl here www.amazon.co.uk/English-German-Girl-Wallis-Simons/dp/1846971764
and 22 Britania road

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 13:06:21

also doing all the wallander books

the stuart maconie book is good too

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 13:06:39

oh tilly i LOVED american wife too

The Tent,the bucket and me by Emma Kennedy www.amazon.co.uk/Tent-Bucket-Me-Emma-Kennedy/dp/0091926793/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310566892&sr=1-1 is what I have just read... not for great English Prose but for great chuckle-out-loud light relief on the subject of family holidays, camping in particular. Hilarious biographical anecdotes that can't help you wonder how your kids will see the holiday you've just embarked on when looking back in years to come grin . I borrowed the book on recommendation from another mum, so only fair I spread the laughs further.

Other than that I will recommend most Le Carre as I love a good spy-thriller. Tinker, Tailor... is very good, but then one is compelled to work through the whole George Smiley series. My next reading will be most Kate Atkinson as I have not yet barked and had to miss the latest TV adaptation as I want to read books first.

Thanks to DoraJarr for their The German English Girl recommendation, looks great... have added it to my list.

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