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?

MummyPenguin Wed 07-Sep-11 20:12:34

Enjoyed 'One Day' and Dawn French's 'A Tiny Bit Marvellous' this Summer. Also read the second Stieg Larsson 'The Girl Who Played With Fire.' 'Mini-Shopaholic' (Sophie Kinsella is a favourite of mine.) Recently finished 'The Truth About Melody Browne' by Linda Jewell (Got free with a magazine) and that was really good. Now reading 'I Don't Know How She Does It' which is really good. Looking forward to seeing the film now. I saw 'One Day' recently too. The thing I like about seeing a film after reading a book is that it makes the characters that you've got to 'know' in the book come alive and become 'real.'

Hah! Holidays almost over and did I get any reading done? did I hell....

Still looking mournfully at When God Was a Rabbit which is staring back at me disapprovingly, having been put down after one page each night as my eyes clamp shut within seconds of head touching pillow.

But now that September is here, I am going to get back in the saddle.

We have the phenomenally brilliant David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) coming to chat to us in Bookclub on 28th September, if anyone is a fan. His new book, THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOOT, was the last thing I read that I absolutely could NOT put down. He is utterly remarkable - so original, yet completely enjoyable and readable. So that's my other recommendation, definitely.

Poisonwood Bible is similar, in fact, being a total gem of historical fiction with stunningly beautiful prose.

Thanks to all for recommendations - I am going to look up all the above.

bumpsoon Thu 25-Aug-11 21:57:11

dorajarr which marconi book? is there a new one ?

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 25-Aug-11 20:17:14

Must get a copy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as I read a borrowed copy years ago and would like to read it again before the film comes out.

Have you had your holiday yet Tilly and did you manage to get any reading done? If so, what did you enjoy?

afussyphase Mon 15-Aug-11 22:04:28

I love some of Barbara Kingsolver's books but not the Poisonwood Bible. I remember it as rather brutish. I loved The Bean Trees, though. I read Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time more than 10 years ago, and still sometimes I think of it. I'd highly recommend it.

For fun reading, even if you're not a fan of sci-fi, I would definitely, really, really recommend the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. It's character- and story- driven, so it's not about the sci-fi aspect (that's just the setting, really). And it's so fun and so gripping and light but at the same time there's the odd kernel of wisdom in there. Wish I could start them all over but I've read them all more than once now, sigh. smile

Listlessbean Sat 16-Jul-11 17:11:54

I read a lot ...but mostly first chapters! I find it hard to find a book that really engages.... but for you my friends, I have grin

My top book recommendations for a summer read would be:

Police, Crime & 999 by John Donoghue
The True Story of a front Line Officer. Fantastic! This is the inside story of a world we only ever see the surface of. Brilliant observational wit makes this THE funniest book I've ever read. A lovely light read you can easily pick up and put down ...but warning: DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC unless you are not easily embarassed - you will snort and laugh out loud at the most inoppertune times. wink and your other half will steal it!)

The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isabel Losada
This is a life changing book ..funny and inspiring. I can't recount the number of times I've had to buy new books after I leant copies out to friends who never returned it ..or else bought as presents. Isabel is on a quest to find enlightenment ..simple as that. Just a lovely book. smile

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.

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

oh tilly i LOVED american wife too

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 13:05:16

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

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???

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

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.

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

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

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

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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)

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

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 20:40:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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