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Summer reads 2014 - which books will you be packing this year?

(45 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 30-Jun-14 12:46:37

There's nothing finer than selecting books to take on holiday - whether you're downloading on to your kindle, choosing books you've never had chance to read from your bookshelves or diving into WH Smiths at the airport. It's that time of year and we've put together our selection of this summer's best books for you to peruse before making your selection. Let us know what you think of our selection and if you think we've missed a great book out, share it on this thread.

OP’s posts: |
CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 13:53:45

There are only about 3 books among the 20 that you have selected that are not "women's books". Why?

Do you think we can't read literature?

7Days Mon 30-Jun-14 14:15:51

'Summer reads' tends to focus on the lighter side. Nothing wrong with that

And 'women's books' =/= non literature.

Ellisisland Mon 30-Jun-14 14:27:27

So glad you selected 'Signature of all things' absolutely love that book and need more people to read it so I can discuss it with someone!

KarlWrenbury Mon 30-Jun-14 14:34:45

LOVED her by Harriet Lane
Hated the Luminaries

I hate jo Jo moyes chick lit books so wouldn't even touch that
LOVED Red Love - thanks for putting that in.

I would also suggest (non fic) this about Scandinavia
And if you like real crime this which is REALLY good

and this about London

Other fiction would include Sathnams Marriage Material

and the Pierre Lemaitre crime series

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 30-Jun-14 14:36:52


There are only about 3 books among the 20 that you have selected that are not "women's books". Why?

Do you think we can't read literature?

Quite surprised you feel this - we thought it was a good mix of literary and light-reads and we certainly didn't select them on the basis of them being "women's books". Which books would you like to see on there? And which do you think we shouldn't have put up?

OP’s posts: |
KarlWrenbury Mon 30-Jun-14 14:39:44

Red Love aint womany

'Her' is but WOOOH scary wimmin, and really well written.

Hoorah for Harriet!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 30-Jun-14 14:47:23


So glad you selected 'Signature of all things' absolutely love that book and need more people to read it so I can discuss it with someone!

Hey Ellisisland. Signature of All Things is our book of the month in August, so we'll be giving copies away mid-July and asking mnetters to join the discussion over the summer months and then join the webchat with Elizabeth Gilbert on 3rd September - so hopefully there will be plenty of folks to discuss it with over the summer. We loved it too.

OP’s posts: |
DuchessofMalfi Mon 30-Jun-14 15:55:17

I read The Signature of All Things last week. Couldn't put it down. Thought it was wonderful - epic, beautifully written. Only criticism I would have had was that I wanted more of Henry's story. Agree - everyone should read it smile

mignonette Mon 30-Jun-14 16:03:06

I am taking-

(1) Doubling Back by Linda Cracknell here;

(2) Re reading Swamplandia by Karen Russell;

(3) Chicken Dreaming Corn by Roy Hoffman and

(4) Ruby by Cynthia Bond here.

mignonette Mon 30-Jun-14 16:07:40

Posted too soon- I have read Viv Albertine's book and used to know her as a young woman. She is super bright and I encourage everybody to read her. If I had to choose between her book and any by Caitlin Moran's I'd take Viv's anyday. She is the real deal and doesn't have that breathless sub hysterical tone.

I have also had the recent pleasure of meeting Evie Wylde at a book event and I loved her book and her chat. Such an interesting and thoughtful speaker and so very generous with her time.

Cheboludo Mon 30-Jun-14 20:14:51

Yay for the inclusion of What a Carve Up! I read it 15 years ago and still recommend it. (Though the thread you link to doesn't mention Jonathan Coe as it's all about YA 80s books)

I liked We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves although I've realised I cannot remember the last 50ish pages at all. Worrying as I only read it a couple of months ago confused

I expected to see The Fever by Megan Abbott on the list - it's been on every single American list I've seen, I'm a bit surprised it's not being hyped quite so much over here, although I don't think it's as good as The End of Everything.

I'm also looking forward to Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little.

I'd second the Pierre Lemaitre books, though I'd say they really need to be read out of publication order ie Irène first and then Alex

From the list I hope to read Her, The Lemon Grove, The Year of Reading Dangerously and the Viv Albertine.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:15:04

Hi RachelMN - Thanks for your reply.

I'm surprised that you are surprised. How many of those 20 books do you think would be read by men? 2 or 3, at a stretch? That is what I mean by "women's books". If the idea was to select light reads, why is there not a single murder mystery or a spy book?

I love book recommendations, and clicked on that list with enthusiasm. It was disappointing to see that it had very little other than women's books/stories. Personally, I would have preferred to see a list with more books that are just good - books that would be read & loved by men as well as women.

Next time, maybe check out the 50-Book Challenge thread for inspiration smile

KarlWrenbury Mon 30-Jun-14 21:13:56

Caitlin Moran. Yawn pleas no.

moonshine Mon 30-Jun-14 21:54:25

Viv Albertine's book is one of my favourite of the year so far - not only fascinating about the 'punk' years but also about her struggles and finding a path in life as an older woman.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 01-Jul-14 08:27:37

From the list, I would add to my tbr list (which is now far too long - I need to live to over 100 grin) would be A Year of Reading Dangerously, Arctic Summer, and Mom and Me and Mom.

I loved I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and listened to the abridged version of Mom and Me and Mom when it was read on Radio 4, which just gave a taster of Maya Angelou's wonderful writing.

I haven't read any of E M Forster's novels, yet, but plan to put that right, so the Damon Galgut one would be interesting. Will have a look and see how long the library waiting list for it is smile

Sallystyle Tue 01-Jul-14 08:55:51

We are all completes beside ourselves in an excellent book.

Ellisisland Tue 01-Jul-14 08:57:27

Duchess - so glad you liked signature of all things! I loved it so much but have never seen anyone else on here who has read it. Agreed loved Henry's story as much as Alma's smile

Magic Tue 01-Jul-14 09:48:23

I'd like to add "Elizabeth is Missing" by Emma Healey to the summer reads list. It's the story of Maud who is forgetful and confused. She often forgets why she is doing something and sometimes she doesn't recognise her daughter, Helen - but one thing she is certain of is that her friend, Elizabeth, is missing.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 01-Jul-14 11:22:07

I'm currently trying to persuade DH to read The Signature of All Things. Am pretty sure he'd like it too. He loves anything about botany - has shelves of books about plants and the plant hunters. And it's a wonderful story.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 11:23:25

Someone told me a very far-fetched story about how the girl in Signature Of All Things discovered something to do with plants? Can't remember what it was now.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 11:24:00

Ah sorry I thought I was in the 50-Book Challenge thread. Ignore my question.

Sallystyle Tue 01-Jul-14 12:00:09

Yes, Elizabeth is missing is great.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 01-Jul-14 13:34:45

Cote - essentially Alma had, through her lifetime of botanical study, come up with a theory very similar to that of Darwin but because she was a woman in Victorian times ie unlikely to be taken seriously and also felt she didn't have all the evidence to back her theory she refused to publish. It makes for a fascinating read, particularly if you have an interest in botany.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 13:40:51

Thanks, Duchess.

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