Summer reads 2016: Best paperback books to pack

Feast your eyes on these fantastic paperback books for the 2016 summer holidays - perfectly packable and completely compelling

See also our list of the best latest releases to download onto your Kindle.

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The Past by Tessa Hadley

Four siblings come together over a stifling summer to decide upon the future of a crumbling family house. Tensions are stretched and secrets unfold in this brilliant exploration of family relations and values, told with Tessa Hadley’s magic touch.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

Shortlisted for this year's Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, and Mumsnet's August Book of the Month, Hannah Rothschild's novel is a delightful romp into the glitzy art world of London. Its cast of characters includes rap stars, sheiks, Russian billionaires and, at the centre of the novel, a lost masterpiece.

The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helen Atlee

A glorious and surprisingly gripping holiday read about the history of Italy, told through the story of citrus fruit. Infused with Italy’s flavours, culture and romance, and written in elegant prose. Wherever you're holidaying this year, you'll be dreaming of Italy.

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Guylain Vignolles works in a book pulping factory, each day saving some pages to read aloud on the 6:27 train. One morning he finds himself reading from the diary of a woman called Julie, and begins to fall in love. An enchanting story about book lovers, for book lovers.

"What an absolute tour de force! I simply loved this epic tale of forbidden love in the heady days of the 1920s."

Villa America by Lisa Klaussmann

Klaussmann's second novel is a smart and diverting read focusing on Sara and Gerald Murphy, American expatriates in France in the 1920s. Their dazzling array of house guests includes artists and celebrities such as Picasso, Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. But the arrival of a young pilot throws the Murphy's lives into disarray as they are forced to choose between idealism and love.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The tight plot, glamorous New York setting and unforgettable heroine, Ani FaNelli, make this our number one page-turner this summer. The story is made all the more poignant by Jessica Knoll's letter in Lena Dunham's newsletter confessing to her own ordeal as a teenager.

Subtitled 'A History of Germany', Thomas Harding’s book looks at the events of the twentieth century through the history of one country house, and the five families who lived there - including his grandmother's - weaving their stories together.

After You by Jojo Moyes

Whether you've read the book or seen the film (or both), this summer provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on Lou’s life with the much awaited sequel to Me Before You, out in paperback. Huge envy if you've yet to discover Jojo Moyes - pack both books, along with a big box of Kleenex.

Sweet Caress by William Boyd

An entertaining and intelligent read, Boyd's latest novel tells the story of a woman who follows the complexities of war, fate, and her own life through the lens of her camera. Convincing characters and rich writing should earn this book a place on everyone's summer reading list.

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

The author of Booker-shortlisted debut Swimming Home brings us a powerful novel about female resilience, independence and relationships, which will remain in your mind long after you've left its sticky Andalusian heat and medusa-filled seas. 

"If anyone's looking for a family saga-type holiday read - with a good bit of mystery thrown in - then this is for you."

The Lake House by Kate Morton

An enchanting tale of an abandoned old house and a family harbouring long-buried secrets. Atmospheric and gripping, this is a classic mystery with plenty of twists and turns as well as intriguing characters.

Nemesis by Misha Glenny

Described as "Breaking Bad meets City of God", Misha Gleny's gripping investigation charts the story of Antonio Francisco de Bonfirm Lopes (known as Nem), from his poverty-stricken beginnings in one of Rio's largest favelas to chief of a drug cartel and one of Rio's most wanted criminals. A fascinating insight into Brazil's attempt to transform itself, ahead of the 2014 World Cup and this year's Olympics.

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

Frustrated at the prospect of another English winter, a husband and father uproots his reluctant but tired family from Cambridge, England and flies them to Australia in search of a better life. Beautifully written, Stephanie Bishop's second novel is a profound and moving portrait of marriage and parenthood.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

This year's winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction is set in the grubby underworld of post-crash Cork, tracking the intertwined lives of five people. It's been described as "gritty" and "urban", but it's also surprisingly funny, and contains one of the most convincing teenage characters we've ever come across.

I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers

Set in the leafy suburbs of Hampstead, this novel explores a tragic event which connects two families in a tangled web of secrecy and guilt. Owen Sheers skilfully weaves together their stories in this tense page-turner.

"I'm going to get The Stand uncut for my holidays. Should keep me going!"

The Stand by Stephen King

Whether you read the abridged or unabridged edition, The Stand is an epic that reveals deeper levels of mystery and meaning the more times you read it. A Mumsnet favourite by popular acclaim - warning: it has the potential to make you cry "big, gloopy, not terribly pretty tears".

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Jefferson's moving and generous memoir explores her experience growing up as a member of the African-American middle classes in mid-century Chicago. Discussing the weight of expectation placed on her shoulders by her race, her class, and her gender, Jefferson is among the most thoughtful of writers not just on race relations, but on a whole nation's culture and history.

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

An absorbing, pacy book full of secrets, lovable characters and dramatic turns, Black Rabbit Hall revolves around the lives and loyalties of four siblings caught up in a life-changing event at their family’s country home in Cornwall. A fantastic debut.

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrente

If you're feeling bereft having completed the entire collection of Neapolitan novels, then delve into Ferrente's second: a breathtaking novella about a woman abandoned by her husband after 15 years of marriage and left to pick up the pieces while caring for her two daughters.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Pulley's debut novel has traces of steampunk, but make no mistake - it's also a glorious gambol through late Victorian history, politics, physics, feminism and engineering. It features an intensely likeable hero, a determined heroine, and a mechanical octopus. What's not to love?

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