Summer reads 2013

Catch up on those books you've been longing to read or try something entirely new. We've compiled a selection of fantastic summer reads that ranges from lauded literary fiction to glorious escapism and compelling non-fiction.

If you think we've missed a Must Read, do share your thoughts on the boards. And if you find yourself pining for Mumsnet book club while you're away, follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop. 

Where D'You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where D'You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Shortlisted for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, our Sept book of the month is compulsively readable comedy. When brilliant and unconventional Bernadette Fox goes missing, her daughter turns detective to track her down. Packed with wit, honesty and charm.


A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge

A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge

A touchingly written, quirky story set in the world of funeral homes, where twenty-something Lee Hart is an apprentice while also caring for his deaf brother and widowed step-father. Original, quick to read and a very distinctive voice.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds by Kevin PowersWinner of the Guardian First Book Award, our July book of the month is a powerful debut novel about one soldier’s experience of the Iraq war, and of the alienation and disorientation he feels when returning home. Completely beautiful and utterly devastating.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana MathisThe story of America’s Great Migration told through generations of one unforgettable family. An allegory of race and slavery that follows in the footsteps of Toni Morrison.

Octavia by Jilly Cooper
Octavia by Jilly CooperBeautiful, glamorous Octavia is used to getting her own way. An invite to join friends for a weekend away is seen as the perfect opportunity to bag a new man, despite the fact he’s engaged to an old friend. Set in the heatwave of 76, it’s sizzling hot with all the trademarks of the perfect Cooper romp.


Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David SedarisDavid Sedaris is incredibly funny whatever subject he tackles. Here the best-selling essayist takes us on an absurd world tour that includes French dentists, Beijing toilets and a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop.

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Kiss Me First by Lottie MoggachWhat happens to your online self when you die? This perfectly-executed thriller explores one possibility as it probes addiction and the nature of existence. A perfect summer read for the discerning Mumsnetter.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess WalterA gloriously romantic and joyful novel that hops between the sun-drenched Italian Riviera of the 1960s and modern Hollywood. A New York Times bestseller, recommended by Nick Hornby and a stylish accessory for lounging by the pool.

Waiting For Sunrise by William Boyd

Waiting For Sunrise by William BoydVienna, 1913. Lysander, a young English actor, is in Freud's waiting room when the enigmatic Hettie Bull walks in. Unaware of how destructive the consequences of their subsequent affair will be, Lysander becomes entangled in a dangerous web of wartime intelligence. Boyd's writing is, as always, intelligent and gripping.

My Education by Susan Choi

My Education by Susan ChoiSusan Choi proves that it is possible to write something both erotic and literary. Blinded by youthful desire, a young student embarks on an affair with her tutor’s wife. A coming of age story about erotic obsession and love gone wrong.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesA time-traveling Depression-era drifter must murder the 'shining girls' in order to continue his travels. However, one of his victims survives and vows to track down her would-be killer. A brutal, jigsaw puzzle story from the award-winning Sci-Fi writer.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenWith 624 five-star reviews on Amazon, this is undoubtedly the year's most staggeringly popular hit. If you're still yet to read the sorrowful yet uplifting love story between two teenage cancer patients, now is your chance. Be prepared to sob.

Vanished Years by Rupert Everett

Vanished Years by Rupert Everett

Non-fiction book of the month in May, Rupert Everett’s memoir is a darkly comic collection of snapshots from his tumultuous life. One Mumsnetter warns: 'Don't read if easily offended as he doesn't mince words... I have a hide thicker than a rhinoceros so I'm enjoying this immensely'.


The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

Tamia is horrified when her husband is accused of a terrible crime – but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Dorothy serves up an intriguing set of characters in this tricksy mystery. Nothing is what it seems and you won't see the end coming.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwanAnother superior spy thriller by another top British writer - this time with a female MI5 heroine who is caught up in a bizarre network of propaganda and story-telling. The relationship between identity, fiction, lies and self-knowledge is slowly uncovered during the course of an affair, and the suspense is kept at perfect pitch throughout.

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Train Dreams by Denis JohnsonSparse, elegiac prose describes a labourer's struggles to come to terms with family loss and the changes in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Can be read in one sitting but will stay with you for a long time. Described by the New York times as 'a small masterpiece'.

Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss

Names for the Sea by Sarah MossOur July non-fiction choice is ideal for when the heat and mosquitoes get too much. An observant and witty account of one family’s adventures in Iceland (including lava fields, frozen waves and a woman who talks to elves), it will make you long for knitted jumpers and frosty mornings. 

Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland by Stephen KingStephen King's Joyland weaves between the ghost trains, ferris wheels and shooting galleries to spin a pungent and gripping tale of an unsolved murder at an amusement park on the windblown coast of North Carolina.

Skios by Michael Frayn

Skios by Michael FraynSome farcical summer fun, as a case of mistaken identity gets ever more complicated on a Greek island. Just like Frayn’s funniest plays, expect a helter-skelter of comic plot twists with a nod to PG Wodehouse. Just hang on to your luggage...

Toby's Room by Pat Barker

Toby's Room by Pat BarkerBooker-winner and author of Regeneration trilogy Pat Barker returns to the First World War in Toby's Room, a pacy, compelling novel that explores the role of art and artists, their connection to surgery, and the mental and physical repercussions of war.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean in'What would you do if you weren’t afraid?' asks the COO of Facebook and former VP of Google in her rallying cry to young women. Some of her advice has been divisive, but she does a laudable job of shining a light on sexism's shadowy nooks and inspiring women with the example of her own incredible success.

Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant

Under Your Skin by Sabine DunnantGaby Mortimer, TV presenter and perfect ubermum discovers a dead body when she’s out on her daily run. As the police enquiry progresses all the evidence keeps pointing back to her and her perfect life implodes. Sabine Dunant's whodunnit will keep you guessing right to the last page.



Last updated: over 2 years ago