Summer reading recommendations
Need a good book to get your nose stuck into on your summer hols? We asked you for your most suitcase-friendly literary recommendations and here is a selection, in no particular order, of your best summer reads. For lots more, see this discussion in Book of the month.
When Eilis Lacey escapes stagnant 1950s Ireland for the bright lights of New York, she finds herself living in a horribly crowded house in Brooklyn, missing her friends and family. But just as things are looking up, she receives bad news from home and finds herself faced with a terrible dilemma: to fulfil her filial duty and return to Ireland or to stay in Brooklyn with her new love. Get your copy
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
When a man slaps a child who is not his own at a suburban barbeque, the ripples caused by his action call into question the perspectives of the eight people who witness the event, all with deeply different experiences to draw on.
This single act forms the backdrop for this controversial bestseller about domestic life, the modern family and changing social attitudes in the 21st century. Get your copy
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This tale from Mississippi, set in 1962, follows the lives of three unforgettable women. Skeeter is a 22-year-old university graduate, Aibileen is a nursemaid coping with the death of her son and sharp-tongued Minny can't keep a job. Then one day their lives merge, engaging them in a furtive project and helping them to break out of the suffocating times described in The Help. Get your copy
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A harrowing account of the horrors of Nigeria's Biafra war in the 1960s, in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood.
The story is told through the eyes and dynamic relationships of three people's lives: a young houseboy, a middle-class woman and a white man living in Nigeria. As their lives intersect, they must question their responses to the events unfolding around them. Get your copy
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Annie and Duncan have been in an increasingly stagnant relationship for 15 years. Duncan is obsessed with the music of Tucker, a formerly brilliant but now obscure singer-songwriter from the '80s, allegedly in hiding in rural America. When Tucker releases his third album, Annie is less than impressed, and when she publicly airs her opinion there are unexpected consequences. Get your copy
The Road Home by Rose Tremain
Eastern European migrant worker Lev has left everything behind to try to make a better life in England, sending money back to his mother and daughter, all while struggling to cope with the loss of his wife.
During his odyssey, he encounters mysterious English rituals, the fashions and fads of London and forges new friendships. We share his dilemmas, aspirations and dreams of finding a way home. Get your copy
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
This award-winning, non-fiction account of life in one of the world's most isolated countries recounts extraordinary stories of adversity and resilience by six residents of Chongin in North Korea. The author captures the daily struggles of their lives in heartbreaking detail. Get your copy
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
A darkly comic tale of an Indian boy from a rural village who dreams of achieving more in life than wiping tables and crushing coal, while dealing in scams and shaky business promotions on the side.
When he hears of a chauffeur job, he seizes the chance and is soon on his way to Delhi, where he must come to terms with the new India. Get your copy
Dissolution (Shardlake) by C.J. Sansom
Historical detail and a compelling murder mystery make for a winning combination in the first book in the Shardlake series. King Henry VIII has just declared himself the head of the church and monasteries are set to be dissolved.
But at one monastery, events spiral out of control, resulting in a grisly murder. How will reformist and lawyer Dr Matthew Shardlake investigate the crime and cope with the questions it raises about his beliefs? Get your copy
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a compelling tale of family secrets and staggering revelations. Iris discovers a great aunt she never knew she had - Esme was put into care and edited out of her family's history, only to emerge 60 years later.
The ensuing story of two sisters is rife with rivalry, heartbreak and betrayals. This novel is an intense, haunting family drama about the price Esme was made to pay for being an intelligent and unconventional young woman. Get your copy
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