Whether you’re going on a trip around the world or staying at home, a good book is a summer essential! Here are 10 types of books I recommend for your holidays.
One.// A childhood classic. There is nothing better than rereading a book which you loved as a child. They hold memories and experiences you may not recall on a day to day basis, and it’s fantastic to relive that as you read the book. This is especially fantastic if you’re reading a book you haven’t picked up in a while, because you can almost feel as though you’re reading it for the first time!
I’ll be reading the House of Night series by P.C and Kristen Cast, a series I loved as a young girl. I’ve already started Marked and already the events take on meanings I never saw at 12 years old when the book first came out. It feels good to go back to the days of vampire novels! I’m also preparing myself to read the rest of the series, because I when I finished the third it was only a trilogy. Now there are 12 books. And 5 novellas. It’s going to be a busy summer!
Two.// A Classic. Whether it’s to prep for your workload in September, because you crave classical education or just because you love the bygone years, reading classic novels is a key part of my summer.
Thanks to the release of the film, Far from the Madding Crowd, I decided to reread this Thomas Hardy novel. I never finished it and I’m looking forward to finally being able to finish a Hardy book without tears or irrational author-based anger.
Three.// A Romance. What could be more uplifting than reading a hopelessly romantic story? I’m not talking about plotless erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey, but real, heart-warming romance. One of my guilty pleasures is curling up with a Mills & Boon (Harlequin) Romance book and a cup of tea and losing myself in the damaged heroes and lovelorn female protagonists.
This summer, though, I’ll be finishing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, because I simply have to find out who Celaena chooses, and the plot is fascinating in itself. I finished Throne of Glass a couple of weeks ago and finally purchased books two and three just before I went on holiday. Thank goodness for my Waterstone’s points card, which meant my purchase only cost me 67 pence instead of nearly sixteen pounds!
Four.// Historical Fiction. This has always been a favourite genre of mine, naturally, and I’ve always included a historical novel in my summer reading list.
This year’s was supposed to be A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron, set in World War Two like the first in the series. It, like all of my favourite historical fiction, is based around real events, with fictional characters layered in between. It’s an astounding read which will leave you laughing, gasping and crying along with the characters. It was released in April and I just couldn’t wait for my holiday, so I read it in June. You can find my review here. Instead, I’ll be reading The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett, another WWII novel.
Five.// Biography. What list would be complete without a biography? Real life experiences wrapped in satire are impossible to ignore, and I love to get stuck into at least one biography during the summer.
This year I chose Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, as it has fantastic reviews. I find Poehler impossibly funny and know that her memoir will be biting and hilarious with a fair amount of wisdom thrown in. It’s going to be one of the best books of the summer, in my opinion! I don’t read enough biographical works so this is the perfect opportunity to read more than one – before the end of summer I would like to read Tina Fey’s Bossypants too.
Six.// Female Author. On reading lists it’s always good to have goals, and one of the most popular ones is female authors. My lists typically do have female authors as seen above, but to recognise the importance of women is a huge positive for me. It could be fiction, non-fiction, anything in the world, just as long as it adds some measure of equality to your reading list!
I chose Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin for this genre. It’s a memoir about life on the Upper East Side and a commentary on… other women! Martin explores the lives of the wives of Park Avenue and the way that they are expected to live, especially as mothers. I’ve been told it’s a great read, informative, compassionate and more than slightly hilarious.
Seven.// Non Fiction. Although biographies are non-fiction, I think it’s really important to include this broader genre in the list. Non-fiction books are a staple in our lives – whether it’s textbooks for education or recipe books, and including them on this list is natural. You could read a self-improvement book like Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, or a travel guide such as Lonely Planet’s The World’s Great Wonders. You might want to finally read the Kate Spade Things We Love coffee table book you bought or indulge in a new recipe from the Great British Bake Off’s Big Book of Baking. Who knows? This genre is so wide and varied that you can read whatever takes your fancy.
I chose to read Forever Chic by Tish Jett, a guide to style and fashion from France. It describes the way that French women over 40 still manage to remain utterly fabulous, from their self-image to the way they cultivate their wardrobe. It’s going to be a fascinating study in Parisian life from the viewpoint of Jett, a woman who moved to France and picked up their ways in the manner that I hope to very soon.
Eight.// An Adaptation. Every year, dozens of books are turned into films, blockbuster or indie. They, of course, feature slight changes to the original plot or characters, as we know all too well with Harry Potter (Peeves! Winky!), and everyone has something to say about an adaptation. I, being first and foremost a bookworm, aim to read the book before watching any adaptation, TV or film, but sometimes I don’t. For example, I watched Cloud Atlas a few months ago and read the book afterwards, because the plot was incredibly complex. I think it’s important to read the book beforehand so that you get to interpret the book the way that your brain works, and visualise the characters in your own way, before the interpretations and visualisations of the production team stamp all over it. Sometimes I wish I could go back to my own visualisations of Rose and Dimitri in Vampire Academy before the film came out, because they didn’t match at all.
I’m going to be reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer, and possibly the film, which came out last year. It’s about a university lecturer, Alice, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the way that she, her husband and her family, all learn to deal with the illness. The trailer for the film moved me to tears and I think the book will leave me sobbing, but it seems like such an emotional story and such a true one that I can’t give it a miss. I’m both looking forward to reading it and dreading the emotional torment I know I’ll suffer at the hands of this novel.
Nine.// Foreign. Whether it’s translated or in its original language, it’s one of life’s biggest building blocks to read a book which has been written from a different cultural perspective. The way the characters are created, the settings, the emphasis and plotlines are all different, depending on the nationality of the author. I’ve always liked to read books which aren’t from England or the USA, such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste or the non-fiction Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I’m especially fond of reading French books, like Francoise Bourdin’s Une Nouvelle Vie, because I (clearly) love France, and always try to improve my French.
That’s why my ‘foreign’ book is La Guerre du Feu by J.H. Rosny aîné. It’s about the struggle of prehistoric man’s ‘Quest for Fire’, an adventure of three Ulam tribesmen to find fire when theirs is lost in a fight, as they were unable to create fire, only maintain it. I’ve always loved prehistoric novels, such as Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, so I’m looking forward to reading this. I’ll have my French dictionary next to me for any words I don’t understand!
Ten.// New. It’s all well and good reading the above, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and try something new. This final must-read is something that was released this year.
I’ll be reading The Infernal by Mark Doten, a dark satire written on the causes and impact of the War on Terror. It was only released in February, but already it has made waves in the US due to its critical nature of the WoT, it’s political prose and compelling plot. I think this could be a difficult read but a fantastic one.
What do you recommend to read for the summer? Is there a genre or type of book I’ve missed? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Have a great summer!