Top 3 books, 2 Online Editors, 1 Summer – here’s our recommended reading list!
My plans for the summer? I’ll be entering all the writing competitions I can, read a library and do some art/stay inside to avoid hay fever and the summer sun. I’ll also be jetting off to Hong Kong, which sounds glamorous, but I’ll be mostly visiting family (who, despite the city having one of the fastest internet speeds in the world, doesn’t have WiFi) and being bitten by mosquitoes.
- I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith) In the vividly beautiful English countryside, Cassandra lives and dreams in her home, a ruined castle, with her eccentric family. Written in the 1940’s, it’s incredibly modern and relevant today, with an immensely likeable and relatable teenage narrator. It’s funny, honest and astoundingly gorgeous.
- The Great Gatsby (F.Scott Fitzgerald) I have read this book over twenty times, and I still find something new each time. Defined as an absolute classic, it’s sadly risked ruin by the education system forcing students to fish for metaphors. But it’s a wonderful and beautiful story, full of beauty, touching moments and heady prose. Lose yourself in this dreamy and poetic novella, and watch the crumble of an American Dream…
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote) Completely different from the film; darker, grittier – and better. The effortlessly glamorous Holly Golightly resides in New York and her life glitters, but only on the surface. She could have easily slipped into another Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but she’s immensely complex, fascinating and ungraspable.Always restless and always on the run, Holly Golightly will always be one of my favourite characters.
So far my summer has consisted of reading, dog walking, and reading some more. Truth be told, it’s been a thoroughly OAP-style life. However, I have a two week work experience placement at a Educational Publishers lined up, and am going to Vietnam for two weeks in August!
I was planning to start blogging properly again, but so far intention has not quite translated into action… this also holds true for the “novel” that, every summer, I say I will write. Someday… for now, I’m quite happy outside with a cold drink in hand, burying my head in other wonderful writing – given that my dog can stop trying to steal my shoes for five minutes.
- Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)– one of my many great reads last summer, and currently being made into a movie with Ben Affleck. Following the lives of Nick and Amy Dunne, the novel opens with the mysterious disappearance of the latter on their fifth anniversary. Thus begins the tumultuous journey that sees the case escalate to a national level, with Nick suspected and a myriad of questions unanswered. Through clever narrative devices, subtle reveals, unexpected turns and chillingly suspenseful prose. This is a contemporary thriller not to be missed!
- Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) – I couldn’t not include this book. Dismiss any preconceived notions of YA Fiction, I think placing this novel in that category does it a grave disservice. Evocative of novels such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar, ‘wallflower’ Charlie exposes the turbulent world of high school, relationships, temptations, but through eyes that are unreservedly clear and reflective. Poignantly honest, masterfully paced and above all beautifully penned, this is one of those books that can stay with you long after reading.
- The Cuckoo’s Calling (Robert Galbraith)– my other favourite read of last summer. The first crime fiction efforts of ‘new’ author Robert Galbraith, enter into a world of fame, corruption and sycophancy with the Sherlock of Galbraith’s series Cormoran Strike. Investigating the death of model Lula Landry – which detectives have dismissed as suicide – the rather unlikely hero Strike and his trusty assistant Robin are endearing characters and surprisingly complex – this adds another dimension to the story. The plot, the prose and the people all combine to make this the ultimate page-turner and perfect summer read. If you haven’t already read this, but do and love it, then you are in luck. With the sequel having just been released, you don’t have to wait around for long to revisit the world of Cormoron Strike! And trust me, you’ll want to.