Eliza Shares Her Favorite Summer Reads

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Summer is possibly one of my favourite times to read. The long evenings filled with stretching shadows and golden light, the bright mornings dusted with birdsong, even the drizzle-heavy days where the flowers dampen and we all complain about the humidity; the warmest months of the year demand to be filled with books. Personally, I try to fill my summer reading lists with a healthy mix of new reads, old favourites, and texts assigned for my next year of study. Sometimes I achieve this balance but most of the time I’m reading too much of the first two categories and too little of the last. Below you will find what might typically be found stuffed into my suitcase as my family trek off to Devon and Cornwall for a week or two. I hope you find something new or are reminded of something loved long ago!

 

  1. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

I first read this novel in the summer of 2014 and have come back to it every year since. It’s a large undertaking - 800 pages long and heavy in subject matter. However, the density of it means that I realise some new connection or moment of brilliance in it every time.

 

  1. Atonement, Ian McEwan

This is a blissful summertime read. It’s filled with just enough drama and romance to sweep you up but the lingering descriptions of the English summertime brings me back to this novel more summers than I would like to admit.

 

  1. The Secret of Platform 13, Eva Ibbotson

This is a very special book from my childhood, written by one of my favourite children’s authors. It’s magical, fun, and everything you might need for a quick and easy read one lazy afternoon.

 

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare

If you know me at all then you will know that I am not complete without a little bit of Shakespeare to stay happy and in love with literature (although sometimes his contemporaries will suffice). I would recommend Midsummer as an excuse to get lost in the forest and dance with the fairies for a little while.

 

  1. Days Without End, Sebastian Barry

This book won the Costa Novel Award 2016 and drew me in with its promise of a very gentle gay romance and beautiful prose. I certainly wasn’t disappointed and can’t wait to re-read it this summer. The novel takes place during the (poorly named) Indian wars and the American Civil War. It does contain very intense scenes of violence and racist brutality but also features tenderness and the joy of found families.

 

  1. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

I have heard nothing but good things about this novel. So many people have recommended it to me that I bought a copy in April and decided that I would read it in the summer months so that I could devote my attention fully. The novel is certainly ground breaking and tackles one of the most disturbing and prudent topics of our time: the shooting of black people by white police officers.

 

  1. Events, Dear Boy, Events: A Political Diary of Britiain from Woolf to Campbell, Ruth Winstone

If I didn’t love literature so much then I would have gone to university to study history. A lot of love lingers in my heart for dates and facts and the pondering over cause and effect without it having a link to fiction. This book is a blend of different perspectives on the political history of Britain from 1921 to 2010 as it happened in diaries across the nation. This is just my choice, but if you have even a little interest in history then this summer I urge you to pick up a book on history that interests you and learn a little more.