Holidays. A time for rest and relaxation via a sunlounger, a good book and maybe even the odd Pina Colada.
Oh well. We’ll happily swap the umbrella and straw for a great British gin and tonic, some fun with the ankle biters and an hour or two with our noses in the book when coverage of the sporting event symbolised by the five rings isn’t on (according to Rule 40 we’re not allowed to name the event, apparently).
And so we bring you our books for summer. Perfect summer reads that’ll either tackle your brain cells with their thriller action or cruise your overworked mind into fantastical states of imagination. Ready, steady, read!
If you don’t know who Jo Pavey is you’re either not a fan of global sporting events, GB athletics or successful British mums. As a mum and a runner, I put her on a pedestal of sorts. The big event happening in Rio in 2016 is the fifth time Jo, who’s now more than 40 years of age, is competing for our country in this spectacle that happens every four years. This Mum Runs is her story of a less than direct route to ultimate sporting prowess and accolade, and how she’s achieved this as a mum of two who happens to find time to fit running into her schedule. It’s hard not to be inspired (even from the comfort of a rattan sofa overlooking the sea).
If the prospect of Pavey’s autobiography leaves you with Mummy Guilt, you might prefer a literary throwback to the gritty and fantastical tales of your teenage years. This querying tale of belonging explores many a teenager’s challenges of modern and youth culture, such as social media, street slang, cool kids and the need to fit in. The wacky part is that it achieves this via mermaid and pirate characters that descend on the shores of Hastings. Retreat to carefree days or delve into the mind of your teenage offspring… And watch out if you’re holidaying on the Sussex coast this summer…
Fall into one woman’s experience of the world of music over the last 30 years and how life and love ambled alongside it all. If you’ve followed a band, musician or singer for any period of time, at any time in your life, if you’ve obsessed over their look, had to be the first to buy their latest album (you know, when they still sold them in WHSmith and HMV on vinyl), or refreshed website pages over and over to buy tickets to their reprise tour, then this is a summer read for you.
On the face of it a little predictable, a bit ‘seen this somewhere before’, but the compelling endorsement of sharp literary mind, Zadie Smith, forced the front cover open. If you’ve got lots of siblings and you haven’t dared to gather together for some time, this is not the book to encourage that (unless you’re slightly sadistically inclined). Four siblings, one long hot summer, each other’s kids, their grandparents house, nothing else for at least a mile radius. What could possibly go wrong…
If, like the team here at Love Cottages, your summer holiday is reliant on high pressure actually finding the UK and kicking butt on some of the recent downpours, then the Greek setting of this tangled read will either repair the soggyness or rain on your already damp parade. If you’ve ever told a white lie or exaggerated your position even just a little, this summer read probably isn’t the de-stress you’re looking for either. But if it’s chilly out there it’ll certainly help you work up an anxiety sweat.
The opening paragraphs are set in a campsite high above Florence, in Italy. I’m certain it’s the same campsite I stayed in on a wonderful tour of Italy that I enjoyed just before I headed back to start the final year of my degree. That’s not where the synergies stop, for me at least. Add in the acclaim that this is the ‘new’ One Day (David Nicholls) then this is one un-put-down-able book for anyone who’s been lovestruck and/or heartbroken in and around those university years. Will the paths of Tess and Gus cross? Read it and see (and possibly weep). But be warned: you might get ratty at anyone who tries to interrupt your reading time.
I came to the Harry Potter books late. I dodged the hype and then one wintery day en route to Bath in the back of someone’s clapped-out banger, found myself glued to a cast aside copy of the Philosopher’s Stone. I finished it before I let my mate have it back. I was hooked. Once I’d caught up, Rowling’s creations became associated with summer days and new release excitement. And while the Cursed Child will throw you into a less child-like fantasy of Hogwarts and more gritty adult wizard world, it works because you’re reading a play, not a novel. And it works because time has moved on, new characters have been introduced, somebody bore Draco a child. Stranger things have happened…
This will either prove the ideal tool to give you an extra two minutes to finish the gripping chapters in the above, or it’ll break the ice on your over-working-induced reading strike and warm up the reading cockles you thought had been frozen forever by the tide of business books that have weaved their way onto bestseller lists. Theoretically one for the (young) kids, why not let all your imaginations free – after a couple of gins the memes you’ll want to create from some of the graphics will have viral potential for sure!
So as we’ve regressed from grown up to child via young adult fiction through this winding list of summer books, we wish you a happy summer of sneaky chapters while locked in the loo and all-nighter finishes in the hope that someone else will get up with the kids at the crack of dawn. Happy holidays!