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The Best Books for Your Summer Break

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There’s not much better than packing a case full of books for a summer break and heading to a week beside the pool with iced drinks delivered by beautiful locals with smiles that would make the devil blush. That’s what summer is all about and even if we can’t get away this year, there’s always the garden and a margarita in a can.

Asking any bookworm to narrow down their ‘to be read’ pile to a selection of holiday reads is enough to send a wave of anxiety crashing over us. With so much promise to choose from, how on earth do you trim it down? If you want to cut that misery out of you holiday packing, checkout our selections of top summer reads. This isn’t about the latest titles or the bestselling books, this is our selection of books that pack the sunshine into their pages and will light up your summer break.

Cove by Cynan Jones 

“If a bird the size of a wren can survive in the jaws of a cat.”

This wonderful story of a kayaker lost at sea is only 95 pages long but it packs humanity into every word. It is a tale of what we will do to survive, what we cling on to, and how far we’ll go to return to love. Jones takes a story and strips it back to the bare minimum that leaves razor prose that often reads with the rhythm of poetry. It’s one of the best books for a summer break.

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On the Road by Jack Kerouac 

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

This Kerouac classic is my travelling book and it’s come on every holiday I’ve had since I was 16. Set in 1947-51, this is a novel about an American dream that no longer exists, one when freedom meant heading towards a horizon just to see what was on the other side. It’s the perfect travelling book because it lights a wanderlust fire and sets off the nostalgia for a time you never saw. The writing fizzes with youthful effervescence and an infectious exuberance that can’t help but perk you up, which is perfect after a night on the holiday cocktails.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

I probably wouldn’t have found this book if it wasn’t required reading for my degree. And when I finished university, Zora Neale Hurston was one of the things I was most grateful for. It is one of the greatest love stories in American literature and it’s as harrowing as it is beautiful. Books that tackle race and female agency can often be difficult reads, but this incredible book is a breeze. That’s because it focuses on telling an immense story that subtly makes you examine those issues.

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The End We Start From by Megan Hunter 

“This not-stopping seems to be the first side effect. Everything has been unstopped, is rising to the surface.”

This fabulous debut novel follows an unnamed narrator through the early stages of motherhood as a flood brings about the collapse of our civilisation. Sounds cheery, doesn’t it? It’s not, but it is full of love and courage and an honesty that cuts deep into something that we can all feel, even when we don’t want to. Written almost exclusively in short, sharp paragraphs, the words flow like the water in the story. Each section drifting you effortlessly to the next until you look up and the book is down. Only it’s not done. It’ll linger long after the you put it back on the shelf.

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Homesick for Another World – Ottessa Moshfegh 

“I still felt that the good things, the things I wanted, belonged to somebody else.”

This is the first short story collection that makes this selection and that’s because of the intensity it brings. Each story slaps you awake and demands you pay attention before you miss the electricity that sparks. There is a darkness to her stories that shines a light on the underbelly of the soul that reveals much about human nature. To do that while being entertaining, and downright hilarious at times takes loads of skill and a brave writer that’s willing, or eager, to make a reader twitch with unease. This boldness makes it one of our favourites and earns its place as one of the books for a summer break.

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Grief is a Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

“Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project.”

This tender book follows a grieving family as they come to terms with a mother’s death. It keeps you on your toes with a distinctive blend of humour and weirdness, but at its heart there is an emotional warmth that anyone can connect with. There’s a stroke of the experimental to it and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. A lot of books that play with format and style can often feel gimmicky, but this fabulous book isn’t style over substance, the uncanniness lifts the story up to new heights.

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Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

“At times such as these, you get a good, humble feeling, like the gods made this place, this moment, first and concocted you as an afterthought just to be there to enjoy it.”

Aside from having the coolest name ever, Wells Tower has created a magnificent collection of stories. These nine stories drip with style and are packed with sentences so good you’ll go back to read them again to give them the time they deserve to hit the spot. The diverse cast of characters and styles bring a freshness to every story and leave you hungry to turn the page and start on the next. They are explosive and violent, gentle and funny, and most of all, effortlessly cool.

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That’s my 7 picks for the perfect books to read this summer, and not one of them was released this year. There is a endless library out there and something doesn’t need to be fresh from the printer to be incredible. All of these are available as Kindle books if you’re you have converted to technology, and many have audio books if you’d rather lie back and take it easy. It doesn’t matter how you take them in, all that matters is great stories and chill out days.

Whether it’s Dan Brown or Agatha Christie books, let us know in the comments what you’ll be taking to the beach this summer.

Suggest Shopping:

Waterstones – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/waterstones

WH Smiths – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/whsmith

Audible – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/audible

Abebooks – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/abebooks

Ashley Bird

Ever since the birth of his first child, Ashley has been trying to squeeze a little more out of every penny. Three years and another child later, he's a dab hand at finding a deal and getting things done for less. Whether you need help planning a budget friendly family day out, or saving on all things home, he can help you out.


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