With summer just around the corner and your summer holiday probably the only thing getting you through the next few weeks of work, we thought we’d compile a list of some of our favourite books. We’ve got classics that you can read time and time again and some new fresh-off-the-shelf finds to kick back and relax with. Whether it be by the pool, on the beach, or simply in your back garden these are the books we think you should be reading this summer.
Just take a walk into your local bookstore and you’ll be inundated with a huge selection of books. We’ve curated this guide of some of the newest and best books, as well as some of our favourite classics, for you to enjoy this summer. From timeless titles from Jack Kerouac, to Tommy Hilfiger’s autobiography, via some of the New York Times’ number one bestsellers, we’re sure there’s something for you to enjoy and take your mind away this summer.
- 1 The Durrells Of Corfu – Michael Haag
- 2 A Man Called Ove – Frederik Backman
- 3 The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story – Diane Ackermann
- 4 The Shack – William P. Young
- 5 Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
- 6 New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson
- 7 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
- 8 Shoedog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike – Phil Knight
- 9 The Animals: A Novel – Christian Kiefer
- 10 American Dreamer: My Life In Fashion And Business – Tommy Hilfiger
- 11 The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen
- 12 How Not to Kill Your Plants- Nik Southern
The Durrells Of Corfu – Michael Haag
You may have seen ITV’s adaptation of the Durrells’ story, but chances are you probably don’t know much about the actual family who relocated to Corfu. Michael Haag retells and investigates further the true story of the family in Gerald Durrell’s story which was published back in 1956. This book answers the questions that you probably wanted answered when you first saw the loveable Durrell family on your screens last year. Why did they go to Corfu?
The book focuses on just that – life prior to the Corfu years, a crisis in India, and life in Corfu. What’s best about this book is the fact that Haag actually knew Lawrence Durrell, the older brother in the much-loved family. Family stories are always worth telling, and this is one of the best. Haag tells the intriguing tale in its raw entity, without any of the almost superficial yet necessary niceties of an 8pm TV slot.
A Man Called Ove – Frederik Backman
Initially Ove is the kind of man you wouldn’t want to meet. He has strict routines and outdated principles and worst of all for those around him, he has an extremely short fuse. Delve a bit deeper and under that bitter exterior lies a story of sadness. A Man Called Ove tells the story of the meeting of Ove and his new neighbours, finally showing the true Ove.
This is a comical tale that has an underlying profound telling of how one man’s actions can impact on another. A feel-good story you won’t want to put down, Swedish blogger-turned-author Frederik Backman has undoubtedly provided us with one of the most charming tales to date.
The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story – Diane Ackermann
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a non-fiction title written by Diane Ackermann. It focuses on the unpublished diary of Antonina Zabinska and retells the incredible story of how she and her husband Jan Zabinski, director of the Warsaw Zoo, saved 300 Jews during the holocaust.
Since its debut in 2007, the arresting tale has been made into a blockbuster movie and the tale is a touching true story that will send you back to 1939. It is a groundbreaking story that explores human nature through the Holocaust. Definitely not one to leave on the shelf when you next go into a book shop.
The Shack – William P. Young
This is one of those books that will keep you gripped. The main premise of the story focuses on the random disappearance of the protagonist Mack’s daughter. Four years have passed when he gets a sudden invitation to a shack in the Oregon wilderness where he will apparently find clues to his daughters disappearance and probable murder.
It doesn’t stop there though – the invitation is thought to be from God, which is a mystery in itself. You won’t be able to put this book down as Mack faces his darkest nightmare and his world changes around him. This tale raises the question that we all ask at one point in our lives – if there is a God, where is he in this world of unspeakable pain and suffering? A truly gripping novel that will transform the way you think. Never written for the purpose of publishing, it’s no surprise that this landed the top spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
The way that Neil Gaiman tells stories is enough to make someone want to pick up this book. You may have read his retellings of Greek mythology, but this is his self-confessed favourite part of the mythological universe. You’re not interested in mythology? Worry not.
The way that Gaiman tells it is more Marvel meets Game Of Thrones with a bit of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings thrown in for good measure rather than standard school text book which you may have thought upon reading the title. Gaiman resurrects the three God protagonists through witty prose, allowing them to breathe life again and this is a thrilling and vivid rendition from Britain foremost fantasy writer.
New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson
New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson returns with a retelling of New York City in the next century. Catastrophe has hit the city and as sea levels rose every street became a canal and every skyscraper stands alone. Global warming didn’t spell an end to life though and instead people lived beyond it, adjusting their means.
The story explores the lives of one apartment block in particular, from the internet star to the market trader, and the lawyers to the building’s manager. This book gives us one version of the future, after the ice caps melt and we have to face a warming planet – this is a completely possible story. of how our future will be shaped.
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
If there was ever a novel to get you in the mood to take a trip away, it’s this one. Kerouac’s On The Road became the defining book of the Beat Generation, inspired by a 1000 word letter from Neal Cassady to Kerouac. It focuses on a search for freedom, and has continued to change people’s outlooks on life up to this day – it’s often described as the story that began thousands of gap years.
Kerouac relates the tale of travelling across the States in a unique way, creating a nostalgia for lost youth and making us all wish we had been alive in 1950s America. This is a must-read, hailed as one of the best books ever written, and will have you longing for those teenage immortal years.
Shoedog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike – Phil Knight
For the first time ever Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story on how he created one of the most famous brands in the world. Knight borrowed $50 from his father and away he went. In his first year he grossed $8000, but now Nike overturns an average of $32 billion. This book explains how Knight has achieved such progress is an honest tale of what it takes to succeed from the man who knows best.
The Animals: A Novel – Christian Kiefer
If you appreciate a good mystery, then this is the tale for you. Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for raptors, a wolf and a bear. He hopes to live a quiet life, but that never really goes to plan and so his world comes crashing down around him when an old face shows up.
Bill’s darkest secrets are suddenly threatened and his criminal past in Reno, Nevada is made aware of. The story is a mixture between pst events and the present and leads up to a defining moment in Reed’s life. Kiefer is the author of The Infinite Tides and this next novel is just as good, focusing again on the fact that you never can run away from your sins.
American Dreamer: My Life In Fashion And Business – Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger is one of those famous names that everyone knows. Do you really know the story behind that name though? Hilfiger himself tells all in this part biography, part business book and described the process as “months and months of writing… like therapy.” The book retells his life, flipping through memories from his childhood in Elmira, the Manhattan club scene in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, and then onto his $6.7 billion company. Even if you don’t have an interest in fashion, what Hilfiger has to say is eye-opening and he is able to teach even the best businessman something.
The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen arrived in the US in 1975, living in a camp for Vietnamese refugees. Winner of last year’s Pulitzer prize for his debut novel, The Sympathizer, the author is back with a superb short story collection. Comprising of 8 different stories that spread throughout 20 years, Nguyen gives voice to the Vietnamese communities in Southern California (where he grew up) and to those living in the country he fled. Deciding not to focus on the journey that the refugees took and instead opting to describe the tole that their bodies took. This refreshing viewpoint makes you connect with the characters by relating their struggles to that of you and me, making for an emotional, yet different journey throughout each short story. If your stuck for some poolside reading material this summer then this is the book that will grab your attention from the off and not let it go till the last word.
How Not to Kill Your Plants- Nik Southern
In 2011 Nik Southern founded Grace and Thorn out of a studio in Dalston after impulsively quitting her job. Fast forward to today and she has racked up tens of thousands of Instagram followers and sold out hundreds of DIY planting and styling Courses. All of this on top of now having two shops (one in Hackney and one in Brick Lane) has amassed a cult following of loyal customers and lead up to ‘How to Not Kill Your Plants’, her first book.
Whether you’re a seasoned, budding or complete gardening newbie; this book will teach you how to understand all your plant’s needs in order to know where to place and style them, but ultimately how to take great care of each and every one. Let Nik teach you how to transform your bathrooms into a rainforest or make an Amazonian jungle out of your sitting room. This book will open your eyes to all the styling and growing possibilities that can help green up your gaff.