books review


Summer seems practically made for getting lost in a good book. But if you find yourself in a reading slump try some of these books to reignite your passion for reading. From romantic comedies to gothic mysteries and classic literature — whatever your taste — we’ve got you covered!

‘Good Material’ by Dolly Alderton

From the New York Times best-selling author of ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Everything I Know About Love’ comes a story of heartbreak, friendship and how to survive both.

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy. And he can’t work out why she stopped. Now he is waiting for his stand-up career to take off, wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking.

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story…

In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable story of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today, and the true voice of a generation.

‘What We Talk About, When We Talk About Love’ by Raymond Carver

If you’re a fan of minimalism, the name Raymond Carver will undoubtedly be present on your bookshelf. ‘ What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ is one of his best-known short story collections, and “Viewfinder”, like many of the other stories in the collection, is centred around how we interact with each other in our everyday lives, and our failed attempts at connection that lead to states of self-alienation.

With its spare, colloquial narration and razor-sharp sense of how people really communicate, the collection was to become one of the most influential literary works of the 1980s.

Deceptively easy to read and impossibly concise, Carver’s short stories are ones that you will be re-reading again and again, with fresh eyes every time.

‘Funny Story’ by Emily Henry

If you’re looking for the ultimate light-hearted beach read, this one’s for you.

The inimitable Emily Henry is back with a story of opposite attraction and fake relationships. ‘Funny Story’ tells the tale of Daphne, who was engaged to Peter—until they moved to his hometown in Michigan, where he realized he was in love with Petra, his childhood friend. The polished Daphne decides to move in with Petra’s ex, the disorganized and slightly unkempt Miles. Daphne and Miles then fake a relationship until they potentially, maybe, you’ll-have-to-read-to-find-out-if-they make it.

‘Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love’ by Huma Qureshi

A breathtaking collection of stories about our most intimate relationships, and the secrets, misunderstandings and silences that haunt them.

A daughter asks her mother to shut up, only to shut her up for good; an exhausted wife walks away from the husband who doesn’t understand her; on holiday, lovers no longer make sense to each other away from home.

Set across the blossoming English countryside, the stifling Mediterranean and the bustling cities of London and Lahore, ‘Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love’ illuminates the parts of ourselves we rarely reveal.

‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney has a way of writing about people that makes them feel real. More than just “convincing”, her portrayals of human interactions feel so extraordinarily regular and grounded in reality. If you are a fan of the television miniseries, get to know Marianne and Connell all over again this summer by reading the novel. ‘Normal People’ is an effortlessly enjoyable read, all whilst being an honest, heartfelt study on the roles that we play in each others’ lives, consciously or subconsciously, and how we all have the ability to alter the people around us for better or for worse.

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ by Helen Fielding

Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman living in London. She writes about her career, self-image, vices, family, friends, and romantic relationships.

No doubt you will have heard of the iconic film adaptation of the same name, starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. If you are looking for a fun, light read to really sink into your hot-girl summer vibes, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ is the perfect choice. Hilarious and concerningly relatable at points, this book is the book to propel you back into reading after a slump, and is sure to have you giggling to yourself the whole time.

‘Summer’ by Edith Wharton

If you love a good 20th-century classic which explores romance and girlhood while also providing insightful social commentary, Edith Wharton’s ‘Summer’ is the novel for you.

Four words aptly encapsulate this novel: summer fling gone wrong. Young and naive, protagonist Charity Royall falls madly in love with the wealthy Lucius Harney. Starting off as an ethereal fairytale romance, its plot quickly unravels, descending into a gut-wrenching tragedy which exposes the reality of class divisions and the worst of human betrayals. Set in a remote and insular town in New England, the small-town girl is constantly stifled by limitations – just one of the many challenges faced by unemancipated young women of the early 20th century.

‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath

‘The Bell Jar ‘ is a classic read for any twenty-something-year-old who might be feeling lost and unsure about who they are and where they’re headed.

Esther Greenwood, a scholarship student blessed with both beauty and brains, has just embarked on a summer internship at a prestigious New York fashion magazine. Isn’t she living the picture-perfect life? Well, at least on the surface! As we progress through the novel, we witness the rapid degeneration of her mental state, which is not least catalysed by the dinning tumult of her internal conflicts. Upon acknowledging the shocking disparity between reality and expectation after taking a first brave step into the adult world, her sense of disappointment and disbelonging conquers the best of her.

‘The Bell Jar ‘ is a highly distinctive and unusual book, and although the era of the 1950’s it represents has faded and disappeared into history, the power of this novel does not dissipate.

‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier

Mystery fans will absolutely devour this spine-chilling gothic masterpiece by famed 20th century novelist Daphne Du Maurier. The novel depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, Rebecca.

This horror novel sheds light on the palpable impact which the dead can produce on the living. Before you know it, its eerie yet dreamlike depiction of both mansions and nature alike will be etched in your mind.

‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’ by Joan Lindsey

Lindsay’s swoony, mysterious novel about a group of boarding school girls who disappear without a trace from a day trip to Australia’s Hanging Rock in 1900 is another book perfect for mystery lovers. The novel is both dreamy and haunting with Lindsey prefacing the book with a coy note that suggests the story is factual. The unsettling atmosphere is perfect for a quiet summer afternoon and fans of novels like ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Sharp Objects’ will find this 20th Century classic particularly enjoyable.

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