There’s nothing better than kicking back by a swimming pool on a hot summer’s day and immersing yourself in a really engaging book. And in the age of the Kindle, it is easier than ever to take all of your old favourites and more than a few new titles with you wherever you go. Of course water and e-book readers don’t mix, so insuring your device with gadgetbuddy.com and benefiting from overseas cover as standard may be a good idea. If you need some inspiration and advice as to what works of literature are worth devouring this year, our brief look at the top summer poolside reads will set you on the path to literary libation.
The Girls – Emma Cline
Hip, intriguing and with a cover that looks like a poorly framed Instagram post. That’s The Girls in a nutshell. This novel has really got people talking, not only because it tells the tale of a teen who becomes embroiled in a cult, but also because it is genuinely well written. Truly evocative of its California setting in the 1960s heyday of the hippie, new age movement.
Mothering Sunday – Graham Swift
A story of sex, lies and lust that you should be able to polish off in an afternoon. Mothering Sunday is a short but intense experience set in the 1920s that feels a little like Downton Abbey crossed with Hollyoaks: After Dark. Although of course Swift’s skill as a writer elevates it above a mere soap opera and turns a simple story into something compelling.
Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler
Set in a New York restaurant, this novel follows a young woman as she learns about life in the big city; manages a tumultuous set of relationships with friends and lovers; falls in love with fine dining; and experiences the highs and lows of the modern world. Sweetbitter is an edgy yet appealing book which you will find hard to put down.
Solar Bones – Mike McCormack
If you can’t resist a book with an odd premise or a strange set of rules applied to its writing, then Solar Bones will be a worthwhile investment. Its stand-out feature is the fact that it is written as a single, unbroken sentence with no full stops present at any point. This stream of consciousness approach is particularly appropriate as a story told from the point of view of an everyman character who unpicks the idea of normality and turns it on its head.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – Mary Beard
Many of us believe that we know all we need to about Ancient Rome, a perception perhaps reinforced by having watched Gladiator a few times. However, this immersive factual work from famed academic and historian Mary Beard is ideal for would-be scholars who feel that their knowledge could benefit from some improvement. A bestseller at the end of last year, it is a great poolside read, although only if you invest in the Kindle version. This is not only significantly cheaper than its hardback counterpart, but is also less of a challenge to hold with one hand!