While most people might name a/w as their favourite time to read (something about curling up with a blanket and a cup of tea), I’ve always done most of my reading in the summer months. Lazy summer days lying on the beach pair perfectly with a book, and I can easily get through a novel or two a week. This summer I’ve also tried to read as varied as possible. Sometimes it’s fun to challenge yourself to stray from your favourite genre or grab a book you might not otherwise pick up. Here are some of my favourite summer reads from the last three months.
I knew I was going to cry while reading this book even before I started, but I really couldn’t have predicted just how much. Little sausage dog Lily is Ted’s best friend, until one day Ted notices an octopus on Lily’s head. The octopus is a rather obvious metaphor for Lily’s cancer, and watching Ted struggle with the impending death of his best friend brought up some bittersweet memories for me as well. The book is a wonderful adventure with an ending that will break the heart of anyone who has ever lost a furry best friend.
Of all the books I read this summer, this one was definitely my favourite. A man called Ove is a grumpy old man living in a small Swedish suburb, who spends his days nagging at his neighbours. In the beginning of the book he’s a difficult character to love, but the more you learn about his story, the more you understand way he is the way he is. This book will make you laugh, cry and think about how often we actually judge people without knowing all that much about them.
This is one of those books that marks the difference between a favourite book, and a genuinely good book. This is definitely not one of my favourite books, but might very well be one of the best books I’ve read. Julian Barnes has a way with writing that’s so poignant and insightful, that I was hooked from the start. The book is about a middle-aged man looking back on his life, pondering on the unreliability of memory and the consequences of his actions.
I remember working in a bookshop in high school and Stieg Larsson’s Millenium-trilogy being a big thing, but somehow I never got around to reading the books. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been especially into detective stories. But after a slightly slow start I practically breezed through this 600-page brick in just few days. The characters are fascinating and the story kept me in its grip until the very end. A word of warning though, the book has some pretty graphic scenes.
Cecelia Ahern has been among my favourite authors for years, and I tend to get my hands on every new book of hers, regardless of the topic. However, lately I had started to feel like some of her magic was fading, until I read Lyrebird. While strolling in the woods Solomon runs into a mysterious girl named Laura, who has the talents of a nightingale. The book is obviously sweet and romantic. But it also deals with the perils of celebrity culture, and the desire to slow things down and get back to nature.
I’ve recently been on a bit of a autobiography kick. And while this isn’t exactly one, that’s how I found it. The book is a collection of essays and short stories by Marina Keegan, a brilliant young writer who died in a car accident just five days after graduating from Yale. For me the best bit of the book was definitely the title essay The Opposite of Loneliness. Since it so perfectly describes the feeling of graduating university and starting a whole new life.
What were some of your favourite summer reads this summer?