rear window, reading, summer reading, reading list, books, summer books, recommended books, grace kelly

11 books to read this summer

1. If you loved The Handmaid’s Tale…

Vox by Christina Dalcher: You know how men think we yak too much? Well, imagine a world where after uttering 100 words a day, women get zapped with a thousand volts of electricity? And that’s just the start. This high concept dystopian thriller, by a theoretical linguist-turned-novelist, is a knock-out.

2. If you’re a sucker for classy literary thriller…

Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne: It’s summer on the Greek island of Hydra and it’s a scorcher. Two young women on holiday befriend each other, then encounter a beautiful young Arab man who has been washed up on shore. The pair hatch a seemingly simple plan to help him out, but then things start to go wrong.

3. If you can’t resist a quiet American yarn…

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler: Willa Drake looks back at the defining moments of her life, from when she was 11 and her mother disappeared, to when she became a widow at the age of 41. Now her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot, so she embarks on a course of action that will take her across the country and into territories entirely new.

4. If you still hanker for Hillary…

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld: The American writer acclaimed for her novel based on Laura Bush has written a new volume of superbly crisp stories about, mostly, female politicians, starting with one about a certain presidential hopeful. As the title suggests, the characters are unlikeable and tend to come out and say the horrid things the rest of us are thinking.

5. If you’ve reached peak anxiety…

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig: Haig’s depression memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive (2015) became a publishing sensation. Here’s the sequel, packaged in the same nifty format, with tips on how to stay sane in an increasingly mad world, by the man who still suffers from high levels of anxiety. Turn it off. Stop it. Put it away. Breathe. Look at the sky.

6. If you’re a die-hard Nordic noir nut…

The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler: The Swedish Foreign Minister is killed in strange circumstances and no one can solve the mystery, except for Joona Linna, the oddball Finnish detective last seen behind bars. He returns here for his sixth adventure in this terrifying story set in and around Stockholm, about a sadistic serial killer seeking revenge. Spoiler alert: extremely violent.

7. If you’re not the only bunny boiler on the block…

The Incurable Romantic by Frank Tallis: The psychotherapist tells extraordinary stories of patients behaving madly, from the married sex addict who visits thousands of prostitutes to the woman who stalks her dentist, to the young man who can’t take no for an answer. Full of insight and with a brilliant flair for narrative, he shows us why falling in love is a form of insanity.

8. If you fancy a posh romp…

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts: Coming (!) to a bookshop near you is heroine Polly Spencer. Follow her as she tries to remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. FYI Jilly Cooper said the sex made her feel like a nun.

9. If you like your prose to be poetic…

The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward: Poet, model, actor, Insta-star and LGBT icon Daley-Ward made waves with her debut poetry collection, Bone, and is doing so again with her new memoir – a chronicle of family conflict, her emerging sexuality and struggles with drugs and mental health. What sets this above is her style: an intriguing, highly original mix of poetry and prose.

10. If you’re looking for the new generation Bridget Jones…

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne: Things aren’t working out for 31-year-old Tori Bailey the way they’re supposed to. Her boyfriend’s an arse, her best friend’s fallen in love and she’s got a spare tyre round her middle she calls Herman, which she shames on social media. There’s a dark underside to this fresh funny story too, that gives it real resonance.

11. You want to indulge your inner bitch…

Kudos by Rachel Cusk: The author who got herself into trouble for bitching up motherhood, then marriage, is on outstanding form in this conclusion to her fictional trilogy. Narrator Faye is off to a literary festival in Portugal this time and, in ten short chapters, skewers almost everyone she meets, from her agent to her editor to the journalist, with cool, piercing savagery.

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