I have to admit that this isn’t my favourite topic, purely because I don’t really read books at a certain time of year, or when I’m on holiday. I tend to read books I’m interested in throughout the year, and sometimes I want to read something to escape from my present situation (actually, this is pretty much the main reason I read in general), so I sometimes like to read a wintery book when it’s baking outside to try to trick my body into thinking it’s cooler. However, my understanding of the theme is something easy to read, usually somewhat romantic, or something set in a more exotic location. As always, this list is in no specific order. If you would like to find out more about Top 5 Wednesdays, you can do so here.
- The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley – I finished reading this book about a week or so ago, and it’s a haunting and engrossing read about a group of men surviving after a mysterious fungal disease has killed all the women in the world. The protagonist, Nate, is the storyteller of the group, and tells stories to remind them of women. As he tells these stories, strange yellow mushrooms begin to grow over where the women are buried, and form into sentient fungal imitations of women called the Beauty. It’s verdant, set mostly outdoors, and only 100 pages long, so it can easily be read when you’re busy enjoying yourself on holiday. Honestly, you will not regret taking the small amount of time necessary to read this book – it gives it back tenfold.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – As much as I try not to repeat books in these lists, this is an excellent book which is both engaging and easy to read, with fantastic characters that I cared deeply about. It’s also set in a fantasy-style Venice, for all your sunny needs, and it’s a fairly long read, for when you want to be absorbed completely into a different world. I bought the second and third in the series the other day, so I’m hoping to get around to continuing the series soon.
- Resistance is Futile by Jenny Colgan – This is somewhat outside of my usual reading pattern, and while I thought it was a slightly different book than what it turned out to be, I still found it enjoyable. Think part Dr Who and part rom-com, this concerns a brilliant female mathematician recruited to undertake a top-secret project at Cambridge, and finding love (and other things along the way).
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen – Seeing as this book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last year, you don’t need me to tell you that this is one hell of a great read, and is perfect for escaping to an exotic location, both in terms of Vietnam (which in all honesty is pretty grim when visited in the book), the Philippines, and Los Angeles. The difficulties of loyalty, patriotism and living away from your homeland are complex and nuanced, and you’ll especially enjoy this book if you’re a fan of Miss Saigon, which I am. Be warned, it’s not for the fainthearted.
- Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy – This is the definition of a summer read; set in the fictional temple town of Jarmuli in India, it concerns the lives of several characters living or visiting the town: a young woman from Oslo, three old ladies, and a temple guide. Their stories mix and merge to create a sweltering, heady mix of the joy and sadness, with beautifully poetic prose.
So there are my summer reads – please let me know what yours are in the comments below. Until next time, may your plots be satisfying and your characters get what they deserve.