There are lots of things I love about this time of year. The ready availability of ice-cream, not having to wear a coat, the light mornings, holidays…the list is endless. But one of my favourite things about this time of year is being involved in the Summer Reading Challenge. This will be the ninth challenge I have been involved in and I love listening to children talk about the books they have been reading over their summer break (as they either give you a mini-review through the medium of head nodding with the occasional word thrown in, or sit you down and tell you the WHOLE story from cover to cover.)
After suffering from a horrendous reading slump lately, I have decided to take inspiration from the children taking part in the challenge (31 and counting so far at my library…) and set myself the challenge of reading six books over the summer.
After much deliberating, here is what I’ll be reading in a bid to complete my own challenge (and hopefully I’ll get a Banana-man bookmark for my efforts too…)
What do you do when the life you’ve carefully built for yourself comes apart?
Lydia Smith lives a quiet life, spent in the company of her colleagues and customers at the bookstore where she works. But when Joey Molina, a young and mysterious regular, hangs himself in the bookstore and leaves Lydia secret messages hidden in the pages of his books, her world starts to unravel.
Why did Joey do it?
What did he know?
And what does it have to do with Lydia?
Books are great, we all know that. But books about BOOKSTORES? They are just on a whole different level. This book somehow completely missed my radar when it was released, but as soon as I read the synopsis I just knew it was one for me. I love a good mystery novel and one where books are used to solve clues sounds like heaven in book-form to me.
How to be Famous by Caitlin Moran
I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be 19, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly. My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs Hell – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name. But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons.
Somewhat of a heroine of mine, I will freely admit that I’ll read pretty much anything Caitlin Moran writes. Her writing is sharp, edgy and utterly hilarious and her LEGEDNARY manifesto, How to be a Women is one of my all-time favourite books ever.
If advance praise is to be believed then How to be Famous is no different, providing something quirky, funny and just that little bit different from the norm.
A spot-on, wildly funny and sometimes heart-breaking book about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way. When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart-themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out.
I love books that share other people’s stories about growing up, experiencing disastrous relationships and navigating life in general, hence why Everything I Know about Love massively appeals to me.
I’ve already started reading this one (that Banana Man bookmark is in sight! I just know it!) And it has made me chortle already. I’m convinced that Dolly Alderton is secretly me.
Emily Charlton, ex-assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly, does not do the suburbs. She’s a successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood’s stars but – thanks to the Snapchatting millennials stealing precious business – her career’s under threat. When Graham Hartwell, a senator with presidential ambitions, frames and publicly dumps her old friend Karolina, Emily winds up in Greenwich – with the client of a lifetime. He couldn’t have known what’s coming. He’s reckoned without the wives.
The Devil Wears Prada was one of the first ‘adult’ books that I read as a teenager. I remember reading it just as I was starting out in the working-world myself and thanking my lucky starts that my boss at the time wasn’t Miranda Priestly (it could always be worse…)
I love Lauren Weisburger’s writing and I’m very much looking forward to becoming re-acquainted with Emily Charlton…
When they got in the lift that morning, they were strangers. Sasha, who is at the UK’s biggest TV centre desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s by far the richest – and best-looking – guy in the lift; Velvet, who regrets wearing the world’s least comfortable shoes to work experience; Dawson, who isn’t the good-looking teen star he was and desperate not to be recognized; Kaitlyn, who’s slowly losing her sight but won’t admit it, and Joe, who shouldn’t be there at all, but who wants to be there the most. And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.
My summer ‘To-Be-Read’ would be pretty pointless without the addition of a collection of Young Adult short stories to devour in the sunshine.
I’m particularly excited about Floored as it contains contributions from some of my favourite YA authors including Holly Bourne, Sara Barnard and Non Pratt. What more could any book-loving human being ask for!?
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair.
Yes! I know! How can any self-respecting library worker not have read this yet? I can only hang my head in shame here and blame all of the other zillions of books I am exposed to every day that I come to work.
I fully intend to rectify this unacceptable state of affairs and get reading this superb-sounding book as soon as possible!
What do you think – does this deserve a Banana Man bookmark?
Tell us what you have been reading this summer in the comments, hopefully Holly will report back and let us know whether she completed her challenge.