Earlier in the summer, we bought you a blog full of reading suggestions to get you through the summer. There were suggestions for all ages, covering different genres and ideas for anyone completing the Summer Reading Challenge or just looking for a really great read! (If you missed it, catch up here)
As we’re halfway through the summer, we thought we’d check back in and see how your #SummerOfReading is going? What have you read so far and loved? Any stinkers? Still looking for a great read? Never fear, today’s blog is here!
Here’s a compilation of reading suggestions from library staff to pick and choose from!
As we’re over half way through the year (eeek where did that time go..!?), we’re also half way through 2021 as a reading year.
This year has been a great year for books and I’ve read some absolutely amazing novels so far. They have been the level of good which requires you tell EVERYONE about them; colleagues, friends, family, your dog etc.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Girl A by Abigail Dean
2021 has been a thriller-packed six months for me and it’s a genre that is fast becoming one of my favourites. Of all of the thrillers I’ve read during the last six months, Girl A is definitely a stand-out favourite. This was such a powerful novel that it is still on my mind, months after reading it.
Girl A tells the story of Lex Gracie, one of seven siblings who were held captive by their parents in the media labelled ‘House of Horror’s’. When Lex’s mother dies in prison and the siblings are left the family home, it leads to a reunion of sorts between the brothers and sisters – but it also opens up old wounds at the same time.
I couldn’t stop talking about this book to anyone who would listen (sorry, not sorry) It was so haunting, touching and an absolutely addictive read. I can’t wait to read more from the hugely talented Abigail Dean.
Careless by Kirsty Capes
I’d heard so much praise for this debut novel by Kirsty Capes that I couldn’t wait to discover if it was worth the hype…And I can confirm it MOST DEFINITELY is. Careless tells the story of fifteen-year-old Bess who discovers she is pregnant. Beth feels unable to tell her foster parents of her predicament and she certainly feels as though she can’t tell the father. So that leaves her best friend…
But can these two fifteen-year-old girls sort out this messy and rather complicated situation they have found themselves in?
I absolutely adored Beth. She was such a relatable and loveable character. I desperately wanted things to be ok for her and felt as though I was experiencing these things alongside her. Kirsty’s writing was fantastic and she has that natural talent of really bringing the characters to life through her story. I am excitedly anticipating her next novel…
The Shelf by Helly Acton
Amy is expecting her boyfriend to whisk her away for a dream holiday and propose but what actually happens is he dumps her. But that’s not all. He dumps her ON LIVE TV.
Amy’s life is further turned upside down when she finds herself taking part in reality TV show, The Shelf. The aim of the game? To pass a series of cringe-worthy tasks and not get ‘dumped’ by being voted out.
Yet ANOTHER amazing debut author I have discovered this year. I absolutely devoured this relatable and highly hilarious novel and enjoyed every single second of it. Helly Acton really has that special ‘something’ when it comes to writing and I’m predicting big things from her in the world of women’s fiction. I’m currently LOVING her second novel ‘The Couple’ and predict this will also be going on to my list of favourite reads of 2021, too…
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of four friends and follows them as they learn some very important life lessons about kindness, friendship and being yourself. I’d heard lots about this book before reading it for myself and I’m not quite sure why it took me as long as it did to discover it.
Not only are the illustrations fantastic but the story itself is so refreshing and just what the world needs at the moment. This is the perfect book to read for yourself or to gift to someone you care about. It’s such a charming story and a total treasure, definitely one to read again and again. It also contains a cake-loving mole, what more could anyone want from a story!?
As we head into the holiday months, it’s desirable to unwind and relax and what better way to do that than with an eAudiobook? Sit back and listen to the soothing tones of somebody else reading a story to you.
Here is a selection of suitable summery and positive titles to lure you into chill out time!
Summerland by Lucy Adlington
At the end of the Second World War Brigitta is a refugee arriving in England, but she breaks away from the group to fulfil her secret mission – to find Summerland Hall and the one person who can solve a wartime mystery.
A gripping novel inspired by true events.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
As the title suggests this novel is a feast for the imagination.
Only when settling her late mother’s affairs, does Luna begin to learn the truth. In a surreal moment she is suddenly back with her mother as a young woman in 1977 and wonders whether she can change events to save her life….
The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Rayn
The eponymous heroine lives up to her surname is this positive story of a plucky itinerant who has been on the run from her past for twenty-two years!
Just as Dawn thinks she has found a home she needs the help of her newfound friends to hold onto it!
Her Last Holiday by C. L. Taylor
The title refers to the last holiday Fran’s sister took at a foreign retreat. The owner was imprisoned for two of the three murders – not her sister’s.
So, when he is released and resumes his retreat, Fran enrols to find out the truth, but will she escape to tell it??
Advice from a Buddhist Monk about dealing with the myriad of anxieties that characterise modern life encouraging us to notice that when we slow down, the world slows down with us!
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
An unlikely love story featuring Natasha and Danielle neither of whom believe in fate but are seemingly brought together by it!
A chance meeting on the train and a shared motto draw them together despite her family’s imminent threat of deportation.
Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau
From a straightlaced and orderly family, Mary Jane’s world is transformed when she takes a job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor.
She brings order to their chaotic lives and they introduce her to the liberal delights of sex and drugs and a visiting rock n roll star!!
My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay
A life affirming memoir from British-Nigerian poet, Lemn Sissay recounting his difficult chlldhood living with a foster family and in care homes.
Seventeen before he found out his real name and where he came from originally, this is a biography about neglect and determination, misfortune and hope.
Better to Travel than Arrive
As we contemplate the summer holidays, here are a few suggested eBook and eAudio reads to take you on a journey from the comfort of your back garden! All you need is a comfortable seat and something cool to drink.
By the Seat of My Pants- Humorous Tales of Travel and Misadventure, edited by Don George
Published by Lonely Planet, this book brings together a charabanc of well-known and first-time out travel writers recounting their often hilarious, frequently memorable global experiences. From unexpected detours to unidentifiable dinners!
These 31 globegirdling tales that run the gamut from close-encounter safaris to loss-of-face follies, hair-raising rides to culture-leaping brides, eccentric expats to mind-boggling repasts, wrong roads taken to agreements mistaken. The collection brings together some of the world’s most renowned travellers and storytellers with previously unpublished writers.
Paddle: A Long Way Around Ireland by Jasper Winn
What should have been a heady summer of kayaking around Ireland, turns into an epic struggle at sea in atrocious weather and lock-ins playing music in coastal pubs.
The author and musician, brought up in Cork, has evocatively captured his low tech adventures with wit and bonhomie.
On the Road with Kids by John Ahern
A successful man decides to buy a campervan to embark on a global, yearlong holiday to become a better husband and father.
John Ahern had a good job, a big house, a loving wife and two great kids. But he felt he was somehow failing as a husband and father. Craving a great adventure to bring his family closer together, he sabotages his high-flying career, rents out the house and buys a battered old campervan online. The plan is to spend a year on the road… with kids.
This book highlights their antics from the North Pole to the highest peaks of Africa without phones or social media!
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
Revisiting his homeland on an epic trek across thirty-eight states after ten years in England, Bill Bryson discovers just why he left. In search of idyllic small time America, he finds drab uniformity in an endless blur of gas stations, motels and hamburger joints.
His inimitable witty commentary and observations sparkle.
A Midlife Cyclist by Rachel Ann Cullen
A cycling odyssey retold where the author found joy and mental wellbeing.
When her life saving running is curtailed by injury, Rachel finds that taking to a bike helps to stave off the recurring depression. She doesn’t stop at the Yorkshire Dales, though, but forges on to the far flung reaches of Vietnam.
Elsewhere – One Woman, One Rucksack, One Lifetime of Travel by Rosita Boland
A series of essays representing a life well-travelled. From death-defying bus journeys through Pakistan to witnessing the majestic icescapes of Antarctica to putting herself back together in Bali, Rosita experiences moments of profound joy and endures deep personal loss.
The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton
A philosophical but light-hearted look at the human desire to travel for pleasure; the joys and frustrations of what actually happens.
His amusing musings cover airports, landscapes, museums, holiday romances, photographs, hotel mini-bars and even exotic carpets!
Looking for Transwonderland – Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa
Here the author returns to Nigeria many years after her father, an activist, was murdered there.
The book conveys her frustrated but eventually enlightened relationship with a country as corrupt as it is visually beautiful and ultimately, the passion, wit and ingenuity of its people.
Don’t forget to hit the return option once you’ve finished listening to your eAudiobooks and swiped the last page of your eBook so that the next person can discover the fantastic listen/read you’ve just finished!