Summer is upon us, meaning it’s time to get stuck into a good ol’ book. Whether you are whiling away the hours lounging on a beach, sipping a G&T on a bougie terrace bar, sunbathing in a garden hammock or just needing something to get you through that sweaty commute here is the listicle for you. Alas, here are eight of the best of the rest, chart toppers, best-sellers and must-reads ready for you to get your teeth in to. Enjoy book worms!
Queenie - Candice Carty-Williams
Candice Carty-Williams’ debut novel Queenie has had rave reviews as a timely, poignant yet belly-achingly funny portrayal of modern day love and race. A south london millennial and catastrophist, this book details in aching tenderness the way in which Queenie negotiates the turmoils of love and loss. All with the help of her eclectic girlfriends who are affectionately called the corgis.
The book has been hailed as the new Bridget Jones, however there is more to it than just female friendship and spanx. Carty-Williams challenges reductive stereotypes surrounding modern day black women, delivering a fresh, frank and fiercely funny book. This novel is 100% a must for fans of Dolly Alderton and Sally Rooney, and anyone who rated Fleabag.
At The Pond: Swimming At The Hampstead Ladies' Pond
This is the book for anyone who calls themselves a skinny-dipper, pond-diver, water-lover, or just a Hampstead-swimmer. A collection of essays that tells the story of Hampstead Ladies’ Pond from the perspective of the women who have swum there throughout the seasons. A combination of personal reminiscence and communal adoration for a place held in the hearts of many, this book uncovers a watery oasis of calm within the hectic hustle of London.
City Of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert
From the number one bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, City of Girls is a deliciously sensual concoction of scandal and hedonism. Set in Manhattan in the 1940s, the novel follows the life of nineteen year old Vivian Morris as she is introduced to the boho glamour of showgirl life. As well as romping through the razzle-dazzle of Forties New York, Gilbert digs deep into female sexuality, promiscuity and morality. A fizzy, sexy cocktail – what is better for summer?
The Salt Path - Raynor Winn
A Sunday Times bestseller and shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award, this is the true story of a couple who lost everything they had and therefore decided to walk a 630 mile journey. After being made homeless, Raynor and Moth, both in their fifties, embarked upon the whole of the South West Coastal path, wild camping, surviving on pasties and coming to terms with their predicament. A wonderfully uplifting and touching memoir, filled with ups and downs, surrounded by the healing powers of nature.
Circe - Madeline Miller
You will no doubt have seen Circe lining the windows of all good bookshops near you, and not without reason. Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, and titled Book Of The Year by many publications, this reworking of a Greek myth has been showered in critical acclaim. The novel is a first-person account from the nymph Circe. Through Circe’s (immortal) eyes we are given a type of ‘greatest hits of the ancient Greek world’, from Prometheus to The Odyssey, the Minotaur to Icarus. A feminist retelling of ancient Greek myth, Miller has scripted a complex and compelling character, and an addictive must read.
Everybody Died, So I Got A Dog - Emily Dean
Emily Dean grew up in a crazy chaotic home full of poetry recitals and unpaid bills. Despite dreaming of having a dog, Emily’s hectic adventuring meant dog ownership was a far off reality. However, in three years Emily tragically loses her sister, Rachel and both her parents. This heart aching yet funny memoir tells us how it is possible to overcome the very worst that life throws at you, describing a healing process that enables Emily to start again, this time with her own dog – Raymond. Sarah Millican explained that this book will make you ‘laugh, cry and stroke your dog (or any dog)’.
How To Fail - Elizabeth Day
Inspired by her incredibly popular podcast, How To Fail is a book written for anyone who has ever failed. So essentially it’s a book for all of us. Day’s central message is that understanding why we fail makes us better human beings. She tackles topics such as family, friendship, babies, dating, work and sport. Drawing on her own experiences, Day has created a funny, honest and deeply insightful piece of work that many are deeming a modern manifesto for the high-pressure society we live in.
Underland - Robert Macfarlane
Robert Macfarlane is every nature-lovers literary hero. His prizewinning, internationally bestselling books Landmarks, The Old Ways and The Lost Words have put him at the very top of lyrical nature writing. In Underland however, Macfarlane is taking us on a journey below our feet. He details, in poetical prose, arctic sea caves and Bronze age burial chambers, Greenland’s deep glaciers, subterranean networks by which trees communicate and much more of that under land which is often unseen. This is a deep time voyage into earth’s past and future. For fans of Macfarlane it’s top of the list, and for those unacquainted, I highly recommend you take a dive into Macfarlane’s fantastic writing, as he so eloquently explores the landscape and the human heart.
Finished all the books? Delve into our favourite London bookshops to find your next read…