Words by Lisa Hughes
July 26th, 2016
Heading off on your holidays and don’t know what book to grab at the airport? Don’t worry, bookworms – we’ve got your back. Gone are the days when hitting the beach meant packing a forgettable trashy read you hid in your suitcase – for most of us, the summer holidays are the perfect time to catch up on all the amazing books we see on Instagram but never get around to actually thumbing through.
Here are our 10 must-read books this summer:
Feminist revenge fantasy inspired by Fight Club – could Dietland get any better? This addictive novel tells the story of Plum, an overweight, unhappy woman determined to get gastric band surgery so she can finally be the thin person she knows she is deep down inside. But her plans change when she crosses paths with a vigilante movement known only as ‘Jennifer’ who is inflicting Tyler Durden-style revenge on the patriarchy. As well as being a zeitgeisty analysis of body image, it’s unputdownable.
Anecdote-heavy and packed with useful advice, Girl Lost in the City blogger Emma Gannon’s first foray into the book world blends amusing memories with an insightful take on life as a constantly connected millennial. From reliving teen awkwardness and horror tales of MSN chat to nabbing a job in social media and making BFF online, CTRL, ALT, DELETE is the perfect sidekick to Gannon’s gold star podcast of the same name.
When human baby bones are discovered stitched into the hem of an old wedding dress, plucky young copper Cathy Connolly is on the case. Written by Sam Blake AKA Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the brains behind writing.ie, this crime thriller set in Dublin hinges on Zoe Grant, heir to the fortune of fashion stalwart Lavinia Grant. A day after Cathy’s grim discovery of the bones, Lavinia is found dead. Coincidence? You’ll just have to get reading to find out!
Complicated Irish-American Daniel Sullivan is living in remote Donegal with his wife Claudette. But Claudette is no ordinary farmhouse dweller; once a silver screen siren, Claudette staged her own disappearance and is now doing a garbo in rural Ireland. When Daniel hears about an ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago, he sets off on a cross-continental quest deep into his past. Covering everything from marriage woes to the cult of celebrity, this novel is a cracker.
Irish-Caribbean writer Kit de Waal’s first novel is finally here and the rave reviews are on the money. Set in the 1970s, My Name is Leon is told from the perspective of nine-year-old Leon, a young black boy who is on a mission to find beloved half-brother Jake after they are separated in foster care, too innocent to understand that little Jake was adopted because he’s white. An inspiring story about the bond between brothers, de Waal’s novel is a real page-turner.
Darkly funny and sharp as a tack, the sixth book by Valenti, Feministing founder and host of The Guardian’s ‘What Would a Feminist Do?’ podcast, explores the real life toll everyday sexism has on our lives. Exploring the embarrassing – and sometimes illegal – moments that shaped Valenti’s upbringing in New York City, this hugely relatable book breaks down the confident persona she has online and reveals the person behind the computer screen.
Best known as guitarist with post-punk outfit The Fall, today Brix is a fashion maven and former head honcho of now-defunct Start boutique in London. A real rock ‘n roll roller-coaster ride, her autobiography spans her days growing up in the Hollywood Hills to gracing the cover of the NME to waitressing in California to make ends meet. Most of all, it’s a tale of reinvention and why you should never, ever give up.
Packing in fat shaming, getting cancer, redundancy, her difficult relationship with her birth mother, getting married (and not being the typical Bridezilla) and even make-up tips, you could say RTE 2FM DJ Louise McSharry packs a lot into her memoir. Despite the often heavy subject matter, Fat Chance is a majorly uplifting read and its honesty will make you a newfound fan of McSharry’s – as if you weren’t already.
Is midnight on 31st July circled in red in your diary yet? Not only is it Harry Potter’s birthday (but all you Potterheads knew that) this date also sees Jack Thorne’s West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child open its official run and J.K. Rowling’s new story hitting bookshops. Picking up 19 years after the final novel, the eighth instalment sees dad-of-three Harry struggle to keep his wand-wielding past buried, while youngest son Albus comes to grips with the family legacy. We. Can. Not. Wait.
Told with her trademark humour, journalist Bryony Gordon’s new book describes having OCD since age 12 and the heart-breaking impact it’s had on her life. Often uncomfortable but always unflinchingly honest, Mad Girl is essential reading for anyone with anxiety and depression. In recent years everyone from The Rock to Lady Gaga has opened up about mental health but a stigma still remains and that’s why Mad Girl is such a brave and important book.
Read our review of the biggest book of the summer ‘The Girls’ by Emma Cline here.
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