Despite the occasional attempts of the weather to persuade us otherwise, summer's not quite over yet. And many of us are still looking forward to our well-earned breaks, be they in some far-flung corner of the world, making the most of the UK or simply a gloriously work-free staycation in the comfort of our own homes.
Wherever the destination, it's likely there's a chunk of downtime requiring a new book (or three) to lose oneself in, not to mention those who've already taken holidays and need their commute fare topping up. To that end, we have asked the experts at Penguin to recommend 10 summer reads especially for Stylist.co.uk readers.
If that's not enough to satiate your literary appetite, you might be interested in the publisher's newest digital venture which delves into their archives to provide free access to new content daily, including deleted scenes and author interviews, as well as extracts from books not even released yet.
The collaboration with Transport for London and Virgin Media is part of Penguin's 80th birthday celebrations and until 28 August, tube customers can visit summerofpenguin.com and read and listen to stories and ideas from the likes of Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett, John Cleese, The Hemsley Sisters and Stephen Fry.
Take a look through the below recommendations to find fiction and non-fiction, old and new, and see what takes your fancy. Happy reading!
Daft Wee Stories, by Limmy
Digital Publisher Dan Franklin says: “Building on his status as a much-loved television and multimedia comic writer, Limmy’s debut book is a story collection that showcases his outrageous, subversive and delightfully skewed view of the world and proves that he can excel in whatever medium he chooses.”
A Book For Her, by Bridget Christie
Consumer and Digital Development Executive Rose Poole says: “Ferociously clever and seriously funny, Bridget Christie is THE most exciting voice in comedy today. Christie brought feminism to the front line of UK stand-up and this part-memoir, part-rant, explores everything from UK politics to FGM. In a landscape dominated by all-male panel shows and flippant sexism, Christie is an incredibly important figure. I implore everyone to read this book immediately.”
Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee
Director of Publicity & Media Relations, Charlotte Bush, says: “Go Set a Watchman tells the story of Scout Finch’s return to Maycomb, and we join her on a journey that is both heart-wrenching and painful, yet at times also humorous. By travelling with her we rediscover many of the characters from Mockingbird, but the book also explores issues that are as relevant today as they were in the mid-1950's when Harper Lee wrote the book.”
Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson
Head of Digital Marketing Ruth Spencer says: “If you're planning on taking a staycation this summer, be sure to pack a copy of Notes from a Small Island. Following American Bill Bryson’s 1995 tour around his adopted country, reading this book will make you remember how much there is to love about the UK - even the rain.”
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
Senior Digital Marketing Manager Lynsey Dalladay says: “If you haven’t read Paula Hawkins’ compelling crime novel yet then you’re in for a treat. Twisting and suspenseful, it creeps up on you like rising damp and is impossible to shake off. Relatable for anyone who’s ever stared out of a train window, its complex plot provides the perfect read for all amateur sleuths. And if you have read it, read it again!”
I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy
Digital Marketing Executive Indira Birnie says: “I Take You is the best debut novel I’ve read in ages – as well as a brilliantly written protagonist, it’s whip-smart, pacy, and truly hilarious. The Bridget Jones’ Diary for our times, you’ll probably read it in one sitting because that’s how good it is.”
Shop Girl, by Mary Portas
Harriet Horobin, Assistant Editor (Digital), says: “The Queen of Shops might surprise you with this book. It is as much a vivid and charming evocation of a 1960’s childhood in Watford as a heartfelt memoir about overcoming grief and difficult circumstances. Portas shares her stories of stealing lemonade and getting in trouble for giggling during church services, the effect of the sudden death of her mother, and her struggle for self-actualisation as she starts a job window-dressing in Harrods. A very entertaining read!”
Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby
Content Assistant Rhiannon Griffiths says: “Nick Hornby has done it again – I thought Funny Girl was wonderful. The characters shine in this tale of ambition, creativity and humanity. Touching and packed with dry humour, it had me captivated from the very beginning.”
The Woman Who Stole My Life, by Marian Keyes
Head of Social Media Bee Barker says: “You don’t need to travel any further than your sofa for Marian to sweep you off from rural Ireland to the glitzy New York skyline! There’s love, lust, tragedy, travel and all the LOLs in this perfect summer read. You’ll really miss living life alongside Stella Sweeney once it’s over!”
Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari
Digital Marketing Executive Samantha Book says: “If you’re looking for a book to help you navigate the confusing world of dating, and laugh at the ridiculousness of some of our modern courtship rituals, then Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari's part memoir, part sociological study is for you.”