Reading may be an all-year-round hobby, but there’s something about picking up a book in summer that just feels right – especially when you’re away from home on holiday. So, whether you’re spending this summer in a cottage in the Cotswolds or jetting off to the Amalfi Coast, now’s a good time to start planning your holiday reading list.
Not only does getting away from the busyness of everyday life give you the chance to pick up a new book, but being away from a familiar setting makes it easier to get invested in the characters, storylines and worlds being laid out on the page.
The only problem? With so many good books already on the shelves – and even more coming out over the next couple of months – it can be hard to cut down your selection to just a handful of standout reads. And unless you’ve got a Kindle, you won’t have room for an entire bookshelf in your suitcase.
So, to help you narrow down your holiday library, Team Stylist have put together this list of our favourite holiday reads that are guaranteed to keep you entertained this summer. From an eye-opening collection of short stories to a mystical historical novel, here’s what the team said.
Beasts Of A Little Land by Juhea Kim
“While the sun is shining, there’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a multi-faceted historical and mystical novel.
“Anything by Isabel Allende is a particular favourite – House of Spirits is a fantastic holiday read – but I recently spent the warm sunny spate reading Beasts Of A Little Land, which had me crying, laughing and utterly riveted. Pair with a chilled glass of rose and there you have the perfect pairing for a sunny day of dreams.”
Naomi May, digital fashion writer
Acts Of Desperation by Megan Nolan
“I recently finished Megan Nolan’s Acts of Desperation and was so utterly moved by the narrative and writing I bought three copies to give to friends so we could all read and discuss.
“It’s about that one disastrous relationship that breaks you and moulds you and it made me rethink and reframe my own. It’s such a thrilling read so if you want a visceral, honest, unputdownable summer read then this is it. You’ll devour it in a day.”
Katy Harrington, freelance contributor
Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith
“My go-to summer read is always part of the Ripley series. It provides ultimate escapism – Tom lives in a gorgeous chateau in France in the 60s and the descriptions entirely take you into that place – even if you’re reading about his ridiculous escapades in the middle of a park in Hackney.
“He’s also the perfect villain – I can’t bring myself to ever hope he doesn’t get away with his homicidal activities. Thankfully, fiction is fiction!”
Miranda Larbi, Strong Women editor
One Night With You by Laura Jane Williams
“Williams has been a solid go-to for holiday reads ever since she published the best-selling Our Stop in summer 2019. Her latest novel, about a night between two strangers that changes everything, is no different.
“The story is as witty as it is heartfelt, and as steamy as it is sincere. Devour it beachside, just as I did on my recent trip to Egypt.”
Amy Beecham, digital writer
Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason
“I often find it’s easier to read a hyped-up book when all the buzz has died down – not that it really has for 2020’s Sorrow And Bliss, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize earlier this year.
“This is an extraordinary and incredibly funny novel, with the most realistic portrayal of family life in all its quirky and deeply specific chaos that I’ve ever read. Meg Mason has a fantastic ear for dialogue, and I lapped this book up in one go on my last holiday.”
Kat Brown, news editor
We Move by Gurnaik Johal
“You can’t beat a book of short stories for a poolside read. Excuse the pun, but they’re the perfect thing to dip in and out of. This collection by debut writer Gurnaik Johal is moving and totally transporting, set in West London and exploring generations of immigrations and the stories that have come with it.”
Alice Porter, freelance contributor
The Last Children Of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada
“There’s something about being in a new place which allows your mind to run wild, so I’m always in the mood for some kind of fantasy or dystopian book when I’m on holiday. If you’re the same, I’d recommend Yoko Tawada’s The Last Children Of Tokyo.
“Set in dystopian Japan, it can be hard to wrap your head around at first, but the messages at its core will keep you thinking long after you turn the last page.”
Lauren Geall, digital writer
Images: courtesy of publishers