There’s nothing we like more than curling up with a good book.
Give us two minutes and we’ll come up with a reason why it’s the quintessential activity for any season. Autumn, there’s a chill in the air and we’re adapting to more time indoors; homely reads are our go-to for comfort and escapism. Winter is the domain of hot chocolate, thick, snuggly jumpers, and a distinct sense of merriment, only improved by a hardback with the power to transport. And spring. Picnic blankets, bright mornings, and a new lease of life go hand-in-hand with stories that can move you as much as the scent of freshly mowed grass and the sight of newborn lambs frolicking through fields…
In summer, well, why not? Sitting by the barbeque with a real page-turner and a tall glass of something fruity: that’s heaven for you. We’ve got just under a month left to enjoy summer’s characteristic relaxing atmosphere, and we’re going to make the most of it!
After months of lockdown though, our reading lists are pretty much spent. That’s why we reached out to some of our favourite bloggers; bookworms, lovers of travel, style and nature’s beauty, for their recommendations to see us through the next few months. Keep reading for the best summer reads as told by this talented bunch.
‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari
Do you have a burgeoning curiosity for human history? Whether you blanked at school, never found your footing with traditional history books, or had your interest piqued by the recent influx of outside-of-the-box historical podcasts and television programmes, Natasha (@dearnatashalou), living in Edinburgh, has a recommendation to accelerate your learning journey:
“In his informative, accessible, and at times, humorously cynical book ‘Sapiens,’ Harari explores humankind from the rise of Homosapiens, the fall of the Neanderthals, to the scientific, and finally the modern, technologically-focused sapiens. A text you will be hooked on from the beginning.”
Side note: take it from us, you could while away hours poring through Natasha’s Instagram page. Idyllic landscapes, perfect pooches and libraries that make a bibliophile’s heartache: you’ll find it all, and poignant shots of castles to spare. Natasha’s collection of photography is the sort that brings to mind the aroma of well-worn books and makes you feel nostalgic, though you can’t quite pinpoint for what.
‘The Sellout’ by Paul Beatty
A hard-hitting, challenging, but extremely funny gem, Natasha’s second testimonial moves us onto fiction, where we’ll stay for the rest of this list. Appreciate the humorous streams of consciousness from our first-nameless narrator, the jaw-dropping plot developments, but also find yourself further pondering the semantics behind Beatty’s narrative, long after you turn the final page. According to Natasha:
“Paul Beatty’s novel is a sarcastic satire about a “post-racial America,” and it exemplifies how ridiculous that notion truly is. Beatty turns slavery, segregation and racism upside down. I promise, you’ll laugh, cry, feel angry and happy, and slam the book down in frustration then pick it back up again in intrigue.”
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
Romantic at heart? If you have a penchant for all-consuming, storybook love, old-fashioned courtship and strong-willed, independent protagonists, Pride and Prejudice has it all, plus a generous helping of social satire and immersive insights into what life was like for women in 19th century England, if only for a particular class.
While you may already have a well-thumbed copy on your bookshelf, you can’t beat a reread of an old favourite, and this beloved classic has endured over 200 years so far. Here’s what Georgina (@gisforgeorgina) had to say about it:
“My favourite book is a much-loved classic, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have read it countless times over the years but can never resist the charms of this particular love story – or those of Mr Darcy! Austen’s sparkling wit makes me smile every time and the characters feel like old friends.”
Visit Georgina’s Instagram page for an aesthetic as romantic in design as her chosen novel. As Georgina also lives in Edinburgh, a recurring theme of awe-inspiring architecture, castles and glorious greenery is characterised by her eye for colour and striking perspectives.
‘Rebecca’ by Daphne de Maurier
England’s love affair with Gothic literature began in the 18th century and continues to this day, with many modern works reminiscent of the darkly romantic, fear-inducing and mysterious conventions of the genre. The second classic on our list, this novel was released in 1938, yet another Gothic triumph in a long line of successful publications, which, though not strictly supernatural, deals with the morbid themes of death, isolation, obsession and cruelty. Take it from Amber (@foreveramberblog):
“I always find it impossible to pick an all-time favourite as there are so many great books out there, but one I always enjoy rereading is Rebecca, by Daphne de Maurier, which has one of the best opening lines ever!”
If you’re wondering, that line is, “Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” We bet you’re hooked already…
Mosey over to Scottish parenting blogger, Amber’s Instagram page, for cute pictures of her son Max, vintage styling and more picturesque shots of nature and architecture, in which Amber’s beautiful red hair is an almost-constant marker.
‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L.M. Montgomery
Published in 1908, it may be a classic children’s book, but L.M. Montgomery’s adventures of orphan Anne are well-loved by people of all ages, as heart-warming tales with happy endings often are. As Rebecca (@aclotheshorse) explains, this novel may be lacking in mythical creatures and explosive action, but it makes up for it in droves; instead, a coming-of-age adventure centring on belonging, friendship, joy, mishaps and tragedy, but also hope, optimism and passion:
“This isn’t really a surprise to anyone who is familiar with my pictures, but one of my favourite books is Anne of Green Gables.
“Ironically, I wasn’t a huge fan of this series when I was introduced to it as a child because there wasn’t enough sword-fighting or dragons, but I feel like it’s a book that I’ve grown into and I appreciate more now as an adult. L.M. Montgomery writes about small-town life and spins homey wisdom through her stories and there’s no other author who describes nature so beautifully.”
Take a look at Rebecca’s Instagram and you’ll immediately understand what she means when she says Anne has an influence on her photography, where breath-taking colour, texture and light are the order of the day. Retro clothing, beautiful blooms, Solomon the Irish Wolfhound and another shock of glorious red hair leave us scrolling for more.
‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy
Prepare, not for feel-good tugging of the heartstrings; though The God of Small Things (1997) revolves around relationships and love, the latter is largely forbidden and stalked by the spectres of sadness and grief. Instead, you will be engrossed by thought-provoking depictions of social, political and cultural discrimination, as Roy explores how small choices, decisions and behaviours can impact our lives and the lives of those around us. As detailed by Ramona (@monalogue), there’s a strong likelihood you’ll be gripped time and time again…
“My favourite book is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I usually find it quite difficult to read fiction, but this book uses language in such a unique way – it weaves between poetry and prose and different linguistic styles to emphasise different points of view and levels of understanding. It’s beautiful! I caught myself reading parts of it over and over again.”
With crisp images of stately homes, fairy-tale snaps of Ramona and her partner Aaron, and the cutest stills of pure-white puppies Silas and Eppie, the @monalogue Instagram page is a truly English affair and delightful to browse. Gardens and greenery abound!
We hope you found your next gripping read in our listicle! If you have recommendations of your own, we’d love to hear them and add to our article; just let us know on Facebook or Twitter. Happy reading!