Summer Reads

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question initially looks like it could be quite easy. “What is the most ‘summery’ book you can think of… the one that captures the essence of summer for you?” Now I instantly started thinking ‘oh dear’ as summer to some may mean a tale of passion on the sand-dunes of Marbella, there is nothing wrong with that is just isn’t very me and wouldn’t be my list of chosen books for the summer. Though actually Alex’s Garland’s ‘The Beach’ is a good beach read funnily enough. (Please note on Booking Through Thursday it does say that ideal ‘beach reading’ is not quite what it’s about.) So then I had to think of what summer means to me.

First and foremost it means hay fever, but I don’t think as yet there has been a book written about some dreadful hay fever that takes over the world. Maybe I should write one? The other thing that summer of course brings is heat and is also something I am not a huge fan of, I like sitting in the shade most of the summer reading under tree’s I am not really a sunbathing boy, ironic as I married a Brazilian and they very much are. I am getting better though.

So I started to think of my favourite summers and those would either be in my childhood in the wooded hills of the peak district and some of Britain’s most beautiful views or my holidays to Greece with the stunning water, medium heat and hours of swimming. And it was that that made me start to think of probably what I would say is my most summery read which would be ‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop, which even has a summery cover. If you haven’t read it, and I would recommend it, the blurb might urge you on…

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more. Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga — Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…

Ok so it’s got harrowing parts with regard to the lepers, but it’s a great summery read in all other aspects. Mind you looking forward and at what I have at the top of the TBR pile most of my summer is going to involve tales of woe, war and love lost. In fact from what I gather her new book ‘The Return’ (which I will soon be reading) is meant to be quite a summery read set in Spain. Maybe I am just not a ‘summery’ reader properly. Oh actually the book I reviewed yesterday ‘Breath’ by Tim Winton is in a very summery surrounding… with a very dark end, I just can’t do full on summery! What ‘summery’ book should I try and read while we have a heat wave? Which books will you be reading this summer?

Oooh and another favour, at the moment I am at home with a bug, so maybe that’s not helping me feel summery either. However all things well and good I am going to be spending the weekend here…

Now it’s not for a holiday, as I will actually be at Petworth for a charity event that they are doing where I am a volunteer, but it has made me think that while I am feeling rubbish at home trying to get better for it, and possibly to read while I am there, what are the best books that have a wonderful big spooky sort of stately home like Petworth in? As its always nice to have a book on the go that matches your setting. All recommendations welcome, so that’s summery books and spooky stately home books, I look forward to your thoughts.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Summer Reads

  1. I am at home with a bug too 😦

    I think you’ve answered the question most correctly so far 🙂

    I’ve heard of The Island but never thought of reading it before.

    You might want to read books set in haunted villas in Petworth, although I can’t think of anything this moment. How about Rebecca, you might have read it already 🙂

    • I have read Rebecca it is actually one of my favourite books of all time! I am going to have a think about haunted tales of mystery mansions for the rest of the day.

  2. My wife suffers terribly from hay fever so I sympathise. Doesn’t put you in the mood for reading, either.

  3. Dot

    I loved The Island, it’s such a good book! I chose To Kill a Mockingbird as my summer read. Excited to see that you are reading Daphne, I loved it, looking forward to reading your review. Hope that you feel better soon!

    • Oh To Kill A Mockingbird is fantastic, good choice, will pop by and comment shortly! The Island is great have heard mixed views on The Return but planning on reading that very soon! As for Daphne am only a little way in but already fairly sure its going to be a favourite! Isn’t it nice now my current reads are showing, makes me much happier – how sad am I?

  4. I read The Return last summer and found it both summery and enjoyable.
    As for a favourite summery read … I need to give this some thought; I am also giving much thought to my summer reading list and will blog about it soon.

    A recently read book, albeit not read in summer, which was very evocative of summer was Love Falls by Esther Freud. I intend to read one of her other books, aptly entitled, Summer at Gaglow, this summer.
    I also recently read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, which didn’t entirely work for me – it was good but not memorable enough.

    • You are the third person in a week who has recommended me Esther Freud, I am definately going to have to give her a whirl!

      I am glad that The Return has had another positive review as I am hoping it lives up to its predecessor!!!

  5. I’ve never heard of Hislop. The Book sounds good, I’ll have to look into it. Here’s my pick: http://eclecticbookhoarder.blogspot.com/2009/06/booking-through-thursday-hot.html

  6. SFP

    I think one of the reasons I initially fell in love with Howards End was because Margaret and Helen were so over-the-top in their concern for their brother because he had HAY FEVER. People just make fun of me, and count my sneezes, and claim if I sneeze x-number of times in a row that I’ll die.

    Anyway, summer reminds me of childhood, too, and I chose a book that reminds me of an aspect of that childhood.

  7. I never knew there was hay fever in Howards End – you learn something new everyday! How interesting! I get hay fever awfully so feel your pain.

  8. This author sounds interesting. Like the premise. Gotta check it out!

    Heatwave reading

  9. The Seance by John Harwood is a good spooky read. You might not want to go wandering in the corridors at night if you try it though!

  10. That’s interesting that you mention thinking of your childhood summers, because that is what I instantly thought of, too. Except that instead of book that mirrored my childhood summers, I thought about books my Mom read to me in the summer. She’s a teacher, so summers were special in that she had more time to spend with me, and a great deal of that was spent reading. The books that came to mind for me were Little Women, The Indian in the Cupboard, and the Chronicles of Narnia.

    • Oh I hadnt thought about books that I was read in my childhood. I think it was mainly fairy tales and the worst witch! Maybe the picnics in the Famous Five with ‘lashings of ginger beer’ are very summery!

  11. I found myself perusing this chick lit type of summer romance novel. Ha! Never says never! It’s called Sceneic Route.

    For me summer is usually the time when I read a lot of mysteries.

    Now I’m very tempted by The Island because I’ve been watching over and over Mama Mia for the sceneries in Greece.

    • If you like the scenery of Mama Mia then this could indeed be the book for you! I think I’m one of a very few people who loathed that film!
      How interesting you read mysteries in summer! I find crime and mysteries always appeal more in the winter and those long dark nights. I love finding out the different ways we all read and what and when and why!

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