reading a book on the beach in summer

10 unforgettable books to dive into this summer

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From enticing beach reads to thrilling page-turners, get ready to surrender to these captivating reads

Whether you’re on a hot beach with a cocktail in hand or in the garden with a cup of tea, it doesn’t get better than lounging in the sun with a great book. And there’s been no shortage of gripping new releases this spring to get us ready for summer. From modern romances and murder mysteries to intimate memoirs from global icons, here are seven must-read books for a summer of mesmerising stories.

You Are Here, David Nicholls

What better book to lose yourself in than one about getting lost? From the author of global sensation One Day, David Nicholls’ newest page-turner is just as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching. You Are Here tracks the fated paths of wayward souls Marnie and Michael, one reeling from loneliness and one grieving a loss. Thrust together in one of Nicholls’ signature charming British romcoms, this is a story of love, self-discovery and long walks. After being emotionally floored by the One Day book, film and Netflix series, I’m approaching this one somewhat cautiously, but expecting another novel that’ll be hard to forget.

David Nicholls summer reading listt
You Are Here, Sceptre


James, Percival Everett

If you’ve seen Oscar-winning film American Fiction, you’ll already be familiar with the formidable satire and twinkling wit of Percival Everett. The film was adapted from Everett’s novel Erasure, after he gained recognition for being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize for his 2022 novel The Trees. In James, he delivers a harrowing reimagining of Mark Twain’s 19th-century river odyssey The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, told from the perspective of the enslaved Jim. While maintaining many of the narrative components of the original story, this masterful retelling serves as an earnest provocation to the audience to examine and acknowledge the mystifying power of storytelling.

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Percival Everett summer reading list
James, Mantle


Mongrel, Hanako Footman

The highly anticipated first book from Hanako Footman, Mongrel has been hailed as “the most captivating debut novel of 2024” by Three Women author Lisa Taddeo. Released in February 2024, Mongrel interweaves the lives of Mei, Yuki and Haruka. After losing her Japanese mother at age six, Mei grapples with love, friendship and heritage in suburban Surrey. Yuki leaves the Japanese countryside to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist in London, only to become embroiled in the charms of both an unfamiliar city and older teacher. A hostess in Tokyo’s sex district, Haruka navigates grief and secrets amid the city’s nightlife and all its many vices. A spellbinding story of desire, isolation and belonging, Mongrel is undeniably a book to get lost in.

Hanako Footman summer reading list
Mongrel, Footnote Press


The Pisces, Melissa Broder

I read this book in the gloriously hot summer of 2020 and have returned to it every summer since. Now synonymous with the season, each year Melissa Broder’s The Pisces transports me to the glistening heat of Venice Beach, where procrastinating PhD student Lucy is dog-sitting for the summer. An enticing plea from narrator to reader, the book charts Lucy’s entrancing discovery of an attractive late-night ocean swimmer — and the lengths she’ll go to chase this beguiling figure. Renowned for her bold, mind-stirring work, Melissa masterfully blends sharp wit and unchecked desire — The Pisces is a florid satire you won’t be able to put down.


The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir, RuPaul

Internationally renowned drag queen, TV personality and author RuPaul unveils his most raw and revealing work yet. Known to most as the enigmatic superstar host of award-winning drag and performance reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul turns his unerring eye inwards and unearths his own history. From examining his experience of growing up poor, black and queer to understanding complex relationships — and those that have healed him — this memoir is a characteristically fearless account of how he became the global icon he is today.

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RuPaul Summer reading list
The House of Hidden Meanings, Fourth Estate


The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality, Amanda Montell

Amanda Montell is obsessed with human behaviour. Author of bestselling book Cultish and hit podcast Sounds Like a Cult, she returns to probe the modern epidemic of ‘magical thinking’ — the belief that our internal thoughts can affect (or manifest) unrelated events in the physical world. With her trademark humour and perspicacity, Montell investigates — at great pain to her own psyche — whether our cognitive biases and coping mechanisms are a vain attempt to restore order in an increasingly chaotic and fast-paced world. She also asks — have we lost the ability to reason? One for all the anxious thinkers, The Age of Magical Overthinking attempts to give us that which we seem unable give ourselves — a moment to breathe.


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The Fury, Alex Michaelides

What better time to immerse yourself in a five-act mystery thriller than on holiday? An instant bestseller from the author of The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides’ The Fury is yet another sharp and concise murder mystery. A reclusive former film star throws an exclusive party for friends and family on a small private island in Greece. Despite the idyllic setting, something is amiss. Less than 48 hours into the trip a body is found. With the police unable to reach the island until morning, it’s down to the island’s guests to figure out who the murderer might be.

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Alex Michaelides summer reading list
The Fury, Michael Joseph


Faebound, Saara El-Arifi

The first book in a new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Final Strife, Faebound is an intoxicating fantasy tale of desire and loyalty. Yeeran is a warrior in the elven army, while her sister, Lettle, is a diviner, seeking prophecies for a better future. Yeeran makes a catastrophic mistake that leads to her exile from the Elven Lands. As the sisters attempt to survive in the borderless wilderness, they encounter the long-lost Fae court. Engulfed by a new world of seduction, influence and desire, Yeeran and Lettle must choose between love, each other and their elven homeland.

Saara El-Arifi summer reading list
Faebound, HarperVoyager


The Mother of All Things, Alexis Landau

Alexis Landau’s latest release seamlessly intertwines Greek mythology with contemporary storytelling. Fans of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint or Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes will be sure to devour this book, as Alexis similarly makes use of ancient Greco-Roman traditions to explore what it means to be a woman. The Mother of All Things touches on a myriad of topics, but particularly evokes the fragility of mother and daughter relationships while exploring the trials and tribulations of being a young woman in today’s world. It’s truly a beautiful interpretation of womanhood, and the seductive mythic female narrative combined with its warm and hazy setting makes it a great read for summer.


The Bee Sting, Paul Murray

During the summer months, we often flee from the stress of our everyday lives, seeking peace and quiet on faraway beaches. Paul Murray’s tense new family saga urges you to take some of the chaos with you. The novel follows the Barnes family as they deal with the emotional and practical fallout of financial ruin, while also grappling with the devastating and destructive events in the small Irish town they live in. Fraught and sharp, The Bee Sting cautiously pivots around the truth, as Murray visits each family member’s perspective of the same events. The result is a seductive investigation into one family’s entangled past and the lies that hold them together.

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