Summer’s all about finding a good book, a nice patch of sun, and relaxing. Well that and a few other things, but either way the library loves curling up with a good book.
Here’s a list of the favourite books of members of library staff including some great beach reads and airport novels. Enjoy.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
“I loved a bit of this. Adam’s world is total escapism, very readable on grass, sand or airport lounge.”
Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone
“A brilliant book that explores so much of what makes us what we are. A revelation.”
In Parenthesis by David Jones
“One of the greatest works to come out of the twentieth century. A densely wrought masterpiece that rewards several re-readings. :)”
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“What’s not to like about Jane? She gets stuff done and she does not let herself be cowed: “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.””
Life on air: Memoir’s of a broadcaster by David Attenborough
Catherine says, “I am engrossed in this. I’m listening to it as an audio book and just lurvve his voice, but his journey is so engaging and so much more than the animal documentaries we all know and love.”
On The Beach by Nevil Shute
Lynn is a big fan of this. She says “More of a nuclear summer? I read this at a young age. Characters carried on regardless in the sweltering heat as I realised, to my horror, they were all doomed. Scarier than any Pan Book of Horror!”
Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey
“It’s set in Sydney in Australia in the late 70’s and is about a group of teenagers ‘coming of age’. It’s not really my favourite book, but it and the movie always give me a good laugh for being so cheesy and kitsch.”
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
“Entertaining but informs the reader of the culture of the times and the history of partition.”
Catherine says this “is my handbook for life. It gives me wisdom, encouragement, inspiration and words of love that lift my spirit. It is always in my mind and heart and never far from my hand.”
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Alex loves this book. He says it’s “a great mystery with some wonderful characters. Engrossing.”
The Neapolitan by Elena Ferrante
Catie recommends reading these books this summer. She says “they don’t all take place in the summertime, but in Book 2, most of it takes place on a beach in Italy. It’s scandalous, salacious and influences all subsequent books.”
The portrait of the Artist as a young man by James Joyce
“Portrait was challenging conventional ways of writing and long held beliefs and traditions. As an aspiring artist in those days, that’s what I wanted to do as well. “
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
“It’s about the love and friendship between a girl and her artist grandmother while they spend the summer together on the Swedish archipelago. It’s about freedom, nature and death and is beautifully written.”
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This book sums up summer reading for Samantha. “A beautiful coming of age story about a literary young woman in privileged yet difficult circumstances falling in love, and choosing not to lose her head. It’s wonderfully written, the characters are captivating, and you get a lovely sense of endless English summer.
“I confess it also reminds me of my teenage summers in the countryside, especially as a friend had a very similar house. We had cars though, which did make the meeting of suitable and unsuitable boys much easier! (Dodie Smith also wrote another much more famous work: 101 Dalmations.)”
The Waste Land by TS Eliot
“It’s got so many literary illusions – you could DEDICATE your whole life to studying it.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“The atmosphere of a sleepy Southern town; you just get so sucked in. Kids looking for an adventure over the summer. Compelling, moving and very easy to read.”
VALIS by Philip K Dick
“PKD at his best. It got everything: libraries, mind expansion and the grail myth. A real stonker of a book”.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Fanfic before there was even an internet to be a fanperson on? This book “expands and presents a very different view of Jane Eyre, illuminating it with the dark side of the British Empire”.
Anything by MJ Arlidge
One member of staff said he got into these books after they were recommended to him by Director of Library Services.
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
Chosen twice. One member of staff said he likes it because it reminds him of a year spent in Paris and the South of France which he described as “smashing”. Another member of staff said “I just remember a lot of it being on a beach and it was quite evocative”.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
“Eleanor of Aquitaine was the baddasserest queen to ever badass. She married two kings and birthed two more, and outlived all but one, always making sure to run her own Aquitinian estates perfectly whilst fighting off all sorts of ne’erdo wells and having five equally badass daughters. She shaped the 12th century, and with it, western Europe.”
What do you think of our recommendations? Have we missed anything? Tell us in the comments below.