Summer Reading: Part 1



I once tried to read Orhan Pamuk’s Snow on holiday in Southern Italy. In August. It was too hot to move. All I could do was lie in the shade and, when that got too much, cool off by jumping into the swimming pool. Yet my holiday reading was set in a Turkish city in the grip of a mighty blizzard.

I now know better. The best summer reading needs some kind of seasonal link. Here are a few of my tried and tested favourite summer fictions, each read several times. Not for children, these are strictly grown-up fare. I don’t really do ‘lite’, even in the highest temperatures.


Godf On The Rocks by Jane GardamGod On The Rocks – Jane Gardam (1978)

An English seaside town between the wars. Love and lust and religion, duty and – quite frankly – madness all boil over, fuelled by the endless summer heat. Inimitable Gardam.



Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver (2000)

A familiar Kingsolver theme – humans’ interactions with nature and each other, positive or destructive, always complicated. Moths, coyotes, apples, bees, love and death, all observed throughout a lush season.


The Go-Between – L P Hartley (1953)Julie Christie in The Go-Between

Hot hot hot. Tension ratchets up as the temperature keeps rising in Hartley’s classic story of a child caught up in adult manoeuvres.

A Room With A View – E M Forster (1908)

This awkward love story never fails me. And for once the film version did not spoil my imaginings, but added pictures and a Puccini sound track. There’s also a wicked lady novelist!


Part 2 of Summer Reading will look at novels which look at people on their summer holidays. Reader, know thyself.

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