For me, one of the very best things about holidays – aside from the sun-soaked evenings, warmer weather and temporary removal from reality – is the opportunity to spend huge chunks of my day reading. When I was growing up, my sisters and I would spend much of our six-week summer holidays at my Grandpa Peter’s villa in Spain, and I used to rejoice at the opportunity of packing a suitcase-full of books, and do little else but read, swim, sunbathe and indulge in cone after cone of the local ice-cream of an evening.
And while these days my holidays are rarely as long, and seldom as relaxing, reading nevertheless remains a priority for me. When I went travelling aged 19, about a third of my backpack was taken up with books, so fearful I was that I’d run out of reading material – little did I know that from deepest darkest India, to the streets of Koh San Road books were passed on by those before me in abundance.
And while I’ve grown to love a wealth of the literary greats – from Dickens to Du Maurier and beyond – there’s a time and a place for reading such a genre, and my personal favourite is on a winter’s morning with a strong cup of tea and a grey, stormy sky outside.
When it comes to summer reads, however, there’s nothing better than a book that take you to a faraway land you’re yet to explore; whether a sweltering Majorcan village, or the hot Hungarian summers of Emylia Hall’s debut. The following six are, for me, summer reads at their finest. Go forth and read!
2. The Beach