Reading list

12 incredible books to read on your summer holidays

From captivating thrillers to remixed classics, here are 12 of the biggest books of the year destined to be your perfect holiday companion.

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Homo Deus

by Yuval Noah Harari


Think science isn’t for you? Think again. In this page-turner, Harari translates complicated ideas into easy-to-follow thinking. In his first book, Sapiens, the author chronicled the history of mankind. In Homo Deus he turns his attention to the future, using a blend of philosophy, science and history to look at the forces that might change humanity’s fate in the years and decades to come. Covering war, famine, immortality and more, this book offers a fascinating look ahead at some of the big questions facing us in the future.

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Munich

by Robert Harris


If you love a twisting, surprising historical thriller, then Munich is the book to make your summer. In September 1938, Hitler’s determination to start a war and Chamberlain’s desperation to preserve the peace come to a head at a meeting in Munich. In Munich, Harris focuses on German diplomat Paul Hartmann, a member of the anti-Hitler resistance, and Hugh Legat, one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries, who were friends as students at Oxford. In a world where the stakes are high, both men are keen to protect secrets of their own.

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New Boy

by Tracy Chevalier


This retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello transplants the action to 1970s suburban Washington, where a young black boy, Osei Kokote, starts at a new school and is befriended by pretty, popular Dee - a connection that angers some other pupils. As the story unfolds over the course of a day, Chevalier tackles racism and prejudice with a deft hand, and has you racing through her nail-bitingly tense novel to reach its devastating conclusion. New Boy is an absorbing and thought-provoking summer read.

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The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage

by Philip Pullman


Coming 20 years after his Northern Lights series, La Belle Sauvage is the first novel in Pullman’s The Book of Dust series. Young hero Malcolm Polstead and his daemon Asta live in a pub near Oxford. When danger threatens, he must deliver baby Lyra to safety battling floods and a villain so chilling he'll be on your mind for weeks. Sure, this is technically a children’s book, but it’s for anyone who loves a great piece of world-building and a story of good and evil. The audiobook, read by actor Michael Sheen, is a particularly good choice for your summer road trip.

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Into The Water

by Paula Hawkins


The follow-up to the uber-successful The Girl on the Train is as much of a page-turner as Hawkins’ debut. After the death of her sister Nel, Jules heads back to the small community she grew up in, and it soon becomes clear there is more to the tragedy than she first thought. Told through multiple perspectives, this is one for readers who love to search for clues in their books.

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The Midnight Line

by Lee Child


Jack Reacher spots a class ring from US Military Academy West Point in a pawn shop in a small Midwestern town. Knowing from experience what the owner of the ring went through to get it, he embarks on a quest to Wyoming to track down the ring’s owner and find out why she decided to give it up. If she’s okay, he’ll walk away, but if she’s not, Reacher will stop at nothing to make things right. This is the 22nd book in the Jack Reacher series, and as compelling as those that came before. Even if you haven’t read any Reacher before, don’t worry – this is the perfect entry point.

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

by Arundhati Roy


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
is an absorbing novel perfect for readers who love immersive fiction that spans many years and locations. This astonishingly vast book transports you through Old Delhi, the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of central India, where we meet a remarkable cast of characters, all navigating one of the most turbulent conflicts of the 20th century. Until the release of this novel, Roy had published just one fiction book - The God of Small Things - and this new novel is certainly worth the 20 year wait.

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Artemis

by Andy Weir


Love an out-of-this-world story full of captivating characters? Here’s the book for you, from the author of The Martian, which inspired the film starring Matt Damon. Artemis, the first city on the moon, has a population of 2000. Among its residents is the criminal Jazz Bashara, who subsidises her life as a porter by smuggling contraband to the moon. When she’s offered the chance to make a lot of money, Jazz jumps at the opportunity, despite the serious danger involved.

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The Break

by Marian Keyes

 

If you’re after a funny, witty, wise and warm book to escape with, then Marian Keyes has everything you need. In The Break, Amy’s husband Hugh decides he needs six months to find himself. He’s not breaking up with her, just taking himself to South East Asia for half a year – away from Amy, their children and their life together. But six months is a long time, and a lot can change. Because if Hugh is on a break, then so is Amy. This entertaining story of a woman finding herself is filled with fun and emotion.

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Mythos

by Stephen Fry

 

The Greek myths have been part of western storytelling for hundreds of years – and for good reason. They’re full of desire and fighting, deceit and love. In Mythos, Fry retells the stories of the Greek gods and goddesses, beings who could change the fates of any human on a whim, but who also had their own share of problems. Among the stories retold are those of Persephone’s journey into Hades’ underworld, Prometheus’ punishment for his betrayal of Zeus, and the birth of the goddess Athena. If you’re looking for a book to dip in and out of on your summer excursions, this is the one for you. Better still, pick up the audio edition, read by Stephen Fry in his wonderful honeyed tones.

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Exit West

by Mohsin Hamid


This award-winning novel is at its heart a moving love story, but set in extraordinary circumstances. Nadia and Saeed meet and fall quickly in love. But when civil war threatens their country, they make the decision to leave their home forever, making their escape through one of the mysterious doors that are springing up around the world. This is a story about falling in and out of love, and trying to find somewhere to call home. Along with its protagonists, you’ll find yourself transported to another country in the space of a few paragraphs.

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