The Best Summer Reads of 2014

Nothing defines a summer more than the memory of a good book. The ability to be swept away to another world, another family or another lifestyle without leaving the comfort of your deck chair is a seduction few of us don’t revel in. It’s an opportunity to experience and learn from someone else, whether it’s a critically acclaimed novel, a 1,000 page romp, or the chilling page turner. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a book on a summer’s day. Our Best Books of Summer is a great place to start if you are looking for something to fold up with in your deckchair.   We’ve managed to confine our selection to just 12 books that we think has something for everyone, regardless of your genre preference.

  The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey M.R. Carey’s emotionally charged, innovative thriller, The Girl With All the Gifts, is set in a world overrun by zombies. We see the world through Melanie’s eyes, a young girl who lives in an underground military base with other children her age. They are kept in strict isolation, and only see each other during lessons. But there is something very different about these kids; something very sinister. Because when they smell human flesh they revert into feral monsters. Our Social Media and Community Manager Sarah Hill thought it was “agonizing at times, but also fun and tantalizing… Carey takes no time at all getting the reader emotionally involved. I fell easily into his trap and am happy about it.” 

California by Edan LepuckiCalifornia by Edan Lepucki Lepucki’s debut presents a dystopian future where Cal and Frida flee what used to be Los Angeles as they desperately seek to make a life for their unborn child in the wilderness.

How far will we go to protect the ones we love?

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham ClintonHard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton “All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Hillary Rodham Clinton writes at the start of her long-awaited personal chronicle of years at the center of world events. “Life is about making such choices. Our choices and how we handle them shape the people we become.” In Hard Choices the former Secretary of State explores the challenges she faced in office and explains how those experiences have shaped her view on the future. The Farm by Tom Rob SmithThe Farm by Tom Rob Smith The author of Child 44 returns with this gripping and emotional thriller; a son caught between his warring parents, and the unwilling judge and jury of his mother as she recounts a tale of secrets, of lies, and criminal conspiracy that implicates his father. Our Editorial Manager Simon McDonald, said “the pace never lulls. Not a single sentence is wasted. Author Tom Rob Smith demonstrates his literary finesse, weaving a complex tale with brilliant discipline. This is a perfect thriller that doesn’t rely on end-of-world scenarios and hyperbolic threats. It is about relationships, and how ultimately capricious they are: the kind of notion that’s sure to keep you up at night.” The Mockingbird Next Door - Life with Harper Lee by Marja MillsThe Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills Marja Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Harper Lee when she moved into the house next door. She spent the next eighteen months there, and gradually fostered a friendship, delving into a variety of subjects, including the most prominent of all: why did Harper Lee choose to never write another novel? A must-read for literary enthusiasts. Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee BurkeWayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke Dubbed ‘America’s best novelist’ by The Denver Post, Wayfaring Stranger is James Lee Burke writing at the top of his game. This sprawling historical novel is set in the decade before, and the years after, World War II, where a confrontation with Bonnie and Clyde in his youth has deep and long-lasting ramifications on Weldon Avery Holland as he enters the oil business with his wartime sergeant. Suncoast reviewed Wayfaring Stranger, noting that it is “Written by a master storyteller … remarkable and atmospheric … as always, James Lee Burke’s descriptive prose is outstanding.”

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki MurakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami Following on from the success of IQ84, this book sold more than a million copies in its first week on sale in Japan. It spotlights Tsukuru, a train station engineer, who is compelled to re-examine his past after his girlfriend suggests he reconnect with a group of friends from high school. What follows is the coming-to-terms of buried emotions and missed opportunities.

Big Little Lies by Liane MoriartyBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty From the author of The Husband’s Secret (“her finest book to date,” according to 1girl2manybooks) comes a thought-provoking novel that explores the reality of parenting and playground politics.

What really goes on behind closed suburban doors?

Lost for Words - A Novel by Edward St. AubynLost for Words: A Novel by Edward St. Aubyn St Aubyn’s witty satirization of a British literary prize proves both entertaining and thought-provoking as it questions how we can ever hope to recognize real talent in our celebrity-obsessed culture, where everyone has their own agenda.

Winner of the 2014 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction

This One Summer by Jillian TamakiThis One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki From two creators with literary clout comes a gorgeous, heart-breaking, and ultimately hopeful graphic novel about summer friends Rose and Windy, whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis.

Close Your Eyes - Frog MusicClose Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian & Frog Music by Emma Donoghue We tossed around whether to include Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands over Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music. It was a tough choice but in the end Bohjalian’s story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, won. Not because we thought it was a better book but because we thought our readers might not have come across Bohjalian, in which case they will be in for a treat.

My Struggle - 3 BooksMy Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard We simply had to include this as one of our best summer reads of the year, and it’s the one that we see as the outlier. Hailed as the next Proust, this six volume, 3,600 page autobiographical novel is a tour de force that is intense, honest and totally addictive. It has sold more than 450,000 copies in northern Europe. Volumes 1-3 are available now in English.

The Silkworm by Robert GalbraithThe Silkworm by Robert Galbraith Writing under her pseudonym, J.K. Rowling’s first Comoran Strike novel was lavished with praise when its author’s true identity was revealed. This follow-up will no doubt hit the world by storm, and will be a page-turner shared by many over Summer.

  You will no doubt have your own suggestions and we would love to hear them so don’t forget to review your favorites and send us your suggestions. Enjoy the summer!