Don’t let summer run away from you by grabbing hold of some book must-haves whether by physical copy, if you prefer paperback beautiful covers like myself, or online on a gadget.
This reading list has been curated by the books I am currently looking at reading through the rest of my summer, so it’s more of a “summer reading recommendationslist”.
- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Philosophical, romantic, inspiring. This book is split into intricate parts: Part One- Lightness and Weight, Two- Soul and Body, Three- Words Misunderstood… and Seven- Karenin’s Smile. With a reference to Nietzsche’s ideas and the French Revolution on just the first page, Kundera pens an evoking, culturally influenced narrative on irreconcilable love and betrayals in the midst of spring 1968 Prague. The nature of ‘being’ is addressed throughout the novel, perhaps an influence from twentieth century French philosophy. The narrative following two women and two men in intellectual and artsy Czech society showcases philosophical musings on life and the acceptance of ‘being’.
- Alain de Botton, Essays in Love
I was re-reading this on the flight to and from Athens and constantly kept folding over pages (a bad habit of mine with books) because almost every passage included a relatable moment of realisation from the insightful philosopher and author, Botton. The book is a philosophical one on love, a fiction story where the protagonist (Botton himself) meets his love, Chloe, on a flight as though by fate; yet, this is not a book about fate and destiny or faux-pas love, but it lends a focus to real-life love from the idealisation of a person to scepticism and intimacy. The chapters highlight such under the titles (1) Romantic Fatalism, (2) Idealisation, (16) The Fear of Happiness, (18) Romantic Terrorism, (22) The Jesus Complex etcetera as Botton takes us through a narrative of the beginning of a love story to the start of heartbreak, serving up hard truths and true eureka moments in every section. A must read for philosophy lovers, realists, and funnily enough hopeless romantics too.
- Ted Hughes,Crow (From the Life and Songs of the Crow)
Crowis a collection of poetry from the British poet laureate, Ted Hughes. I personally love the collection I got from Foyles. The 1972 edition includes seven poems that are excluded from the 1970 original release making the copy more so special. Hughes follows the life of a crow that, in his own words, ‘wanders around the universe in search of his female Creator’. If you’re looking for multiplicity, a thoughtful read and musings on life then this is the book for you. A particular favourite, placed in the midst of the book, is the poem Lovesong which maps the passionate infatuation of a couple that takes a drastic turn into something sour and toxic yet ambiguous, with comparisons to Hughes’ own relationships.
- Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
A popular novel based on the romanticism of a young girl from an older man, Humbert Humbert. A tricky concept to narrate perhaps, but Nabokov does it so well. The introductory continues to draw in more and more readers with a description that shows an image of a forbidden passion and attraction from an old college professor to a twelve-year-old. Not necessarily a love story, Nabokov tells a somewhat complicated story of possession and intrigue – one that can’t be missed.
- Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star
I studied this book for one week in a first-year module on Modern World Literature. Lispector is a Brazilian author telling the brief story of a lost soul, Macabea, who resides in the slums of Rio and has hopes of being Marilyn Monroe. The sad part is Macabea is described as the opposite of her dreams: ugly, malnourished, unloved and unwell. The story of just 77 pages, is told through the narrator Rodrigo S.M who observes Macabea from afar after spotting her on the streets of Rio. In telling her story, Rodrigo hopes to improve Macabea’s fate, but with an existentialist underlying it is realised that despite the protagonist’s misery, she is still internally free. (Disclaimer: That wasn’t a spoiler.)
- Keigo Higashino, Journey under theMidnight Sun
So wonderfully descriptive it makes every bit of reading a pleasure. Higashino’s novel is a murder mystery set in Osaka, 1973; however, as someone who doesn’t usually read mystery novels, this isn’t your typical murder narrative. The novel follows Detective Sasagaki and the son of the murder victim over the proceeding twenty years as the case remains unresolved, seeing the detective fall into obsession. If you’re looking to get back into reading and think you’ve lost the enjoyment of words, then this might be the book for you.
By Jill Lupupa