This list is my personal one. As much as I enjoy young adult fiction, the summer break means I don’t have to read as much of it and can enjoy a few indulgences. These are the books I am going to read, re-read or that I read last summer and now recommend to you:
1. Shall we Dance? by Maggie Alderson.
I read this last summer and it was divine. Maggie Alderson weaves the romantic world of vintage fashion into the modern world of motherhood and relationships. I loved this book so much it deliberately takes first place at the top of the list.
2. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
This is wrapped and waiting under the tree for me. It’s P.D James appropriating the characters of Pride and Prejudice to create a classic murder mystery, set in 1803.
3. The Shadow Girl by John Larkin
I had to put one young adult fiction on the list. Read my review of this wonderful book here.
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
It’s time to re-read this in preparation for Baz Luhrmann’s movie in 2012. I last read Gatsby in 1986, so it’s definitely time for a re-visit.
5. All that I Am by Anna Funder
This is another one on my summer wish list. I have read numerous glowing reviews of Anna Funder’s first novel, which has been compared to Suite Franҫaise and The Reader.
6. Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without Monica McInerney. For twenty years she has moved between Australia and Ireland, working as a writer and producing best-selling novels. I secretly covet her life.
7. How Now, Brown Frau by Merridy Eastman
This is the third memoir by Merridy Eastman, following There’s a Bear in There and Ridiculous Expectations. This one caught my interest as it recounts Merridy’s move to Bavaria to begin a new life with her German fiancé. Having lived in Bavaria for a short time as a teenager, I knew I would connect with Merridy’s experiences. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy her humour and wit so much.
8. Worse Things Happen at Sea by William McInnes and Sarah Watt.
Part biography, part love story, this is a poignant collection of reminiscences. Sarah Watt, the celebrated filmmaker, died from breast cancer earlier this year. For this reason alone, the book is somewhat confronting, but it is also a powerful salute to the vitality of the human spirit and the beauty of love.
9. Emma by Jane Austen
I re-read an Austen every year, and this year it’s Emma’s turn.
10. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich.
What can I say? Stephanie Plum, Lulu and Grandma Mazur just make me laugh.