If you are going on holiday this summer, there are some fantastic books on this list to help you get in the spirit of things. If you’re having a staycation instead, then you can have a wonderful imaginative holiday while you relax in the garden, which sometimes I enjoy more than travelling, I must admit! – Rachel
One of the things I like about my enforced move to the countryside is that it has opened me up to experiences I never had as a child in the gritty London ‘burbs. I decided on Sunday that I quite fancied making raspberry lemonade, and rather than a trip to the supermarket, I popped to the local PYO farm and picked my own. Glorious! – Rachel
A Girl Reading, Vanessa Bell
I always enjoy compiling lists of seasonal reads. Here are my top choices for summer books that won’t leave you bored on the plane:
1. Evil Under the Sun, Agatha Christie. The Queen of Crime is always a good choice for easy to read plane or beachside material. This Hercule Poirot story is one of my favourites and a perfect summer choice.
2. My Family and Other Animals, Gerard Durrell. The perfect read to transport you to sunny Corfu and have you laughing out loud along the way.
3. The Expendable Man, Dorothy B Hughes. This thriller set in Arizona is unputdownable (so great for holiday travelling). The descriptions of the sweltering heat add to the charged atmosphere of the novel.
4. Summer Lightning, P.G. Wodehouse. I love a bit of P.G. Wodehouse any time of year, but his lighthearted novels always seem a good summery choice, and this one has the perfect title.
5. My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart. Mary Stewart always evokes a strong sense of place in her writing. Reading this novel has me yearning to go to Greece.
6. My Father’s Glory, Marcel Pagnol. This autobiographical account of a young boy’s summer holiday spent in the Provencal countryside brings the memories of seemingly endless childhood summers vividly back to life.
Do you have favourite reads for summer? If so, I’d love any suggestions! – Miranda
I’ve been compiling some new poetry anthologies to use with our younger students at school next year, and in the course of doing so, was reminded of this wonderful poem that makes me think of the cool respite of the house amidst the blazing heat of a summer’s day. – Rachel
Hesperus are republishing a lovely trio of classic children’s books with their gorgeous trademark covers just in time for the summer holidays. Whether for the children you love, or for yourself, they’d make a wonderful escapist adventure for these long hot summer days of fun and freedom. I can’t wait to read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm myself – it sounds delightful! – Rachel
I am having a wonderful time reading Fair Stood the Wind for France at the moment; I have made a concerted effort to read books about the war this centenary year, and this is both atmospheric and haunting in a rather unique way. Unlike any other war book I’ve read, it’s not set in the trenches, but in rural France, where a pilot is taking refuge with a country family, all the while under threat from discovery by the occupying Germans. It’s absolutely fantastic, and perfect for reading in the garden during these lazy summer evenings. – Rachel
Just like Rachel, warmer weather always makes me turn towards nautical dressing in an effort to look crisp and cool. I seem to add some new striped garment to my wardrobe every summer. This year, I couldn’t resist the above blazer from Zara. The jacket’s pushed up sleeves and asymmetrical cut give a stylish edge to a classic fashion staple. I’ve only worn it once so far, but have already had three people asking where I got it from, and they were amazed when I said Zara. I have a feeling this blazer is going to fast become one of my go-to outfit choices! – Miranda
This looks like the perfect dress for summer holidays spent strolling in the sunshine…now I just need to think of somewhere glamorous to take it! – Rachel