Light Holiday Reads Perfect for Summer

Even those with the most highbrow-tastes enjoy a light read during the summer months. Kick back and be inspired to travel with Jules Verne.

May 2020 • Jules Verne

Light Holiday Reads Perfect for Summer

Whether you usually enjoy dipping into Eat, Pray, Love or War and Peace, the summer is the perfect time to explore holiday novels with a lighter touch. The publishing industry knows this and usually there’s a deluge of fluffy holiday reading material available at bookshops across the country. In fact, sometimes there’s so much available that it’s hard to choose the best of the bunch. This is why we’ve created our guide to the best summer reads, focusing on novels set in wonderful holiday locations.

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother's childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor--someone, or something, to love.

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

An exhilarating saga of the Vikings that conjures a brutal, superstitious, and thrilling ninth-century world and the birth of a kingdom--the debut installment in a historical literary trilogy that combines the bold imagination and sweeping narrative power of Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Outlander.

Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi

A novel set in Tuscany during the magical years when thousands of businesses blossomed, manufacturing objects for everyday life as well-made and beautiful as the Renaissance art that inspired them.

Where the Light Falls by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki

Featuring cameos from legendary figures such as Robespierre, Louis XVI, and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Where the Light Falls is an epic and engrossing novel, moving from the streets and courtrooms of Paris to Napoleon's epic march across the burning sands of Egypt. With vivid detail and imagery, the Patakis capture the hearts and minds of the citizens of France fighting for truth above all, and for their belief in a cause greater than themselves.

Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin

From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.

Assassins in Athens by Jeffry Siger

When the body of a boy from one of Greece's most prominent families turns up in a dumpster in one of Athens' worst neighbourhoods, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis of the Greek Police's Special Crimes Division is certain there's a message in the murder. But who sent it and why? Andreas' search for answers takes him deep into the sordid, criminal side of Athens nightlife and then to the glittering world of Athens society where age-old frictions between old and new money breed jealousy, murder, revenge, revolutionaries, and some very dangerous truths.

The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco by Richard Hamilton

Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco's ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in the Jemaa el Fna, the legendary square of the city, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. 

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel García Márquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendía family and of Macondo, the town they built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and its miracles. A microcosm of Colombian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book, and only Aureliano Buendía can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny.

Foreign Bodies by Martin Edwards

Today, translated crime fiction is in vogue - but this was not always the case. A century before Scandi noir, writers across Europe and beyond were publishing detective stories of high quality. Often these did not appear in English and they have been known only by a small number of experts. This is the first ever collection of classic crime in translation from the golden age of the genre in the 20th century.

Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire by Simon Winchester

In 1985, Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire travelled 100,000 miles back and forth from Antarctica to the Caribbean to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling and often amusing reading.

The White Spider & Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

A classic of mountaineering literature, this is the story of the harrowing first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, the most legendary and terrifying climb in history.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Touching the Void is the heart-stopping account of Joe Simpson's terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes. He and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that that Joe was dead.