Although the summer is a little far away for me still, as I am currently knee-deep in my MA dissertation and will be for the foreseeable future, I thought it would be a good idea to start planning my summer TBR (if only to procrastinate and look forward to better times)! For any of you who follow me on Instagram @hattieevansbooks, some of these may not come as a surprise…
I’m a real fan of mixing up writing styles and genre between reads, so that each book is distinct in my mind for as long as possible!
1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I’ve heard so many great things about this book! I must admit that I find I take longer to read classic literature than contemporary fiction as it takes me a while to get into the denser writing style, but this novel really appeals to me, with the idea of someone’s past haunting them in the present, and it seems that everyone who has read this novel has LOVED du Maurier’s atmospheric writing, so it’ll be a good gateway back into classic literature. I’m excited to give it a go!
2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
This has been on my TBR for TOO long! I read The Handmaid’s Tale last summer and absolutely loved it; it was so gritty and I adored Atwood’s writing, which I felt was perfectly balanced between descriptive scene-setting, character development, and plot, so I’m excited to get into another novel by her. The Handmaid’s Tale was also made even better by the TV series that came out last year, which I watched as soon as I finished the book, and I plan on doing exactly the same with Alias Grace and its TV counterpart on Netflix!
3. The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
I must admit, I don’t know much about this novel, other than it was recommended to me by a friend, but from what I’ve heard, it is a modern day retelling of Scottish myths and fairytales, with a light yet literary approach. It follows Callanish, a gracekeeper who buries the dead in the depths of the ocean as punishment for a mistake she made long ago, and North, a circus performer with the Excalibur, as their stories intertwine and they begin to hope for a new future. I’m excited to read this, as I’ve not read much in the way of myths and this will be a good way to gently enter into this genre.
4. Larchfield by Polly Clark
I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and love a story based on a historical figure, so this novel is a no-brainer! Following Dora Fielding as she moves to Helensburgh in Scotland and struggles to adapt to her new small-town life, she uncovers the story of W.H. Auden who also lived in the town in the 1930s. It’s a tale of two outsiders finding their way and finding each other. Who’s excited?!
5. Circe by Madeline Miller
I was lucky enough to find a signed copy of this novel in my local Waterstones the other day, which has got me even more eager to read this after seeing it everywhere (and after having had it recommended to me by at least 3 booksellers)! This is another retelling of a myth; it tells the story of Circe, daughter of Titan sun god, Helios and oceanid nymph, Perse, who searches to find her own identity, by standing alone. With themes of feminism and independence, I’m keen to see how Miller ties this all together within her passion for Greek mythology and classics.
6. Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (due to come out in July 2018)
I love a YA novel, and I was lucky enough to receive a proof of this one recently from BKMRK. Grace and Fury tells the tale of two sisters, Serina and Nomi Tessaro, in a world where women have no rights, one living a life of luxury, the other forced to life in prison. It’s been described as The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid’s Tale, which has me HOOKED already!
7. Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson
I originally read this book as part of my English Literature A-Level (way back when) and remember loving it, but have since forgotten much about it, and thankfully, the Feminist Orchestra Bookclub (check it out at: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/182685-the-feminist-orchestra-bookclub)are reading it as their July/August read, so it feels like the perfect time to pick it back up! Part autobiography, part fiction, this book centres around sexuality and gender in a religious setting and the conflict of identity that this brings.
8. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
I LOVE a thriller; I’ve read a fair few in the last couple of years and I’m keen to add this one to the list. A friend of mine has just finished reading this and is desperate to discuss it with someone, so I think I shall have to put this to the top of the pile! In it, we follow Anne and Marco Conti, who go next door for a dinner party, leaving their baby, Cora, at home sleeping, to return to find her missing… what will happen next?
9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Again, this is a novel that I read years ago when studying English Literature. I absolutely love reading about African American history and their people’s fight for freedom in America in the 20thcentury, whether that is fictionalised or non-fiction, and this book fits right into that category. The Color Purple was recently brought back on my radar by fellow bookstagrammer @ab_reads, who read it this year and raved about it, so I’m looking forward to picking it up again and reliving the memories of A-Level!
10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve heard mixed things about this book; some people have adored it; others have found it a bit flat. Either way, I feel like it’s about time I gave it a read; I enjoyed the film, and as a linguist and naturally curious person, I feel like this will be the perfect light summer read to satisfy my cravings for going abroad – either that or it’ll make me want to travel again even more!