Summer has finally arrived in Belgium! The summer vacation has officially started and the temperatures are rising to a lovely 30 degrees Celsius. Time to get out your pools, suncream and floating animals. If you are anything like me you probably want some good literature to go with that mojito as you are relaxing by the pool or sunbathing in your garden.
Originally I was going to talk about 5 books that are perfect to read in summer, but since I couldn’t possibly only pick five, I went for 7 (which is already a small number when choosing from so many wonderful books!) novels which you definitely must read this holiday. Two of them I have already read, the other ones are still on my own never-ending to-read list.
This book is the amazing debut of Yaa Gyasi and the winner of both the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel. It’s understandable that I had high hopes and they were fulfilled from the first line onwards. After reading the first paragraphs I couldn’t lay the book aside: You are immediately sucked into the story of two half-sisters Effia and Esi, so alike but living in very different situations, unaware of each other. The novel transports you through different countries and different eras while it follows the descendants of both women for 8 generations. I have always liked reading a story from different points of view, so the switch in focalization in each chapter was really pleasing to me. The detailed descriptions of the situations and the colourful vocabulary make it easy to imagine as though everything happens to you. Who needs a holiday abroad when you can travel so many destinations in a book?!
This is the perfect ending to the Louisa Clark trilogy. You probably already heard from the bestseller ‘Me before you’ which was turned into a movie starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, about Lou and Will, a pair of star-crossed lovers. Later, Jojo Moyes wrote ‘After you’ following the captivating Lou in her further life. If you haven’t already read those two: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! In ‘Still me’ we follow Lou in a new adventure. Despite being in a relationship, she is moving to America to work for a rich family and she gets a look into the world of the upper class of New York. There, Lou discovers a whole new side of herself. One that she tries to identify with the old Lou. This is a story about a brave young girl who is finding out who- the- hell she actually is and as a reader you are only to enjoy the ride. I cried and I laughed reading this novel and I finished it in only one day. It’s so recognizable as a youngster trying to find your own way into the mess that is reality and it is catching how Moyes can lay her finger on some of the problems of adolescents nowadays. I’m definitely going to miss Lou in my life!
This novel is as exotic as the name suggests. It talks about Mokhtar, who is raised by Yemeni immigrant parents in San Francisco. When he goes back to his roots to rediscover the ancient art of Yemeni coffee, he gets caught in a civil war and tries to escape the country with his coffee samples intact. This is an exciting story with a lot of adventure and thrilling moments, but also a heartwarming tale about heritage, dreams and passion. I can’t wait to dive into this bestseller, with a good cup of coffee of course. 😉
Next on my list is the prose debut of Caoilinn Hughes, an award-winning Irish poet. Although the cover of the book might not be so attractive (brr, that many wasps!), both the summary as the reviews sound promising. Gael Foess, an ambitious young lady, experiences how her family falls apart after the economic crisis and her father loses his job. She tries to keep them together earning money in the smudgy underground scenes in London and later in the gallery scene in Manhattan. However, the harder she tries, the more she seems to drift away from her family. Covering the different themes anyone experiences growing up, it seems like a wonderful coming-of-age novel which contains some important life-lessons not only for Gael but for the reader also.
‘Florida’ is a collection of short stories, of which I am a great fan. This way you can take a plunge into your pool every other story. 😉 The stories have nothing in common, except for the city of Florida which creeps in one way or another. On the back of this beautiful edition it says it is about “the moments that make us alive”. This attracted my attention immediately because well.. those are the moments we all live for, no?
The following novel that I have been wanting to read for a while now is ‘Eleanor Elephant is completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. When reading the title alone you’d expect this book to be funny and it definitely makes you turn the book around to read to summary. Only to discover that the theme was one I could identify with very well. Because Eleanor lives her life, without really living: she survives. She has everything, but still she feels like sometimes everything is missing. I think that this is a very common feeling among millenials and talking about this in an open, funny way is so important!
The last – but not really – of my (never-ending) list is this novel about an Iranian young woman called Zebra, who is trying to retrace the steps of the flight of her family to America in order to get inspired and write a literary masterpiece. Zebra takes you with her on her worldly and mental travels. To finish off: a book about books. Just because literature is love, literature is life.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that I sparked the relish to read one of the novels! When you read one of the books above or if you have other recommendation that I have to check out, be sure to let me know!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. However because of my personal connection to the owner of Naboekov, I was able to collaborate with my favourite book store!