We’re all geared up for summer here at 4th Estate so we’ve put together a list of book we’ll be reading during our time off as well as recommendations of some other great reads, that we think should definitely be included in your holiday book bag.
Lettice Franklin – Assistant Commissioning Editor
‘Readers searching for a blissful summer novel, look no further’. These are not my words, there are a reviewer’s, but I could not agree more. Standard Deviation is a total delight – a novel about who, why and how we love, about the challenges of a good marriage, the joy and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken. I’ve sat next to friends and family reading it on deckchairs and howling with laughter, and fully believe that no carry-on bag should be without it.
The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn
I idly turned over the first page of a copy of Never Mind on a friend’s table one Saturday morning, planning to kill a few minutes and then get on with my life. This didn’t happen. I read the rest of the novel almost nonstop, a reading experience unlike any other I’ve had. I bought the second the next day so I could gobble that down too. I can’t wait to settle down with the last two this summer.
Lottie Fyfe – Project Editor
My summer holiday read this year has to be Elizabeth Day’s The Party, which follows perennial outsider Martin Gilmour from his scholarship days at private school, to Cambridge and the upper echelons of English society. Though he struggles to fit in, he is drawn to popular and beguiling Ben Fitzmaurice, and as the two become friends, Martin discovers a secret about Ben that will tie them together. But, years later, as Ben’s 40th birthday party unfolds amid glamour and champagne, Martin realises just how far Ben will go to keep the truth hidden. A glitzy tale of intrigue, high society, friendship, the secrets of a marriage and unrequited love, this is a perfect read for the sun-lounger.
The book I’m taking on holiday is How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. Haig has a knack for tackling matters of the heart and mind in original, touching ways. His latest novel is about a 439-year-old history teacher who has a rare condition called anageria, meaning that he ages 15 times more slowly than normal. He is guided by a secret society of fellow anagerics who provide him with a new identity every eight years and whose main rule, in return for staying alive, is this: don’t fall in love. Simple…
Matt Clacher – Marketing Director
This summer, I’m desperate to find some time to read Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman. The book weaves together hundreds of voices from over two hundred original interviews to tell the story of the rebirth of rock and roll in New York City in the early 2000s. The Strokes, James Murphy, Vampire Weekend, The National. All the gossip. The extract on Vulture was JUICY.
If you’re long hauling it this summer, or are planning some serious beach time, take C.E. Morgan’s Bailey’s Prize shortlisted epic The Sport of Kings with you. The virtuosity of her writing is grounded by the power of her storytelling. It’s a one of kind book.
Naomi Mantin – Publicity Manager
I recently went on a long weekend with my mum where, like everyone else I know, I resolutely refused to check in baggage despite being a chronic over-packer. The fresh, unadulterated horror of having to limit my toiletries to one bag of 100ml bottles and forgo 9 extra pairs of socks never gets any easier, so I wanted a small, light and beautiful book to wedge in my bulging suitcase. I went for When in French by Lauren Collins (which just came out in paperback) and I am so very glad I did. Lauren’s sharply observed memoir on learning to articulate love in a second language is refreshing and painfully funny; I found myself totally captivated by her brilliant musings on the power of words and her experiences of juggling English and French in her relationship, all interspersed with fascinating sections on the history of language and how they intersect with her own life. I love this book, and I urge you to pop it in your hand luggage so you can too. You won’t even need to sacrifice a single sock to accommodate it.
Another I’m really looking forward to reading is Marlena by Julie Buntin, which I have been seeing everywhere and has incredible endorsements. I’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover, and the pop of blue and yellow on this looks frankly good enough to eat. Add in the comparison to Ferrante, the combination of female relationships, a vivid sense of place and a dark story of loss and addiction and I’m absolutely sold.
Tara Al-Azzawi – Senior Marketing Manager
I could not bring myself to stop reading, get off my beach towel and into the ocean (vicious roaring waves and freezing water had nothing to do with it).
First published in 2002, this was brought to my attention by the amazing @archedeyebrow on instagram. It follows Flannery, a student at an East Coast university who falls for an older graduate student called Anne. It is smart, sexy and I was totally enthralled – we so rarely encounter love stories outside the heteronormative, particularly those that feature women. The best news is that the sequel – Pages for Her – is out now so I can happily extend my reclusiveness a bit longer.
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