C&J Culture

Our Top 10 Summer Reads 2015

What’s our recipe for the perfect holiday read? Not too sad, not too tense, not too trashy, not too serious… There’s got to be just the right depth to romance ratio and, most importantly, be gripping enough to keep you conscious after that extra piña colada (or two).

This elegant story carries you from Paris to Key West through the lens of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives. Although Hemingway himself will always remain an enigma, the novel feels authentic, fresh and human.

Both wonderfully funny and surprisingly touching, Where D'You Go Bernadette was written by an ex- television writer who masters the art of weaving together multiple narratives in a variety of formats: emails, letters, police notes, bills... Despite this variety, the storyline remains tightly focused, engaging and memorable.

Austen once described Pride and Prejudice as, 'rather too light, and bright, and sparkling...' This criticism may well have become its greatest asset: the fervour for Elizabeth and Darcy's love story is almost unique. However, beneath this fairytale element, Austen's sharp wit and shrewd social commentary make for one of the most intelligent and astute novels in the English language.

Where to begin? Love, drama, tragedy, war, one of the world's best loved heroines... Gone With the Wind is an epic page-turner that will whisk you away for hours on end.

Compelling and sensitive, The Song of Achilles entirely transports you to another world: Greece in the age of the heroes. Following the love story of Achilles and Patroclus, the novel transcends its familiar plot-line of the siege of Troy to a fascinating consideration of the psychology of its warriors.

Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning tale develops against the backdrop of a Nigeria caught between independence and civil war. Despite its reflections on the horrors of this history, Half of a Yellow Sun is, at its heart, a complex and powerful story of human love, loss and betrayal.

Don't write off Far From the Madding Crowd just because you've seen the film. Hardy brings a complexity and depth to his characters not captured by cinema, and his mesmerising descriptions of South-West England are unparalleled.

Bright and brittle, The Pursuit of Love dances through the liaisons of the British upper-classes with wicked humour and astute intelligence. Not to be missed.

Sensationalist, romantic, tragic - Anna Karenina is an epic masterpiece that transcends the ages.

Ambitious and highly praised, A Visit From the Goon Squad is a very human portrait of its interweaving characters, as well as an analogy for the emotional and physical scars of post - 9/11 America. Inspired by both Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu and HBO's The Sopranos, the novel's concerns about memory, time and the human connection arise from the relationships between a group of characters connection to the American music scene.