You're back from holiday and it sucks. Fear not. Here are five books to help you pretend you're still on holiday
We’ve heard a terrible rumour that the summer is almost over. We are trying very hard to ignore this awful news. We’re reading books that can conjure up sticky-hot summer days and breezy, carefree nights. Or ones that whisk us away to foreign lands we may have never visited but hope to one day. We strongly advise you to do the same. These books will help you pretend you’re still on holiday.
The Lemon Grove, by Helen Walsh
If ever a book captured a hot, sexy summer it’s this. It’s the story of Jenn who, while on holiday in Mallorca with dependable husband Greg and step-daughter Emma, starts lusting after a beautiful boy called Nathan. Who happens to be aged 17. And her step-daughter’s boyfriend. Yeah, told you it was good. As well as the sexy stuff, there are some gorgeous passages where Walsh describes the salty sea, the dramatic coastline and the breath-taking beauty of the surrounding area. But mostly read it for the sexy stuff.
Circling The Sun, by Paula McLain
Author of much-acclaimed book about Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley (The Paris Wife), McLain does it again in her new book, where she mixes fact with fiction. This love/adventure story is based in colonial Kenya. It’s based on true life events of Beryl Markham (born Clutterbuck – yes, really) who went on to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic from east to west. Aged just 16, and reeling from her mother’s death, the wealthy Beryl marries unwisely. What follows is a passion for horses, life and a certain amount of bed-hopping. A remarkable story of a remarkable woman – perfect escapism.
A Room With A View, by E M Forster
Set in Florence, Rome and England this tells the story of Edwardian Lucy Honeychurch who’s touring Italy with her strict older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte. It’s basically a love story but, with a surname like Honeychurch, you just know that Lucy is going to give the men a real run for their money before deciding what she really wants. Full of people kissing people they shouldn’t, inappropriate engagements and lots of repressed sexuality, it’s a winner on every level.
Helen Bonham Carter was perfect in the Merhcant Ivory film version of the book. If you love Italy, you’ll love this.
Swimming Home, by Deborah Levy
Say hello to Kitty Finch, a woman with green-painted fingernails who appears at a Nice holiday villa one day and – by doing very little – manages to rip relationships apart. The family and friends who are gathered there for their annual break all start to interact with her their own way and, soon, their lives unravel dramatically. A slim, beautiful book – if you love fiction to make you think, this is for you. Levy’s prose is gorgeous.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Want something set further afield? Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto is a real treat. Sakurai, a young student whose grandmother has just died, spends her nights sleeping on the kitchen floor, thinking about her loss. Until her friend Yuichi invites her to live with him and his transsexual mother. An uplifting, sweet book, it was written almost 20 years ago but still has a surprisingly modern feel. And, hey, anyone called Banana gets our vote.