Holiday reads 2022: the best books to escape with this summer

From sun-soaked romances to the most gripping crime and thriller books, here are the very best 2022 holiday reads across every genre.

01/07/2022
9 minutes to read
 Book covers of Young Mungo, Soul Sisters and Intro the Dark, against the background of a beach shoreline

Whether summer 2022 is all about staycations, lazy long weekends and days spent in the garden, or the chance to spread your wings and venture further afield once more – we've carefully curated our edit of the best books to take with you. From immersive literary reads to self-help classics, chilling thrillers to feel-good stories of friendship, here are the best holiday reads of 2022 to add to your packing list.


Feel-good fiction and romantic holiday reads

If you like your summer reads with a feel-good factor or a large helping of romance, try one of these brand new novels.

Owner of a Lonely Heart

by Eva Carter

Book cover for Owner of a Lonely Heart

Gemma is petrified about slowing down, because she'd have to face how lonely she is since she lost the love of her life. Her days are crammed with work and taking her dog, Bear, to visit young patients at the local hospital. Dan is the life and soul of the party, but he’s sure that if people find out what he’s done, everything will dissolve. And Casey is Dan’s twelve-year-old daughter – though they hardly know each other. She’s starting four weeks of treatment for a benign tumour, and thinks the summer might be her last. When the three meet one hot July, the connection is instant. Fate – and a little scruffy terrier – have brought them together, but do they have the courage to connect?

Soul Sisters

by Lesley Lokko

Book cover for Soul Sisters

Scottish Jen McFadden and South African-born uKwemisa Mashabane, known as Kemi, have lived like sisters in Edinburgh, bound by ties of friendship and by their shared family history. In London, the friends meet aspiring South African politician Solam Matsunyane, and both are swept off their feet. Kemi decides to return to her birth country, and Jen comes too. Solam meanwhile is looking for a wife to help further his political career. The lifelong bond between Kemi and Jen is threatened by Solam's impending choice, and by the explosive secrets of their own shared past.

One Good Thing

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for One Good Thing

Liv Brooks is in shock at the turn her life has taken. She has just got divorced and her life feels unsteady when she swaps London life for the Yorkshire Dales, trying to start life afresh. But new starts can be tricky, and lonesome Liv adopts Harry, an ageing dog from a local shelter. Walking round the village with Harry, Liv encounters others who need a new start too, from a lonely old man called Valentine to fearful child Stanley and angry teen Maya. This funny, honest and heart-tugging tale is about having the courage to turn life around and find new meanings.

Single Bald Female

by Laura Price

Book cover for Single Bald Female

At the point of turning thirty, Jessica Jackson has everything in place: a job, a great boyfriend and a snug London flat they share with their cat. Then a sudden diagnosis of breast cancer causes Jess's world to implode. As friends move forward with baby scans and weddings, Jess feels alone and left behind. And then she mets Annabel, a mysterious young woman with incurable cancer. Annabel may not have long left to live, but she wants to show Jess how it's possible to make every day meaningful.

How to Save a Life

by Eva Carter

Book cover for How to Save a Life

It’s nearly midnight on the eve of the millennium when eighteen-year-old Joel’s heart stops. A school friend, Kerry, performs CPR for almost twenty exhausting minutes, ultimately saving Joel’s life, while her best friend Tim freezes, unable to help. That moment of life and death changes the course of all three lives over the next two decades: each time Kerry, Joel and Tim believe they’ve found love, discovered their vocation, or simply moved on, their lives collide again.

The Missing Sister

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for The Missing Sister

The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister? They only have one clue – an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe – from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland – uniting them all in their mission to complete their family at last.

Discover our guide to Lucinda Riley's internationally bestselling Seven Sisters books in order, here.

A Very French Wedding

by Maeve Haran

Book cover for A Very French Wedding

Steph, Jo and Meredith have been friends since school. Their lives have all taken very different paths across the years, but when Meredith buys a romantic château in an idyllic village in the Dordogne she finds she can’t do it alone – so who better to enlist for help than her two old friends? Together they hope to bring the château back to life and create the most romantic wedding venue in France. And it seems that the nearby village of Bratenac has much more to offer than sun, wine and delicious French food when a handsome chef and his equally charming son, a vigneron from New Zealand, not to mention the local ladies’ luncheon club and a British bulldog named Nelly all join the party.

An Almost Perfect Holiday

by Lucy Diamond

Book cover for An Almost Perfect Holiday

It’s time for the summer holidays, and in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. Three women have planned what they hope will be the perfect getaways, but not everything goes quite to plan.

Em has planned a holiday with her new boyfriend Greg, but with their children coming along, can their romance survive? Maggie is hoping a holiday will help fix her relationship with her daughter, but then her ex turns up out of the blue . . . And Olivia is looking for an escape, but the past always catches up with her. Will this holiday be a scorcher, or just too hot to handle?


Historical fiction holiday reads

Travel back in time, from Victorian London to the Blitz, with riveting historical fiction which is sure to keep you spellbound whether at home or away.

The Last Summer

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Last Summer

Spirited Effie Gillies has always lived on the little Scottish island of St Kilda. When the island is visited by Lord Sholto, heir of the Earl of Dumfries, sparks fly between him and Effie. She shows the handsome stranger her island for a week, and then a storm hits and shatters her world. Three months later, and the islanders are being evacuated. Effie is offered a position on the Earl's estate, and now the differences between them seem impossible, especially when a terrible secret is uncovered back on the island. Based on the true story of St Kilda, this novel takes the reader back to both island life and high society in the 1930s.

Devotion

by Hannah Kent

Book cover for Devotion

It's Prussia, in 1836. Fourteen year old Hanne is longing for nature and the outdoors, as the world of womanhood begins to close around her. Then she meets Thea, and discovers what it is to have a kindred spirit. Her family are Old Lutherans who have to worship in secret, their community under threat. So when they are given safe passage to Australia, it seems seems prayers have been answered. But the journey will have huge consequences for Hanne and Thea, who form a bond too strong for even nature to shatter.

The Attic Child

by Lola Jaye

Book cover for The Attic Child

It's 1907, and twelve-year-old Celestine is locked in the attic of a house by the sea. He has been forcibly removed from his home in Africa and is treated as a servant. He dreams of home and family, even as his mother's face, and his real name, begin to fade. Decades later a young orphan girl is banished to the same attic. Under the floorboards she finds mysterious artefacts, and on a wall there is a sentence etched in a language she does not recognise. What she does recognise though, is that she is not the first child to be held captive in the attic. This dual-narrative tale of love, loss and family secrets shines a light on the early Black British experience. 

Circus of Wonders

by Elizabeth Macneal

Book cover for Circus of Wonders

Circus of Wonders is the eagerly-awaited second novel from Elizabeth Macneal, author of the Sunday Times bestselling debut The Doll Factory. In 1866, in a coastal village in southern England, Nell lives outside of her community, marked as different for the birthmarks that speckle her skin. But her life is turned upside down when her father decides to sell her to Jasper Jupiter's travelling Circus of Wonders. Yet, the greatest betrayal of Nell's life may soon become the best thing that has ever happened to her as she finds friendship and belonging with the other performers. But as Nell's fame grows, will she be able to keep control of her own story?

The Dance Tree

by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book cover for The Dance Tree

Strasbourg, 1518. In the intense summer heat a solitary woman starts to dance in the main square. She dances alone for days without rest, but soon she is joined by hundreds of other women. 

The city authorities declare a state of emergency, and bring in musicians to play the devil out of the dancing women. Meanwhile, pregnant Lisbet who lives at the edge of the city is tending to the family's bees, but as the dancing plague intensifies she is drawn into a net of secret passions and deceptions. 

Inspired by true events, this is a compelling story of superstition, transformative change and women pushed to their limits.

Emily Noble's Disgrace

by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Book cover for Emily Noble's Disgrace

In a derelict Edinburgh boarding house, trauma cleaner Essie Pound makes a gruesome discovery. Together with Emily Noble, a young policewoman with her own reasons for solving the case, Essie embarks on a journey into the heart of a forgotten family. But as the two women delve into the past, they also discover fragments of their own traumatic histories.

The third novel from award-winning Mary Paulson-Ellis and a homage to the streets of Edinburgh, the many secrets of Emily Noble's Disgrace will keep you gripped all summer. 

The Secret of The Lake

by Liz Trenow

Book cover for The Secret of The Lake

The war may be over, but for Molly life is still in turmoil. Uprooted from London after the death of her mother, Molly, her father and younger brother Jimmy are starting again in a quiet village in the countryside of Colchester. As summer sets in, the heat is almost as oppressive as the village gossip. Molly dreams of becoming a journalist, finding a voice in the world, but most of the time must act as Jimmy’s carer. At just ten years old he is Molly’s shadow, following her around the village as she falls under the spell of local boy Kit. Kit is clever, funny and a natural-born rebel. Rowing on the waters of the lake with him becomes Molly’s escape from domestic duty. But there is something Kit is not telling Molly.

The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah

Book cover for The Nightingale

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women. This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women’s stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Yours Cheerfully

by AJ Pearce

Book cover for Yours Cheerfully

From the author of Sunday Times Bestseller, Dear Mrs Bird, comes a much hoped-for follow up, Yours Cheerfully. Charming, heart-warming and hilarious, Yours Cheerfully is just the tonic we've all been waiting for. Following the departure of the formidable Editor, Henrietta Bird, from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, is still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, but bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

The Mercies

by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book cover for The Mercies

When the men of Vardø are all but wiped out in a devastating storm, the surviving women have no choice but to fend for themselves. But as the women grow increasingly independent, suspicions and rivalries grow, coming to a dangerous head with the arrival of Scottish commissioner Absalom Cornet. The Mercies is based on the true story of a devastating storm that hit the Norwegian island of Vardø in 1617 and the subsequent witch trials of 1621. Available now in hardback, and in paperback from July 8th.


Crime & thriller books to read on holiday

Escape into a gripping new thriller or crime novel this summer. Here are the books that are sure to keep you on the edge of your sunbed.

The Murders at Fleat House

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for The Murders at Fleat House

When a pupil suddenly dies at an exclusive boarding school in deepest Norfolk, the headmaster is keen to brand it a tragic accident. But the local police are not so sure, and Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter returns to the force to investigate. Together with trusty sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed universe of the school. And as Jazz begins to probe Charlie Cavendish’s unsettling demise, things take a deeply troubling turn . . .

State of Terror

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Book cover for State of Terror

This gripping and acclaimed international political thriller was co-written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th US secretary of state, and Louise Penny, an award-winning New York Times bestselling novelist. Take your seat in the knife-edge world of international politics . . . A new government has just been sworn in, and secretary of state Ellen Adams is intent on serving her country. But a shocking global threat is on the horizon, in the form of a terrorist organisation that is devastating Europe. Ellen looks back at the former president's damaging impact on international affairs. Was he worse than ineffectual? Could he have been a traitor?

The Choice

by Penny Hancock

Book cover for The Choice

A long-lost daughter. A grandson who has disappeared. And a mother facing an impossible decision. Renee Gulliver seems to have a gilded life, with a beautiful coastal home, a great career as a therapist, three adult children and an adored grandson, Xavier. But Xavier disappears when Renee fails to pick him up from school, and Renee's life and relationships fall  apart. Ostracised by family, clients and community, can she ever put her life back together again?

The Vacation

by John Marrs

Book cover for The Vacation

How far would you go to get away from your past? Venice Beach in LA is heaven on earth, with tourists galore flocking to the ocean and Hollywood promise. But for eight strangers staying at a beach-front hostel, a holiday is not the first thing on their minds. All of them are on the run, and all have secrets they would murder to keep. The Vacation is a gripping, holiday-set thriller from John Marrs, who wrote The One, now a Netflix Original Series – it was longlisted for the 2022 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. 

Into the Dark

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for Into the Dark

The kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, but the house is deserted . . . 

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words: Make Them Stop.

In a gorgeous Art Deco home looking out to the bay of Midtown-on-Sea, a terrible crime has come to light. An entire family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children – has vanished. Cue the arrival of DS Saul Anguish, a brilliant detective with a difficult past. As he begins to untangle the painful story of the disappearance, he must face his own demons.

Left You Dead

by Peter James

Book cover for Left You Dead

Left You Dead is the latest installment in Peter James's award-winning crime fiction series starring DS Roy Grace, now a major TV series starring John Simm. Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home. But this Sunday ends differently – as while Niall waits in the car park for Eden to finish shopping, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her. Eden is gone without a trace.

Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder, but when DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . . Discover the other Roy Grace books in order.

When I Was Ten

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for When I Was Ten

Dr Richard Carter and his wife were murdered in what was one of the most infamous double murders of the modern age. Their daughter, ten-year-old Sara Carter, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit for the crime, and is now living a quiet life under an assumed name.  with a family of her own. On the anniversary of the crime, journalist Brinley Booth is tasked with tracking down Sara and her older sister Shannon. But Brinley isn’t just a journalist – she’s also the sisters’ childhood friend. And confronting what really happened on the night of the murders will have consequences for them all. This is another gripping read from thriller writer Fiona Cummins.

The Imposter

by Anna Wharton

Book cover for The Imposter

The Imposter – Anna Wharton's debut thriller – is a compelling story of obsession, loneliness and lies. Newspaper archivist Chloe lives a quiet life until one day at work she reads about the long-forgotten cold case of Angie Kyle, a girl who went missing as a child. When an unexpected turn of events finds her living as a lodger in Angie's parents' house, Chloe soon learns that the case of the missing girl is not as simple as it first seemed and becomes obsessed with finding out the truth.   

Fragile

by Sarah Hilary

Book cover for Fragile

Fragile is a modern Gothic psychological thriller with a contemporary twist on the classic novel Rebecca, from award-winning and critically acclaimed writer Sarah Hilary.

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.

Magma

by Thora Hjörleifsdóttir

Book cover for Magma

This poetic novel, translated from Icelandic, explores the dark side of desire. Twenty-year old Lilja has fallen for an elegant intellectual older man. But he is also a narcissist and a manipulator. Blinded to his faults, and desperate to explain away his behaviour, she accepts his infidelity and machinations. Lilja is unable to escape this toxicity, until an ultimatum forces the issue, and she can choose whether to be free.

The Hiding Place

by Jenny Quintana

Book cover for The Hiding Place

This tense mystery from Jenny Quintana is a must-read for thriller fans. Marina was adopted as a baby after she was found wrapped in a blue shawl in a shared house in London. The press nicknamed her Baby Blue, but the circumstances around her birth are still unknown.  Marina longs to uncover the truth about her birth, so when a flat in the house where she was found is put up for rent, she seizes her chance.  But what if it's not just the house hiding secrets? What if someone knows what happened that day,  and wants to make sure the truth never comes to light?

If I Can't Have You

by Charlotte Levin

Book cover for If I Can't Have You

Constance Little has met the one, and she’s sure he feels the same. They have to keep things quiet as he’s a doctor at the GP surgery where she works but there’s no doubt in Constance’s mind that this is happily ever after. So when Samuel starts to seem less sure, Constance knows she must do everything she can to hold onto love. This devastating novel will have you rooting for Constance even as you start to fear how far she will really go.



Holiday reads that are full of intrigue

The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings

by Joanna Nadin

Book cover for The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings

It's 1988 in Pencalenick, Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Jason wants more from his existence than a job at his father's pub. So when twins Daisy and Bea and their circle give him a view of a more glamorous life, he decides to become part of it. Daisy is the sun they all revolve around, and when they get too close they are burned: by summer's end one of the group has died. Thirty years later in Camberwell, acclaimed actress Daisy Hemmings decides to write her autobiography, with ghost writer James Tate. His genius is to tell other's stories, just has he has invented his own. But what happens when truth and lies, past and present collide? 

The Love of My Life

by Rosie Walsh

Book cover for The Love of My Life

Emma is crazy about her husband Leo and their little daughter Ruby. She would do anything to keep them close. But there is just one problem: nearly everything she has told them about herself is a lie. It's a lie she might have kept hidden, except for her husband's job. He writes obituaries, and she is an acclaimed marine biologist. When Emma becomes seriously ill, Leo copes by reading and writing about her life. Only to discover that she isn't the woman he knew. Even her name is a fiction . . .

The Paris Secret

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Paris Secret

In a cobbled back street in Paris an apartment sleeps, full of dust and thick with secrets, including astonishing artworks that have been stashed away for decades. Successful art agent Flora is called in from London to assess the treasure trove and begins to trace their long history and mysterious concealment. Thrown in with the glamorous Vermeil family, Flora begins to suspect there are more secrets to be discovered, as brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on closing her out of his family's affairs. Meanwhile, her family life back home is thrown into chaos, distracting Flora from the heady world of art and beauty . . .

Out Of Her Depth

by Lizzy Barber

Book cover for Out Of Her Depth

Rachel is a modest young woman from a sleepy London suburb. She has a summer job at the stunning Villa Medici in the Tuscan hills, surrounded by hedonistic teenagers, whose partying goes too far one night. This is a simmering summer thriller about teenage antics on the edge of reason, with more than a dash of Patricia Highsmith in its tense unfolding.



Fantasy holiday reads for the ultimate escape

If you can't get away from it all in a literal sense, make your escape in the form of some fantasy reading.

Black Water Sister

by Zen Cho

Book cover for Black Water Sister

Publishing in paperback this year and heralded as what might be 'Zen Cho's best work yet', Black Water Sister should shoot to the top of your TBR pile if you're looking to get into fantasy books but not quite sure where to start. Mischievous and bittersweet, this Malaysian-set novel is a tale of family, ghosts and local gods.

Broke, jobless and just graduated, Jessamyn is abandoning America to return ‘home’. But as she packs to return to Malaysia, a country she hasn't seen since she was a toddler, she starts to hear a bossy voice in her mind . . . Jess soon learns that the voice belongs to her late grandmother Ah Ma who in life, and apparently in death, worships a local deity, the Black Water Sister.

When a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge, and she isn't afraid to blackmail her granddaughter into helping her to make mischief. As Jess fights to retain control, she is drawn even deeper into a world of peril and family secrets.

The Library of the Dead

by T. L. Huchu

Book cover for The Library of the Dead

When Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker, earning a living by carrying messages from the dead to the living, it seemed harmless enough. But then the dead begin whispering about someone who is bewitching children and leaving them joyless husks. When Ropa starts investigating she needs to draw on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. And what she finds will change her world forever . . . This magical fantasy book is the first in the Edinburgh Nights series. 

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone. Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden. 


Non-fiction holiday reads

Here we list some non-fiction books to ground you on those long summer holiday days, including a major study of black British history.

Empire of Pain

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for Empire of Pain

A masterpiece of narrative reporting that the Washington Post described as 'one of the most anticipated books of this spring', Empire of Pain is the story of three generations of the Sackler family, and their role in the stories of Valium and Oxycontin . . .

One of the richest families in the world, the Sacklers are known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that they were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.

This is the secret history of the Sackler dynasty.

Stronger

by Poorna Bell

Book cover for Stronger

Poorna Bell’s journey to get strong began when – following the death of her husband, Rob – she realized that she had been relying on the men in her life to take out the bins, carry the luggage and move furniture. Poorna is now a competitive amateur power-lifter and the strongest she has ever been. This inspiring non-fiction book is part memoir and part manifesto, starting a conversation about women’s mental and physical strength and fitness which has nothing to do with weight loss. 

Fake Law

by The Secret Barrister

Book cover for Fake Law

Many of us think the law is only relevant to criminals, but in fact it affects every area of our lives. Being unfamiliar with the law makes us susceptible to media spin, political lies and misinformation, allowing the powerful to corrupt justice without our knowledge. In Fake Law the Secret Barrister reveals the stupidity, malice and incompetence behind some of the biggest legal stories, building a defence of our law that is both entertaining and vitally important. 

Black and British

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British

In his award-winning book Black and British, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga examines how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, in Black and British shows how black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

Bad Blood

by John Carreyrou

Book cover for Bad Blood

How far can you get with no expertise, technology that doesn’t work, and an extraordinary sales pitch? Disturbingly far. Bad Blood is the story of one of the biggest corporate fraud cases of the 21st century. Journalist John Carreyrou explores the rise and shocking fall of tech start-up Theranos, which was valued at $9 billion based on its innovative medical technology before it was all revealed to be a lie.

Read everything you need to know about the Theranos scandal.


Literary holiday reads

Holidays are the perfect time to become engrossed in a long book or to allow yourself to be transported to a different time and place by an immersive novel. These literary books will certainly fit the bill.

Young Mungo

by Douglas Stuart

Book cover for Young Mungo

The extraordinary, powerful second novel from the Booker prize-winning author of Shuggie BainYoung Mungo is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

Trust

by Hernan Diaz

Book cover for Trust

Everyone in 1920s New York knows of Benjamin and Helen Rask, the Wall Street tycoon and the daughter of bohemian aristocrats. They live in a sphere of untold wealth, but what is the true cost of their fortune? This mystery sits at the heart of Bonds, a bestselling 1938 novel that all of New York has read. But, like all stories, there are different perspectives, and Hernan Diaz puts these different narratives into conversation with each other, in a novel that tracks across a century and documents the truth-bending power of money, with provocative revelations at each turn. 

Catch the Rabbit

by Lana Bastašic

Book cover for Catch the Rabbit

Sara hasn't seen or heard from her childhood best-friend, Lejla, in years. She's comfortable with her life in Dublin, with her partner, their avocado plant, and their naturist neighbour. But when Lejla calls and demands she come home to Bosnia, Sara finds that she can't say no. What begins as a road trip becomes a journey through the past, as the two women set off to find Armin, Lejla's brother who disappeared towards the end of the Bosnian War. Presumed dead by everyone else, only Lejla and Sara believed Armin was still alive.

Summerwater

by Sarah Moss

Book cover for Summerwater

This devastating novel from the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall is set over twenty-four hours as the guests of a faded Scottish cabin park wait out the rain on the longest day of the year. With little else to do, twelve people sit cooped up with their families, watching the other residents. Slowly, one family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, begin to draw attention and tensions begin to rise as tragedy looms. Summerwater is a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty and a literary must-read in these divided times.

Read Sarah Moss and her editor discussing  Summerwater, Brexit anxieties and the strangeness of holidays

Luster

by Raven Leilani

Book cover for Luster

Raven Leilani is a funny and original new voice in literary fiction. Her razor-sharp yet surprisingly tender debut is an essential novel about what it means to be young now. Edie is messing up her life, and no one seems to care. Then she meets Eric, who is white, middle-aged and comes with a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. And as if life wasn’t hard enough, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s family. 

Shuggie Bain

by Douglas Stuart

Book cover for Shuggie Bain

Published in paperback this year, Douglas Stuart’s blistering, Booker Prize-winning debut is a heartbreaking story which lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty and the limits of love. 

Set in a poverty-stricken Glasgow in the early 1980s, Agnes Bain has always dreamed of greater things, but when her husband abandons her she finds herself trapped in a decimated mining town with her three children, and descends deeper and deeper into drink. Her son Shuggie tries to help her long after her other children have fled, but he too must abandon her to save himself. Shuggie is different, fastidious and fussy, and he is picked on by the local children and condemned by adults as 'no’ right’. But he believes that if he tries his hardest he can be like other boys and escape this hopeless place.


Self-care holiday reads

Holidays are the perfect opportunity to take some time for ourselves. These inspiring and educational self-help books make inspiring holiday reads. 

The Kindness Method

by Shahroo Izadi

Book cover for The Kindness Method

In these difficult times, we could all benefit from showing ourselves a little kindness. If you want to use this time to make a change, Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi believes there’s only one way to make change last, and that’s to be kind to yourself. The Kindness Method was developed through a combination of professional training and personal experience and will leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to make a change, whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on alcohol or improving your relationships.

Here, Shahroo shares five ways to be kinder to yourself today. 

The Book of Hope

by Jonny Benjamin

Book cover for The Book of Hope

From the best advice you’ll ever get to the joy of crisps, the 101 brilliant contributors to The Book of Hope will help you to find hope whenever you need it most. Award-winning mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin, MBE, and co-editor Britt Pflüger bring together people from all walks of life – actors, musicians, athletes, psychologists and activists – to share what gives them hope.

These 101 key voices in the field of mental health, from the likes of Lemn Sissay, Dame Kelly Holmes, Frank Turner and Zoe Sugg, to Joe Tracini, Elizabeth Day, Hussain Manawer and Joe Wicks, share not only their experiences with anxiety, psychosis, panic attacks and more, but also what helps them when they are feeling low. This joyful collection is a supportive hand to anyone looking to find light on a dark day and shows that, no matter what you may be going through, you are not alone.

That Little Voice In Your Head

by Mo Gawdat

Book cover for That Little Voice In Your Head

Mo Gawdat's That Little Voice in Your Head is a practical guide to rewiring your brain for joy. He reveals that by talking down the negative voice within, we can change the way we think, turn greed into kindness, transform apathy into compassionate action and create our own happiness. Gawdat's brain exercises draw on his experience as a former Google engineer and Chief Business Officer, as well as from his neuroscience studies. And he explains how – despite their complexity – our brains generally behave in predictable ways. Drawing inspiration from the life of his late son, Gawdat has written a manual for happiness that is steeped in empathy.