Summer Reads: Authors Choose Their Favourites
From a thriller writer’s personal memoir to classic post-war drama, from a mystery set in Stalinist Russia to an hilarious farce set in Greece, these writers choose their best reads of the summer.
C.C. Humphreys, whose new novel Shakespeare’s Rebel brings Elizabethan England to vivid life:
Three Men in New Suits by J.B Priestley
‘I was acting (my other job!) in a period TV movie this month, on location cruising on a luxury motor yacht. There were prop books around. I picked up J. B. Priestley’s ‘Three Men in New Suits’ and was hooked. Published in 1945 it beautifully captures three returning soldiers from different classes, the world they found, the world they wanted to make after six years at war. Marvellous evocation of a period and a mindset that shaped my parents, and so me.
Skios by Michael Frayn
‘The novel I devoured in one bite on a flight from London to Vancouver was Michael Frayn’s ‘Skios’. A superbly constructed farce, set on a Greek island and involving multiplying layers of confusion about sex and academia, I was worried that I would keep my fellow passengers awake with my guffaws.’
Imogen Robertson, the author of The Paris Winter, which explores a darker side of the Belle Epoque:
Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
I read this when I was 18 and I don’t think I’ve ever got over it. It’s a witty and poignant coming of age story and brilliantly written. We spend the summer with Art as he struggles to find his way through his tangled relationships with his two lovers and his gangster father.
Elin Hilderbrand, the author of Beautiful Day, a summery escape to Nantucket where a wedding weekend sparks trouble for both families.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This is my number one recommendation for summer 2013, and the book is out in paperback, perfect for toting along in the beach bag. This novel is utterly original, about a teenage girl, Bee, and her parents living in the world of “Microsoft Seattle, “ and dealing with a rather strenuous private school environment. Much of the narrative is told through traded emails, most of which will make you laugh out loud. The novel really gets going when Bee’s mother, Bernadette Fox, disappears to parts unknown after her secret past is revealed, and Bee goes in search of her. This novel is both heartwrenching and incredibly funny, a real page turner, 100 per cent money back guarantee, you will love and overlove it!