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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Summer Reading – Books to Take on Holiday

By Zoe Doyle, Lauren Jones, Ana Matute, Amy Wright and Sam Chambers

As we are approaching peak summer holiday season, this issue we are recommending our top reads that you should sneak into your suitcase.

The Only One Left by Riley Sager

This one is for those who want something dark and sinister to read this summer. A deliciously gothic tale, The Only One Left is set in 1983 when Kit, a caregiver, heads to the cliffside home of Lenora Hope to look after her. Lenora, a woman accused of murdering her family in the 1920s, is mute following a stroke and now communicates via her typewriter. When she offers to share with Kit the details of the massacre, Kit begins to suspect that this frail woman may be more dangerous than she thought. The creepy, decaying mansion perched on the cliff tops where secrets have festered for decades makes for a highly atmospheric and chilling setting. The suspense never dissipates and instead builds throughout the various twists and turns. This one will definitely have you up at night trying to figure out what really happened.

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

A gentle narrative that is easy to pick up and put down as you please, Early Morning Riser is an artful tale of a woman bumbling through life’s trials and tribulations. It’s a classic tale of girl meets boy – except it’s never quite that simple. Between Duncan’s devotion to his best friend Jimmy and overly friendly interactions with his ex-wife and every other woman in town, Jane is all too aware that a relationship with Duncan comes with strings attached.

Heiny’s evident effort in creating flawed and genuine characters has paid off, and the result is a pleasantly steady narrative that gives you the chance to get to know and love all the characters, but not at the expense of the story. Themes of friendship and love balance out tinges of sadness to produce a stunning book that we wish had lasted much longer.

Sea Garden by Hilda Doolittle

There is a special feeling you get during summer when you can rest in nature, lying on the sand and listening to the sea, and Hilda Doolittle’s soft and delicate poetry manages to capture this feeling – alongside the beautiful, the bitter and the real facets of nature. Amongst the imagist poets of the twentieth century, H.D. reflects on specific images and rethinks female vulnerability in this anthology.

Sea Garden is a unique book which explores the daily things composing life. As H.D. wrote, “Though we wander about,/ find no honey of flowers in this waste,/ is our task the less sweet—/ who recall the old splendour,/ await the new beauty of cities?” (Cities). Here the objects and instances themselves have multiple meanings that let us feel as if we were contemplating life with H.D., seeing all the small details and their weight.

None of This Is Serious by Catherine Prasifka

For many people who have just finished school or university, the summer can be an exciting time which promises new beginnings and new opportunities. However, it can also be a time of uncertainty. Uncertainty is a huge theme in None of This Is Serious, in which the protagonist, Sophie, feels left behind as her university friends begin to find new jobs and move away from Dublin. It feels as though everyone else has their life planned out, and Sophie is constantly overshadowed by her popular and successful twin sister. This book is highly relatable for anyone who has finished education and is unsure what to do next, as well as being an interesting exploration of internet culture and social media. I would recommend None of This Is Serious if you are looking for a unique, modern read this summer, and for fans of Sally Rooney.

Exciting Times by Naoise Donan

Showered with awards and praise when published in 2021, Naoise Donan’s debut novel is a steamy bildungsroman. Zadie Smith said she “had real fun with Exciting Times. It is a very funny, spiky, Marxist, feminist comedy and it's really mean.” After Ada, twenty-two, flees Dublin to take an ill-paid tutoring job in Hong Kong, she jumps at the chance to join the metropolitan high life by moving in with a rich British banker. But when Julian’s company forces him to return to London, Ada soon falls for a genuine heartthrob, the ambitious lawyer and bona fide Hongkonger Edith. In a twist on the traditional Chinese adage, Exciting Times is an intelligent novel about mid-twenties queer shenanigans in one of the world’s most exciting cities. If you liked Sally Rooney’s Normal People and fancy another stylish romance, give this sunlounger classic a try.



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