By Ellie Brady, Sarah Lundy, Kelly Stone, Lucy Lillystone, Ana Matute and Amy Wright
Whether it's thrillers that hook you and refuse to let you go, sweeping romances that occupy your mind or science fiction tales that teleport you somewhere else. Who can resist a captivating read that you cannot part with during these long summer days? Take a look at some of our favourite unputdownable books - maybe you’ll be tempted enough to follow us down the rabbit hole.
Out by Natsuo Kirino
Out is the acclaimed Japanese crime novel by Natsuo Kirino, the pen name of Mariko Hashioka, one of the women leading the late 20th and early 21st century boom of Japanese female writers. The novel looks at four women connected by their nightshifts at a Japanese boxed lunch factory and their dissatisfaction with their lives, husbands and themselves. When one of the women kills her abusive husband, the limits of female solidarity are tested and the events that follow are fraught with anxiety and suspicion. Cue a narrative filled with the fascinating realities of normal women and the men who ask too much of them, constantly asking what it means to be an overworked, underappreciated woman in a modern patriarchal Japan.
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
This book is the factual retelling of Ronan Farrow’s chase to expose Harvey Weinstein and the many barriers that blocked his way. Although this is based completely on real life events, it reads like a thriller. It is unputdownable and shocking because so much of it is beyond comprehension. Despite the heavy subject matter, Farrow tells this story with sensitivity while using his witty sense of humour to cut through the tension, while always remaining completely empathetic to the people whose stories he is sharing. To quote TIME magazine’s review; “as a novel, it would be a page-turner. As a reported piece of non-fiction, it’s terrifying.”
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
On a Malibu summer day in 1983, Nina Riva holds her infamous annual party filled with scandal, debauchery and inevitable revelations. This year, the party is like no other as the evening ends in a scorching, uncontainable fire. The Riva siblings shine as compelling characters who have found success despite their rocky upbringing in the shadow of their rockstar father, Mick Riva, but who still conceal many secrets. Juxtaposing elements of a contemporary historical beach read with the shocking suspense of a thriller, this novel is an enthralling story in a star-studded world that readers won’t want to put down until the very end.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I have one distinct memory of my time reading The Night Circus: not being able to put it down. The Night Circus follows the story of two ancient magicians who set their best pupils against each other in a magical contest. The venue? A mysterious circus that is only open at night, full of spectacular amazements. There is a magical feeling about this book that is indescribable; with multifaceted and morally ambiguous characters you fall in love with, breath-taking language and twists and turns, this is the kind of book you will stay up reading until the early hours of the morning. The Night Circus is less a reading experience than a journey. A journey every single person should experience at least once in their lifetime.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
After I finished my dissertation, I had an awful reader's block in which I couldn't find the right book for me, until I started The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a perfect read if you need something light and catchy, but also special. This book is a portrait of the mind of a teen with autism and, in a very comic and innocent way, we come to understand how Christopher feels and how different his life can be. We follow Christopher in his journey to discover how his neighbour's dog was murdered, leading him to make unexpected changes his to daily habits.
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers is a poignant yet gripping read that will draw you in after only a few pages. Set in 1957 in the suburbs of southeast London, a reporter’s quiet life is turned upside down when she must cover a peculiar story that supports the feasibility of a virgin birth. A unique tale involving both mystery and romance, we follow Jean as she begins her dubious investigation into the possibility of parthenogenesis in mammals, whilst simultaneously navigating both friendship and love. Small Pleasures is truly captivating and would make the perfect book club read; a one-of-a-kind novel that deserves more recognition.