Fabulous Travel Reads: Best Summer Books 2017

The summer holidays are finally here! So whilst you’re spending long days lazing in the sunshine, you’ll need a great beach read (or park/plane/road trip read). Here are four fantastic new release books you should check out this season!

📌 Looking for some more options? Check out my previous reviews here.

 

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson

best summer books 2017 - Andrew Wilson

📚 UK publication date: 18 May 2017

A huge part of the appeal of this story is that it’s based on an actual mystery from Agatha Christie‘s own life. That I’d heard nothing about this mystery before is fascinating! But there it is on her Wikipedia page: “On 3 December 1926… around 9:45 pm, Christie disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her car, a Morris Cowley, was later found at Newlands Corner, perched above a chalk quarry, with an expired driving licence and clothes. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public.” So begins this story, which proposes that the combination of her husband’s affair and the attention of unstable literary fan caused her unexplained disappearance for 10 days nearly a century ago. The story is a little fanciful at times but it does make a convincing case that something very serious happened; so much so that she made no reference to the event in her autobiography, published in 1977, despite it having been front page news for over a week some 50 years prior. If you enjoy a bit of mystery mixed with history, then this book is definitely for you.

 

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

best summer books 2017 - Eddie Izzard

📕 UK publication date: 15th June 2017

The fact that comedian, activist, actor and trans icon, Eddie Izzard, is considered a national treasure here in the UK is one of the (many) reasons I applied for my citizenship recently. What a darling he is, with his painted nails featuring both the British and EU flags on the cover (well, on some copies anyway). As I’m married to a man who has a penchant for heels, I’m naturally quite fascinated by Izzard and his life. So I literally raced to read this book as soon as it became available. It starts with quite a humble, British tone (Izzard ponders why he’s writing a memoir and if it’s a little too self-indulgent) and then takes a pretty linear structure, following his life from his early days in Northern Ireland, to boarding school, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to street performing in Covent Garden, to selling out huge theatres around the globe. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? Well, one thing that struck me was how much bloody hard work this man has put in, and continues to do so with his endless marathons for charity etc. Another thing was that I tend to read memoirs looking for salacious details (don’t we all?) so be warned: there’s barely a peep about his ‘private life’ in here. There’s a lot about his mum, though, and the huge impact her death had on him at an early age. Poor luv. But what a brilliant, beautiful and hilarious creature he grew up to be.

 

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

best summer books 2017 - Laura Barnett

📖 UK publication date: 15th June 2017

I first came across Laura Barnett with her wonderful debut novel, The Versions of Us (which I reviewed back in summer 2015), which looked at 3 different versions of one couple’s life in a Sliding Doors-style narrative. Her follow-up book is just as steeped in the ‘what if’ that we all ponder as we grow older: this time we sit with a famous singer-songwriter in her sixties (picture a British Joni Mitchell with maybe a touch of Stevie Nicks perhaps) as she listens to her back catalogue, letting her personal history wash over her, and prepares to relaunch career. It’s one of those books where you get so wrapped up in the characters life that you end up almost yelling at the page when you see them heading down the wrong path, anticipating the pain that lies ahead for them. It’s quite an affecting story and, as a female reader, I felt it was a reminder to trust your own instincts and put yourself first in your own life story (something I think we are conditioned not to do as partners and mothers). If you love music history and the idea of a fictional biography, then this is one for you.

 

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

best summer books 2017 - Matt Haig

📑 UK publication date: 6th July 2017

Lovely Matt Haig: is there a harder working author in England today? He’s powered out 11 fantastic novels in the past 13 years (plus a range of non-fiction including his own mental health memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive) but hopefully, this will be the one that really makes the world wake up to him. After all, the film rights have been optioned by StudioCanal and Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to play the lead, which is very exciting! The story is centred around 41-year-old Tom Hazard who has a rare genetic condition that makes him age slowly. So slowly, in fact, that he been alive for centuries and has crossed paths with Shakespeare and other historical figures. Naturally, this makes life quite problematic for him, causing him to have to move and start a new life every decade and never, ever fall in love (for who wants to live with a broken heart for hundreds of years?). But, of course, life is rarely so easily controlled and after a couple of hundred years, Tom is ripe for change. This story has a lot of charm to it and is a natural fit for the big screen, so you better read the book now before it’s made into a film, right?

 

📌 Looking for some more options? Check out my previous reviews here.

 

Did you enjoy any of these books too? Leave me a comment and let me know. ✌️

 

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Books summer 2017 @minkaguides

 

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