Summer reads 2019: which books are Cambridge folk taking to the beach?
Whether you’re planning to sip cocktails on a sunlounger all summer or head off on an adventure, a good read is usually top of everyone’s holiday packing list.
We caught up with well-read folk around the city to see what was on the top of their ‘to be read’ pile.
The internationally bestselling crime writer, course director of the University of Cambridge's Crime and Thriller Writing Master's degree, and founder of the Dream Author coaching programme for writers lives in Cambridge with her family. She said: “On my holidays this year, I'm going to be reading My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, Platform Seven by Louise Doughty and at least two books by Agatha Christie - probably Sleeping Murder and The Clocks, as I haven't reread either of those in a while!”
The Mystery of Three Quarters, by Sophie Hannah is published by Harper Collins (£6.99.)
Jill Dawson’s latest book is The Language of Birds took inspiration from the Lord Lucan affair. She lives on the fen, near Cambridge.
“Louise Doughty has a new novel out - Platform Seven - a ghost story set on Peterborough station. As she is a friend and we went away to finish our novels together (staying in Southwold) I can’t wait to read that one! Faber August 23. Also local author Christobel Kent. I’ve just bought it to take on my holiday - A Secret Life, about a girl’s weekend that goes horribly wrong. Also sounds brilliant and compelling so am looking forward to that.”
The Language of Birds, published by Hodder & Stoughton (£18.99).
Although Kate lives in Cambridge, her crime series featuring DI Ben Kitto is set on the Scilly Isles, which she visits every year.
“The book I have been saving for my summer holiday is The Lying Room, by husband and wife writing duo Nicci French. I love their complex, fascinating psychological crime fiction, so it has been a real struggle not to start it before my week in the Isles of Scilly.”
Ruin Beach by Kate Rhodes is published by Simon & Schuster (£7.99).
I’m treating myself to a re-read of Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. A story about an ageing spinster with a suffragette past, its full of interest, intrigue and insight, but is also hugely funny in the kindest of ways. And I’m wanting a child to share beautiful new picture book Merrylegs by Pam Smy with. This is a story of the hopes and wishes and friendships of plump pony Merrylegs, and it has truly beautiful pictures.
Chosen by Pippa Goodhart whose children’s historical novel The Great Sea Dragon Discovery set in 1860s Cambridge has just won the 2019 Young Quills Award for best children’s historical novel for 10-13 year olds.
I’m currently loving the dark beauty of Melissa Harrison’s novel All Among the Barley, set in 1930s rural Suffolk, a place so close to my heart. Next up is Logical Family by Armistead Maupin; his Tales of the City series was hugely important to me when I read it first time round; I still love those books, and I’m looking forward to his memoir ahead of seeing him at the Corn Exchange. And long car journeys are brightened by the audio book of my partner, Mandy Morton’s latest crime novel, Beyond the Gravy, brilliantly read by Jenny Funnell, who wrings all the humour and originality from those wonderful characters.
Nicola's latest book, Stanley and Elsie, is published by Prelude (£10.99)
Ilooking forward to finishing several books I've started and not had time to finish.
Liane Moriarty's 'Truly Madly Guilty.' I read Big Little Lies recently and loved it. Murder amongst competing school mums.Hoping her new book will live up to the last!
William Boyd's 'Love is Blind'- I love William Boyd, and got this book for Christmas and still haven't had time to read it, so hoping to find a moment over the summer. I read too much domestic noir and am looking forward to a love story.
While we're on love stories I'm also reading Alaine de Botton's 'The Course of Love' which is a close examination of a relationship and a marriage; my daughter's recommendation and it's brilliant."
Penny Hancock's book I Thought I Knew You is published by Mantle is out in paperback in September(£7.99).
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
“Summer holidays are the chance to catch up on the more substantial reading that is hard to do in the busy helter-skelter of Parliamentary life. In recent years I have immersed myself in Robert Caro’s epic four volume biography of President Lyndon Johnson (a fifth volume is still under way!). This year I will be tackling Shoshana Zuboff’s “Age of Surveillance Capitalism” - I have already read enough to appreciate the extraordinary and dangerous implications of the huge data grab made by the big tech companies. The world is changing very quickly - can lawmakers and regulators keep up? I shall be doing my best over the summer!”
Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambs
“Oh crumbs, I never have time to read anything! I’ll be reading all the magazines, travel and home sections from the Sunday Times over the last six months… I save them up for when I’ve actually got time. So, I’ll be reading about all the holidays I haven’t got time to go on, all the houses I can’t afford and all the fashion tips I’m not smart enough to follow! I still enjoy it though.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert
I’ll be reading “Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare (2013) by Stephen Budiansky.
The appliance of science and new technology was a key factor in preventing Hitler’s invasion plans and we can learn much from how they dealt with a national emergency then.
Patrick Blackett was a Cambridge graduate and for a period a Cavendish Laboratory nuclear physics scientist with Lord Rutherford, when his family lived at 59 Bateman Street. Renowned Cambridge academic Alan Turing also features in the book, and has rightly been recognised on the new £50 note for breaking hugely complex German military codes that helped win the Allies win the war against fascism, as well as being the founder of modern computing.
Richard Reynolds, literature buyer and bookseller at Heffers reveals his top summer reads.
Beach read pick: After the Party by Cressida Connelly – set in a grand country house in the pre-War summer of 1938, this has captivated several Heffers booksellers with its human emotions and tense drama. £8.99
Thriller pick: Scrublands by Chris Hanmer – a deservedly much talked about thriller, set in the Australian town of Riversend, and the scrublands beyond. A true page-turner! £8.99
Young Adult pick: Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan – a perfect read in the age of Sabrina and Stranger Things, Perfectly Preventable Deaths tells the tale of twins living in a strange, isolated Irish town and the uncanny goings on there. £7.99
Non-fiction pick: Heroes by Stephen Fry – one of the nation’s favourite intellectuals retells the epic myths of the Greek heroes in his own unique and very enjoyable way. £8.99
Most talked about: Middle England by Jonathan Coe – Sick of the usual debates about Brexit? Try this, Jonathan Coe’s novel which puts a very funny slant on the whole saga, and is one of Heffers’ most requested books of the summer. £8.99
All these books are included in Heffers’ 3 for 2 paperback offer (until 31/08/2019).
More by this authorAlex Spencer