Books are great things. They provide you with so much, whether it's entertainment, knowledge or just pure escapism from college assignments and all the other shit that comes with being in your early 20s. Now that the long awaited summer is almost here and those dreaded end of year exams will soon be a distant memory-what better way to relax and treat yourself than a great book? So if you do literally nothing else this summer, make sure you read these ten books.
by Colm Toibin
Colm Toibin is a masterful writer. The Irish writer gives an incredibly astute and beautiful insight into the life of a young woman in the 1950s. This is a stunning book and yet it is quite easy to read. It is a deceptively simple but compelling story of a young woman who moves away from home to make a new life for herself in America. Have the tissues at the ready.
2. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl
by Carrie Brownstein
Those of you who know Carrie Brownstein from her TV show Portlandia which is hilarious, or from her music career and band Sleater Kinney, may be surprised or not to see that she is also quite an accomplished writer. Here she gives a raw, personal and at times deeply funny insight into her youth and what made her become the woman she is today. She also chronicles the music of the era she encountered and the thriving punk rock scene which she would become a part of in the 1990s.
3. On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan
A short but beautiful story from Ian McEwan. In 1962 a couple celebrate their wedding in a Dorset hotel yet both are contemplating the weight of expectation their marriage brings. A story that shows how lives can be determined by what was not said or done and the moments that could have been.
4. The Country Girl
by Edna O' Brien
A riveting collection of memories of a youth full of sadness, joy and struggle! Told with great honesty and clarity that is the beauty of Edna O'Brien's writing that you feel the past within the present.
5. The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
A brilliant piece of thrilling storytelling. A coming of age set in New York which follows the tale of loss, self invention, obsession and survival. A total must-read if you haven't already.
6. How To Be A Woman
by Caitlin Moran
This has to be one of the most hilarious books I've ever read. Caitlin Moran will have you laughing in agreement at her ranty memoiresque observations about modern womanhood.
7. My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante
The first book of a trilogy from the mysterious author Elena Ferrante who has yet to reveal their true identity, My brilliant friend tells that story of two friends Elena and Lila and follows their paths as they grow and diverge.
8. The Girl On The Train
by Paula Hawkins
Soon to be seen in cinemas this October starring Emily Blunt, this psychological thriller is a real page turner and will have you wondering about other people's lives in a new light.
9. Not That Kind Of Girl
by Lena Dunham
In a series of essays Lena Dunham, who you may know from HBO's GIRLS, offers a collection of experiences which are insightful, brutally funny and deeply relatable. Read it and immediately feel less weird and alone.
10. The Summer Before The War
by Helen Simonson
A nice light piece of reading with an homage to the plotlines of Downton Abbey for any fans. With the complications of the small town -everybody knows everybody else's business at play and class snobbery -the non traditional relationships which form cause tension. At first it appears as the study of a society in microcosm however it turns out to be a fascinating account of the macrocosmic effects of war.