12 classic paperback reads for summer

June 30, 2015, Article by Tom in Books

Sitting on a beach drinking overpriced continental lager. Sweating excessively on public transport in a hot European city. Visiting an old fort and having a photo next to a cannon. We all celebrate the summer holidays in different ways, but there seems to be one constant: a good book.

Thinking of what to take with you on your jollies? Here are our picks of 12 classic paperback reads for summer that you simply can’t go wrong with…


1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

The fourth in the series is coming soon and we couldn’t be more excited. This dangerously addictive thriller will have you cancelling plans left right and centre. Rich

2. Cider with Rosie – Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee’s beautifully written memoir about growing up in post- WWI rural Gloucestershire. Nostalgic bliss with a melancholy edge. Rich

3. Instructions for a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell

London during the 1976 heatwave was a very sweaty place, and hardly ideal conditions for a father to disappear without giving his family any clues as to where he’s gone. A great set-up for another masterpiece of writing from Maggie. She never disappoints. Tom

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

15-year-old Christopher Boone investigates the murder of his neighbour’s dog in this modern classic. Has sold mllions of copies and been made into a hugely succesful theatre production – read it to find out why. Tom




5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

A glorious black comedy and an absolute riot. Coming from a former Arrested Development writer, you’d expect nothing less. Rich

6. I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

912 pages of tension, twists and action. A gruesome murder leads to a world-wide adventure that doesn’t let up for a beat. We can’t wait to read author Terry Hayes’ next novel The Year of the Locust  in 2016. Beau

7. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John le Carré

You cna pick up any le Carré and get lost in a world of espionage, mystery and conflict, but this is probably his finest hour. Tom

8. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

A classic. The desire to live the ‘American Dream’ comes at a cost in the 1920s. The rich-young-things are so well written you can smell the wealth coming off the pages. As you lay on the beach sipping a cocktail this summer, you could almost feel like one of them. Beau




9. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker

The definition of a page-turner. An author suffering from writer’s block goes to a small coastal town to  support his friend and mentor who has been arrested for the murder of a young girl 33 years ago. He’s gradually drawn into the town’s murky past where nothing (as always) is as it seems. If you can get over the odd bit of questionable dialogue, this is the crime book of the summer. Beau

10. Fatherland – Robert Harris

The enduring classic that made Harris’s name – the ultimate in speculative fiction. Rich

11. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Nothing says summer like ‘ROAD TRIP!’, and Gaiman takes us on the ultimate one in American Gods. A strange journey across the states featuring murder, forgotten gods and a host of bizarre characters. Beau

12. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Speaking of road trips, this pops up all the time on lists like this because it’s a classic – especially for anyone who’s travelling. Tom

…or if you don’t fancy any of those, just get yourself a John Grisham.