Best Summer Reads 2: Fiction

Posted 17th of August 2023 by Bay Whitaker

We asked our counsellors to recommend their favourite summer fiction: gripping yarns, rattling good tales and super escapist page-turners.

Diana Gibson recommended "Alone In Berlin" by Hans Fallada.  She says "It's a book about the resistance in Germany during World War 2.  It's about grief, determination and how small things can make a huge difference."

Gill Wier and Bay Whitaker both suggested "A Gentleman In Moscow" by Amor Towles.  Gill says, "It's the story of an aristocrat sentenced to a life under house arrest by the Bolsheviks.  He is not allowed to set foot outside the Grand Metropol Hotel.  He finds ways to make the best of his situation, seeking to live a purposeful life, coming more mindful of small everyday details and building good relationships with the hotel staff.  It's very funny in places and I'm finding it an uplifting read.

Karen Swarbrick recommends "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce.  "It's about a man who goes out to post a letter and doesn't return home.  He walks from one end of the country to the other with no walking boots or anything with him.  Passing through places of regret to emotional redemption.  I likened a lot of this story to some of the relationships I have worked with."

Ellie Pollard chose "Anxious People" by Fredrik Backman, which she describes as "a dark comedy with a twist"

Judith Caul offered "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout.  "This is a deeply compassionate empathic novel, focussing on the lives of residents of the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine.  At the heart of the book is the formidable and uncompromising retired schoolteacher, Olive"

Laurence Keith recommends "The Fires of Heaven", from the "Wheel of Time" fantasy series by Robert Jordan.  He says: "I am a fantasy nerd! For me, reading is about escape and imagination, so I love a good fantasy novel. This series has held my attention for a while now. The world is imaginative and vast, the characters interesting and three dimensional. What I particularly love about this series is that the relationships between key characters are often complicated. For example, Moraine is a kind of witch, and if the main characters trusted her, life would be so much simpler. But normal people do not trust magic at all, which makes for brilliant and frustrating plot twists!" 


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