Archive Nostalgia: Fulfil your Summer Reading Goals – Tailored Recommendations!

With many people embarking on summer reading challenges this year, such as the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books, I thought I would bring back this feature from the archives. If you’re looking to reach some reading goals over summer, hopefully, this will provide you with some inspiration!

The weather is getting warmer, the evenings lighter, the trees are blossoming – summer is definitely on its way! I don’t know about you, but whether I’m on holiday or just relaxing in the garden, summer is the time when I get to read most out of any time of year.

But have you thought about what you’re aiming to achieve with your reading this summer? Do you want to feel more well-read by perusing some classics, or do you fancy something a little lighter to help you relax on the beach? The tailored recommendations below will help you to fulfil your summer reading goals, whatever they may be!

Fulfil your Summer Reading Goals Tailored Recommendations Pinterest Graphic

“I want to read that long book I’ll never get chance to any other time of year”

With the longer days of summer, what better time to tackle that lengthy book you’ve been staring at for ages? Try one of these whoppers at 1,000+ pages (but please, for your own sanity, only pick one!)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas Book Cover
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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

An epic adventure of love and revenge

The Count of Monte Cristo is set in Europe in the early 1800’s, after the fall of Napoleon’s empire. Edmond Dantes seems to have it all. He is young, athletic and has a promising career as a sailor in front of him, not to mention a betrothal to his beautiful sweetheart Mercedes. However, betrayal by some of those closest to him rips this enviable life out from under Dantes’ feet, leading to one of literature’s most epic stories of revenge.

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

 

 

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Book Cover
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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Do you hear the people sing?

The story of Jean Valjean set in 1840s France has captured imaginations worldwide. Rising from a slave imprisoned for stealing bread to a respected town Mayor is not without its dangers, as he is pursued by the powerful and narrow-minded Inspector Javert. While poverty-stricken citizens try to reignite the fires of the French Revolution against a background of oppression and despair, the novel is fraught with violence but also rejoicing in love, friendship and the art of following your heart.

 

 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Book Cover
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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Immerse yourself in the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars

What book is more regarded as a badge of triumph for those proclaiming themselves to be book lovers?!? War and Peace takes place in the tumultuous period during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Its 1392 pages leave plenty of space for Tolstoy to develop his diverse characters, making the story an emotional journey as much as a work of historical fiction.

 

 

“I want to read more classics”

Are you constantly drawn to a lighter literary diet, but want to expand your horizons by reading more classics? They don’t have to be dull! These picks are all highly readable, engrossing and short at less than 500 pages.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Book Cover
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The 19th Century version of a rom-com

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most endearing and popular romances in literature. All five Bennett sisters, whether exuberant or studious, are concerned with fulfilling their family’s expectations of marrying well. Their efforts result in a witty, entertaining transportation back to the drawing rooms of 19th Century England and a novel that still has the power to captivate us today.

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Book Cover
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Beauty, love and some epic parties

Humans are strange, vulnerable creatures and what story captures this more perfectly that Fitzgerald’s novel about the mysterious Jay Gatsby? His life seems to be a heady whirlwind of ecstasy and excessive parties. However, this superficiality belies a darker world of secrets, love and longing…

 

 

 

 

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Book Cover
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Coming of age in the Civil War

Little Women revolves around the March sisters and Louisa May Alcott’s intricate drawing of their personalities, from the spirited tomboy Jo to Amy – vain and romantic. The struggles of the Civil War force the girls to grow up quickly, becoming the ‘little women’ they need to be in order to support their loving family. The novel is inspired by Alcott’s own early life – perhaps this is what gives it its enchanting realism.

 

 

“I want to get stuck into a thriller”

If you want to lose yourself in a gripping and unpredictable story, I can testify that all of these recommendations are 100% addictive!

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes Book Cover
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I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Intelligent, modern and exciting

Scott Murdoch is a retired secret agent. He is called upon to investigate the perfect crime – a murder in a seedy hotel room with a faceless victim and all traces of the killer’s fingerprints removed. This murder is connected to a dangerously intelligent and untraceable terrorist dedicated to America’s destruction. Scott is pitted against a ghost with no identity and no history who always seems to be one step ahead. A battle of wits and of wills commences as he races to stop the terrorist’s plot before anyone even knows it exists.

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel Book Cover
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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Dark and intensely addictive

When Lane’s mother commits suicide, she is invited to live with her estranged grandparents and cousin Allegra at Roanoke – their mysterious residence in a suffocating small town. On the surface, the family seems perfect. They are wealthy, rich, beautiful and charismatic. Behind this, Lane discovers a harrowing family history of violent deaths, disappearances and dark secrets. After only one summer, she becomes the only Roanoke girl to escape. However, eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing, Roanoke’s haunting secrets are clawing her back once more…

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

The Dry by Jane Harper Book Cover
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The Dry by Jane Harper

Restore your faith in thrillers

Aaron Falk is heading back to his hometown for the funeral of his old friend Luke. Everyone believes Luke’s death was suicide, but something doesn’t seem to quite add up. As Falk is drawn deeper into the investigation, he threatens to unearth secrets that have been all but forgotten. Meanwhile, the suspicion that is rife throughout the town starts to point towards him – because all those years ago, Luke was Falk’s alibi for murder…

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

 

 

“I want to engage in modern debates and discussions”

These books all explore multi-faceted and relevant issues, guaranteed to provoke some zealous debate with your book club (or just make you sound really intellectual with your friends).

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Book Cover
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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Powerful and disturbing dystopian

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. One of the few remaining fertile women after radiation poisoning, she is ‘gifted’ to one of the high-ranking Commanders of the regime. Subject to an uber-controlling, militarised rule, she fights to survive without forsaking her free will and capacity for passion – in a world where love has become surplus to function.

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

 

 

 

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Book Cover
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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Shocking social commentary on racism

Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece has been described as one of the most important novels in American literature. Its protagonist is an African-American man, surviving in an intensely racist society where his colour means he is rendered ‘invisible’. The novel is a searing depiction of the worst that humanity can do to each other.

 

 

 

 

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter Book Cover
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The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Ruin your childhood

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of dark, twisted and often contentious re-workings of well-known fairy tales. Forget what you thought you knew about Beauty and the Beast or Little Red Riding Hood! From sexuality, masculinity, family, feminism, the animal nature of humanity – this richly thought-provoking collection is sure to spark passionate debate.

 

 

“I want to find some fantastic YA fiction”

These powerful and inspiring YA books will be enjoyed by readers of any age group…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Book Cover
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Perceptive and life-affirming

The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the life of Charlie, a perceptive and sensitive introvert, as he tries to negotiate the heady social clamour of high school. Its sharp insight, words of inspiration and beautifully portrayed, loveable characters make this a novel that stayed with me for a long time.

 

 

 

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Book Cover
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Action-packed yet thought-provoking

The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future where twelve poverty-stricken districts are ruled by an oppressive and sickeningly wealthy Capitol. In retaliation for past rebellion, every year two children from each district are chosen to take part in the Hunger Games (essentially a glorified fight to the death). Katniss Everdeen is Twelve’s female tribute – but this year something is different. Because Katniss has decided that she’s not just going to survive. She’s going to fight back.

 

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Book Cover
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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Bursting with heart

The Book Thief is a powerful and emotive story about Liesel Meminger, a German girl whose humanity shines through the brutality of World War Two. Translated into over 40 languages, Zusak’s novel has moved readers worldwide (it certainly reduced me to tears!) As hopeful as it is harrowing, The Book Thief is a poignant portrayal of the human capacity for endurance and compassion.

 

 

 

“I want a lighter read, something heart-warming and uplifting”

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan Book Cover
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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Quirky, unique and uplifting

Many years ago, Anthony Peardew broke a promise. The only promise he has ever made. In atonement, he begins to carefully collect a hotchpotch of objects that have been lost, in the firm belief that they have a significance to someone, somewhere. When Anthony dies, he leaves the collection to his assistant Laura. Adrift in a comfortable but unadventurous existence, Laura finds a new purpose in the monumental task of reuniting the lost objects with their owners. Her quest to fulfil Anthony’s legacy of love makes for a moving tale of wonder, compassion, triumph and the infinite endurance of human connections.

Read the full Miscellany Pages review here.

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding Book Cover
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Bridget Jones’ Diary

You will laugh out loud!

Sometimes you really do just need a good laugh! The hapless heroine of Bridget Jones’ Diary, on a mission to become a fully functioning adult (and find a man) in just one year, is sure to provide just that. The novel is a relatable, humorous reflection on our own insecurities as well as a hopeful reminder that life is unpredictable and just full of surprises.

 

 

 

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows Book Cover
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Whimsically wonderful

Juliet is a writer, just waiting for something to write about. A letter arrives from someone who got her address from the cover of an old, favourite book she had to sell. The mysterious correspondent tells her about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club founded to give its members solace during the German occupation of Guernsey in World War Two. Juliet is soon drawn into the lives of the club’s warm, endearing and at times eccentric membership. Bursting with heart, the novel will be a source of joy to anyone who has ever fallen in love with books.

“I want to gain a deeper understanding of different cultures”

Immerse yourself in another culture with these beautiful, evocative stories.

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop Book Cover
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The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

Cyprus at war

Life in Famagusta seems idyllic, with its luxurious hotels, postcard beaches and thriving tourist trade. However, tensions between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots are mounting and families that once called each other neighbours – even friends – will soon find themselves at war. The story follows two mothers, Emine (Turkish Cypriot) and Irini (Greek Cypriot), their troubled families and their wealthy employer Aphroditi, wife of a successful hotel owner. As Famagusta turns from a coveted destination into a war zone, they are left fighting to reclaim what is left of the lives they have been forced to leave behind.

 

The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal Book Cover
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House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal

Anglo-Indian emotional saga

Shyama is a wealthy businesswoman living in London with her teenage daughter and younger lover Toby. She never would have met Mala, who feels trapped in a small Indian town, were it not for Shyama and Toby’s dream of having their own baby. Mala is to be their paid surrogate, which leads to an infinite complexity of moral questions and cultural divides. Syal’s portrayal of the contrast between the women’s backgrounds is sharp, yet so is her depiction of the raw human emotions that are shared across cultural identities. The novel presents humans in all our unpredictability and refusal to be defined, by age, by class, or by culture.

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden Book Cover
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Lyrical insight into Japanese culture

I recently added this book to my to-read list and I’m so intrigued to read it! It has been described as a beautiful, lyrical portrayal of true stories from one of Japan’s most famous Geisha girls.

 

 

“I want to be transported back in time”

Fans of historical fiction and non-fiction are sure to be intrigued by these suggestions.

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore Book Cover
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Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Far-reaching ripples of the French Revolution

Birdcage Walk is set in Bristol in 1792 at a time when Europe is anxiously watching the events of the French Revolution. Lizzie’s husband, a wealthy property developer, faces the threat of losing everything, including the beautiful house he has dreamt of building for them. Yet Lizzie’s radical upbringing has left her with a deep value for freedom and rebellion. Her internal conflict mirrors the turmoil in France, and meanwhile, her relationships with her husband and family are being strained to breaking point.

 

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton Book Cover
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The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Opulence and darkness of 17th Century Amsterdam

Nella leaves her childhood behind when she moves to Amsterdam in order to marry Johannes Brandt, a rich merchant she has met only once. It is impossible not to feel like an outsider in her own home; Johannes’ house is full of secrets, whispers and snatched arguments heard through keyholes. For Nella, the only hope of understanding her strange new family may be the miniaturist who is sending her strange messages…

 

 

 

Histories of Nations by Peter Furtado Book Cover
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Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged by Peter Furtado

Varied and engaging non-fiction

Shake things up with some non-fiction! Too often in literature, the history and identity of a country is portrayed from a narrow perspective, sometimes by people far distanced from these countries. Histories of Nations gives twenty-eight writers the opportunity to elaborate on their country’s history from their own personal, immersive viewpoint.

Fulfil your Summer Reading Goals With Tailored Recommendations Infographic

Cover images courtesy of Goodreads.


Happy summer reading! If you have any recommendations to add to this list then please do pop them in the comments, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

 

11 thoughts on “Archive Nostalgia: Fulfil your Summer Reading Goals – Tailored Recommendations!

    1. Thank you for the comment, I’m glad some of these have piqued your interest! I’ve read Jekyll and Hyde but nothing else by Robert Louis Stevenson. Looked up The Master of Ballantrae just now. It looks chilling but very intriguing – hopefully worth the time to get into it!
      📕MP📖 X

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, I really appreciate it! I’m glad that you’ve found some books that take your fancy. If you get around to reading them, do let me know what you think!
      📕MP📖 X

      Like

    1. Thank you for the comment! I absolutely loved The Miniaturist. It is emotional, subtle and the setting is very unique. The Count of Monte Cristo is 100% worth reading too. I was a bit daunted by the length but got into it surprisingly quickly!
      📕MP📖 X

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind comment Alex, I really appreciate it! I’ve heard people talk about Memoirs of a Geisha so many times but have yet to get around to reading it. If it’s one of your favourite books that’s a pretty resounding recommendation – I’ll have to put it to the top of my list! ❤️📚 X

      Liked by 1 person

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