In The GardenSummer

What we’re reading this summer: Author picks

The sun is out a little more often which means one thing – we can’t wait to get reading in the garden, the park and on the beach in the coming months. But how to pick those books? Here some of our authors tell us what they’ll be reading at home and abroad this summer.

Julia Gregson author of Monsoon Summer

I’ve already dipped into Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love and I’m hooked. This exploration of love, and a long marriage, promises to be far more than a conventional boy meets girl that ends at the altar.
I heard him discuss the book on the radio, and he made the interesting point that people are always obsessed with the question of ‘How did you meet ?’ when talking to married couples as if that’s the end of the story, when the real real question should be, ‘How did you stay together ?’ He made me laugh when he recommended , ‘In what ways are you mad ?’ as an important first date question .
The book looks witty, wise, and life affirming.

Andrew Taylor is a favourite author of mine, and the reviews say The Ashes of London, is one of his finest yet. The book opens in 1665, as the great fire of London is ravaging the city . St Pauls has been reduced to ashes; a man’s body has been discovered there with stab wounds in his neck and his thumbs tied behind his back. Taylor, a tripe winner of the historical dagger award, always writes gripping, well researched books. I first discovered him through his international best seller, The American Boy.

Veronica Henry, author of How to Find Love in a Bookshop

I cannot wait for The Inheritance by Katie Agnew –  a properly glamorous blockbuster based around a pearl necklace and the three generations of women whom it has affected.  From pearl divers in Japan to high society in England, it’s escapism at its hottest and most pleasurable



Greg Jenner, author of A Million Years in a Day

My job requires reading about 200 hundred history books per year, which takes up most of my time, but I love reading popular science too. This summer I’m hoping to sneak Dr Dean Burnett’s The Idiot Brain onto my holiday reading list. Dean is a highly-qualified neuroscientist, and is much cleverer than me, but both of us use humour to explain our respective subjects, so I’m really looking forward to laughing my way through his guide to the quirks of human psychology.



Fanny Blake, author of House of Dreams

I’m looking forward to finishing the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante (Europa). I devoured the first two and so far, the depiction of the friendship between two women who have known each other since childhood is nuanced, intelligent and gripping. I’ve saved the second two for when I’ve got time to relax and enjoy them. I’m also going to take Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge (S&S). I’ve begun this one but work-reading keeps getting in the way. It’s a sequence of assured bittersweet short stories linked by Mrs Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher. I want to give it the time it deserves and possibly even take her latest novel, My Name is Lucy Barton (S&S), too. Finally, I hope I’ll be able to fit in Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple (Persephone). So many people have recommended this novel first published in 1953 about ‘a deceived wife and a foolish husband’ that I can’t wait to dive in.

Nina Parker, author Nina Capri

I shall be attacking these two when I’m on holiday.  I am a massive tennis fan and am obsessed with tennis biographies.  There is something about the sport and the determination that the game entails that inspires me in my cooking life.  I reckon you can relate most things in life back to tennis and cooking.  I love it! I read Novak’s at New Year and found it so interesting.  Especially can’t wait for the Agassi!