Books for the sun: summer reading list

I’ve been in Australia for a week, we’re five days into summer (here in Oz, like in NZ, the seasons are determined by the start of the month rather than the solstice), and I’m already not sure I can handle the heat. This was the thing I was most worried about moving to Australia, even if we’re in the relatively-more-temperate Melbourne rather than roasting Sydney or melting Brisbane. Tomorrow’s high is 34C/94F, and Friday it could hit a massive 38C/100F. And it’s only the first week of summer. Send ice.

When it’s that hot, many people love to go to the beach or lounge in the sun, but all I want to do is hide inside with a good book. At the start of winter I wrote about some of the long, dense reads I wanted to get through on the long, cold nights, but for summer heat there’s a reason light page-turners are the ideal. Here’s my to-read list for looking ahead to the days when it’s too hot to think:

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of the best and funniest travel writers, so as a new arrival to the land down under, his book on Australia is at the top of my list. Despite deciding to move here, I have to admit that I don’t actually know too much about Australia, aside from all the animals that can kill you (although I’ve yet to see anything but a lot of birds and very cute doggos), so I’m looking forward to reading this entertaining account of Australia’s geography and history.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith 

What’s better on a chilled-out day in the blazing sun than to read the next book in a series? The latest in JK Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series is sure to fit the bill. While I’m busy regretting having seen the latest Fantastic Beasts film, I’ll continue to enjoy Rowling’s other work, a pulpy, thrilling mystery that is sure to feature the same twisting plots and memorable characters as the novels that came before it. And at 600+ pages, it should definitely get me through the next heat wave.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

My best friend recently recommended this YA novel to me, and I also recently saw the trailer for Netflix’s film adaptation. If it’s good enough for her and for Dolly, it’s good enough for me. Young adult fiction is perfect for summer, because it’s breezy and quick to read, but features themes and characters with complexity and depth that keep your attention even when you feel like your brain is melting from the heat. I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett 

I’m surprised and slightly embarrassed to say that despite having read Good Omens a ridiculous number of times, and despite his writing being considered essential for those who love authors such as Kurt Vonnegut (my favourite) and Douglas Adams, I’ve never read anything written solely by the late, great Terry Pratchett (Good Omens is co-written with Neil Gaiman). While I’m still slightly confused about the reading order, this summer seems like a good time to finally sink my teeth into the Discworld series.


2 thoughts on “Books for the sun: summer reading list”

  1. While I liked Crime of Grindalwald quite a lot, the movie did leave me wishing it was a book first. Just imagining how well J.K. Rowling would have set up some of the themes she tried to portray in the feature film itself makes me believe it was a wasted opportunity to not have converted it into a novel first. Ugh!! I still can’t get over how the movie did injustice to what could have been fascinating character arcs and storytelling.
    Do tell me how Lethal White is. If it’s good I’ll actually buy it.

    1. Yeah, I agree, the film might have worked better as a novel first if it could’ve given the opportunity to go more in-depth into some aspects of the story. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Lethal White though as I’ve really enjoyed the rest of the series.

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