Some of the best independent booksellers from across the UK and Ireland select their recommendations for recently-published books to enjoy on a summer break.
Chosen by: The booksellers at Book-ish in Powys
The Favour by Laura Vaughan (Atlantic Books), recommended by Jon —
Summer’s a great time for a mystery and this one is a delightfully "Mean Girls" murder cover-up on an Italian tour gone wrong. It’s got everything — blackmail, backstabbing, ruthless self-interest and a gorgeously depicted Venetian setting.
Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thompson (Quadrille Publishing), recommended by Hannah —
Another great cookbook from a favourite author, with practical tips for campers and tents, and recipes that work just as well at home.
The Moth and the Mountain by Ed Caesar (Penguin), recommended by Echo —
The true story of the first man with a plan to scale Everest. A bestseller in the making.
Chosen by: Rosamund de la Hey, owner of The Mainstreet Trading Company in Melrose, the Borders
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (Penguin)
A debut novel of wild swimming and nature writing set against a dark family drama, spiked with delicious wit.
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary (Quercus)
Pure escapism, funny, nostalgic and touching — top quality stuff. If you haven’t tried Beth O’Leary yet, what are you waiting for?
Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber & Faber)
A novel that reads almost as a collection of short stories, to be savoured chapter by chapter. Thoughtful and thought-provoking in equal measure.
Chosen by: Lali Hewitson, owner of The Portal Bookshop in York
Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar (Hodder Children’s Books)
The sweetest romance I've read this year, with amazing authentic Bengali-Irish representation. I love how things progress from fake dating to real feelings.
The Girl From The Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag (Graphix)
A gorgeously drawn graphic novel, full of sunshine and emotion. First love, selkie magic, coming out, and environmental activism!
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (Orbit)
A rich, complex fantasy novel centring queer women and their power. Full of schemes and layers, exploring intriguing characters and the world that shaped them, this is an immersive, fierce, and exciting start to a magical sapphic series.
Chosen by: Tomás Kenny, general manager at Kennys Bookshop in Galway
Corpsing by Sophie White (Tramp Press)
A biography about living with mental illness, this is a wonderful book. The writing is sensationally good, and it’s a searing insight into a topic all too often missing from our bookshelves.
Panenka by Rónán Hession (Bluemoose Books)
Rónán has written another great novel that is ideal for summer reading. Its gentle nature allows for it to be read by all ages, but the writing doesn’t suffer for it. A worthy follow up to Leonard and Hungry Paul.
Snowflake by Louise Nealon (Manilla Press)
I think Louise is a writer we will be hearing a lot from for decades. She is so talented and her writing feels so authentic and yet remains easy to read. This novel was hugely anticipated, and it delivered in spades.
Chosen by: Marie Moser owner of The Edinburgh Bookshop in Edinburgh
Murder Takes a Holiday: Classic Crime Stories for Summer, edited by Cecily Gayford (Profile Books)
Eleven holiday-themed crime stories from masters of the genre, including Ruth Rendell to Arthur Conan Doyle. What could be more relaxing than sipping a cocktail while you read about someone else's holiday from hell?
Ten Days in Physics That Shook the World by Brian Clegg (Icon Books)
A marvellous little book you can dip into to learn how discoveries by the great physicists changed our lives. From Newton to Einstein, from the light emitting diode to radioactivity, you can whizz your way through to becoming (smugly) well informed.
How to get Over Being Young by Charlotte Bauer (Atlantic Books)
A funny and overdue book about being a woman in your fifties in a world obsessed with twenty-something Instagram stars. From body changes to the difference in how society treats you, Bauer is trying to navigate challenges of not being young.
Chosen by: Sheryl Shurville, co-owner of Chorleywood Bookshop in Hertfordshire and Gerrards Cross Bookshop in South Buckinghamshire
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin)
Charming whodunnit set amongst the feisty residents of the inhabitants of an upmarket retirement village.
Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell (Headline)
An emotional reimaging of the death of Shakespeare’s only son, Hamnet. Vividly descriptive of the age.
Small Pleasures by Clare Chamber (Orion)
When a young woman contacts her local paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to the world-weary journalist to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud.
Chosen by: Will Smith, bookseller at Sam Read in Grasmere
Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth (Sceptre)
Loss, grief and emotional mess wrapped up in a darkly comic narrative voice. Muriel Spark by way of Lancaster and Heysham.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (John Murray Press)
A fast-paced and dazzling satire of sales, start-up business culture and race inequality told as a mock self-help sales guide. A vital rewriting of an American archetype.
Paper Lantern by Will Burns (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Lockdown provides the backdrop for an uncanny summer pause in the life of a small town. Landscape, nature writing and politics infuse Burns’ autofiction, reminiscent of JL Carr or RC Sherriff.