Unsure of your summer employment or travel plans? No need to fear, we have a list of our top recommended texts for your post-revision pleas- ure reading. With no more course readers, and the end of JSTOR and SAULCAT searches, here are the best books to sink your teeth into during this summer holiday:
1. Michael Gibney, Sous Chef
Ever wonder if life behind the counter was for you? Chef Michael Gibney reveals all of the delights and horrors of working in the high stress atmosphere of a top kitchen. Written in the second-person, Gibney gives a detailed account of the various ins and outs of the kitchen, from the etiquette among the opening sous chefs and the prep-cooks to the floor plans and knife kits of a real restaurant. Critics have hailed the novel as a true piece of work, both intriguing and captivating while giving an accurate view into the world of chefs ‘as told from the trenches’.
2. Jojo Moyes, The Girl You Left Behind
Set in 1916 France, an impressionist painting of a soldier’s wife draws the attention of the German Kommandant controlling a sleepy border town in the midst of the First World War. A century later, the same portrait hangs in the home of a young widow, unaware of it’s true value. The Girl You Left Behind tells the story of two women separated by time, who share a determination to persevere in troubling circumstances. Tissue warning: this novel might induce tears, read with caution in public spaces.
Another hit from author Jojo Moyes, Me Before You genuinely brought me to tears. An unexpected coupling of the most unconventional form, the novel details the six-month relationship between the eclectic Lou and Will, a wheelchair bound ex-businessman. The friendship between the couple reflects the human condition wonderfully, with all the ups and downs of reality, and shows the wide spectrum of human emotion in a quiet tourist town in England. Stick through until the end, as the journey of the characters will shock you and leave you wanting more (and potentially feeling very weepy).
4. Daisy Goodwin, The American Heiress
Riding on the coattails of the revival of Gilded Age literature a lá Gatsby, The American Heiress follows the journey of Newport socialite Cora Cash to the exclusive inner circle of English society in search of the one thing her money cannot buy in America, a title. With a sharp wit and romantic notions of marriage, Cora is thrust into the calculated and tight- lipped world of English aristocracy. After a fast-tracked courtship and engagement, Cora is suddenly the Duchess of Wareham and bidding farewell to her lively life in America while struggling to adjust to English society women plotting against her marriage. The American Heiress is both hilarious and adrenaline-filled with plot twists that keep you on your toes.
5. Karen Russell, Sleep Donation
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Russell uses her imagination and talent to create the world of Sleep Donation, set in a dystopic society in which an insomnia epidemic has ruined the lives of thousands of Americans. The solution to the epidemic? A questionable organisation, Slumber Corps, whose wealthy and charismatic founders may not be as magnanimous as they seem, coercing healthy sleepers into donating sleep to victims. Hailed as one of the top fictions released this spring with a solid storyline and fascinating characters, Sleep Donation will be keeping us awake into the early morning hours reading.