It’s getting to that groggy mid-point of the year, where I’m really looking forward to getting my upcoming exams finished so I can spend more time reading and blogging, but similarly I’m fondly day-dreaming of warm sandy beaches and cocktails by the pool…
With summer on the way, some of you may have your holiday plans sorted, but for those who don’t, here are some things I’d like to read/do, that can maybe be your inspiration too!
Get Back Into Reading
We may all be Book Geeks, but that doesn’t mean we always have the time we’d like to sit down and read (is 24 hours a day asking for too much?!). Dust down your hardcovers, search out those paperbacks, and download those eBooks! Now that holidays are here, you’ll finally get the chance to read them. Whether you are staying at home over the summer or going away, make the most of the nice weather and spend time outside with the book of your choice.
Buy Something New
If you’re like me, and you have an embarrassingly large book collection, you may not even need to buy a new book, just shop your own shelves for those forgotten treasures you picked up because they were on offer/had a beautiful cover/because so-and-so always talks about how great it is. However, if you’re in the mood for some Summer splurging, make some space on those bad boys by donating used books to a local charity or sell your books here to free up some shelf space.
- Into The Water is the second novel from The Girl On the Train author, Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller about family secrets and broken memories promises to be as suspenseful as her twisty debut.
- We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter, is a haunting novel of a Polish/Jewish family torn apart by the ravages of World War 2. Love overcomes adversity, as they battle to be reunited.
- Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy is an examination of the effects on a small rural town in the wake of young girl’s disappearance. More than a mystery, this is a character study of how individual lives are affected as they battle personal hardships in the poverty around them.
- Everybody’s Son is brought to us from the author of The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar (and yes, the book is better than the recent film). This new masterpiece is about a 10-year old boy caught in the middle of family turmoil, between his adoptive father and his long-estranged mother. Guaranteed to stir the emotions, you are going to need tissues to wipe away your tears after reading this one.
- Jane Austen, the Secret Radical is a new biography written by Helena Kelly. Put aside your pride and prejudice, and gain some new insights into the eponymous female author, and the women’s issues she raised in her completed works.
- New Boy by Tracy Chevalier is the fifth instalment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series – a contemporary update of William Shakespeare’s Othello, that looks at race issues prevalent within a Washington school in the 1970’s.
- And last, but by no means least, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This isn’t a new novel, but with the new TV adaptation proving popular, now is the perfect time to read this classic tale of women forced to give birth for the elite and infertile rich in a cruel, dystopian future. I just read it for the first time a week ago (review to follow soon!), and it was a fantastic read.
Places to Visit
If you get the chance to lift your head out of your latest read this Summer, you might want to check out your surroundings. Luckily, for Book Geeks, there are places in the UK that can enhance your reading, without you having to pack 50 books in a suitcase and pay extortionate fees at the airport for all of the extra weight.
While Charles Dickens based several of his works in London, true lovers of his work should visit his childhood home and final resting place in Kent. This is where undisputed classics such as The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations were based, with many of the places depicted in the novels still around to look at today. Take one of the many tours and see the locations featured in his definitive works, and visit Dickens World which takes visitors right back in time to Victorian England for an interactive experience. While in Kent, you should also visit Dickens House, a typical terraced Georgian house from Dickens’ time, converted into a museum containing all things Dickens related, from memorabilia to personal correspondence.
The home of the Bronte Sisters, this Pennine village used to be a crowded industrial town – unhygienic and fatal for many children of the time. It’s a wonder the sisters survived the devastating conditions, and you can find out more by visiting the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which will give you an insight into those terrible times. You might also want to grab your walking boots and take the 44-mile long footpath that is the Bronte Way, which takes in key locations between West Yorkshire and Lancashire. If instead, you’d prefer to take it easy, you can visit the places made famous by Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre.
To visit or not to visit may be the question you ask when contemplating heading off to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Visit the cottage of his bride-to-be, Anne Hathaway, and take a walk through the nine acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands. You could even take your beloved and reenact classic scenes from Romeo and Juliet (though you may want to skip the ending). Make sure you visit Bill’s birthplace, the house where he grew up, and of course, true lovers of Shakespeare’s work should also visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and witness one of his great plays from the incredible Royal Shakespeare Company.
There are so many other places to visit, and so little time to get to them all! There’s the Lake District, and the Beatrix Potter Museum (the home of Peter Rabbit and friends!), or you could spend time on the lakes made famous in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series of novels, and visit Grasmere, the home and inspiration of poet William Wordsworth.
What are you getting up to over the Summer? And what are your holiday or reading plans? Let me know in the comments. Happy Holidays, Book Geeks!