Summer Reads 2014: Your Reading Adventure Starts Here

“A brilliant way to find outstanding books.”



Stuck for something great to read? Try something new this summer.

If you’re looking for something absorbing to read yourself, or for the best book for your book club, then Summer Reads is for you. Chosen by a discerning set of readers, Summer Reads offers you eight brilliant books to lose yourself in. From crime novels to poetry to romance (see below) these books will effortlessly take you on a journey through some of the most exhilarating and absorbing writing around.

Now in its fifth year, Summer Reads events and book clubs are taking place across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire this May-July. But no matter where you live there’s plenty for you to discover.


How Does It Work?


Book Lovers & Book Clubs, Wherever You Live You Can:

Find out about eight great reads
These Summer Reads books have been chosen by a dedicated group of readers who whittled down a large list of books in order to choose a fantastic selection of stories for you to enjoy. Browse the titles below and dig in. 

Get loads of extra info about the books
Find out more about the books and the authors with extracts, videos and author interviews. Just scroll down for all this and more.

Join the buzz online in our virtual book club
Share news and views on each book through Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget the hashtag #SummerReads14!

Keep up to date with our Summer Reads blog
From book reviews to reports on our Summer Reads events, head to our blog for the most up to the minute Summer Reads news. 

Win prizes by telling us what you think about the books
Win National Book Tokens in our free prize draw just by telling us your thoughts on your favourite book.


If You Live In Norfolk, Suffolk Or Cambridgeshire You Can Also:

Borrow or buy the books from participating libraries and bookshops
Buy or borrow one or more of the books below and read them either as an individual or in your book club. Library Book Clubs; order your books now through your local librarian- but be fast, as they get reserved very quickly!  Find out where you can buy or borrow this years Summer Reads

Meet the Summer Reads authors and translators

Put your questions about the books to the authors and translators and meet fellow book lovers at these popular events.

Join us at the Summer Reads Book Club
Friendly pop-in events held around Norwich in bookshops and libraries by Writers’ Centre Norwich’s Sam Ruddock and Melanie Kidd. Come along to one, two or all of the book club events.

Get Involved! at our library events
If you love reading, come along to one of our library events.

Learn something new at our Reader Workshops

Become a more confident reader at our reader workshops. Taught by BJ Epstein, the workshops will help you learn new skills and keep on giving as long as you’re reading.

Take Part in the Summer Reads Book Quiz
Prove your bookish knowledge at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. 


Find out more about all of our Summer Reads events.




Click on the book which takes your fancy to find out more or scroll down to see all the titles.

 

 


Strange Weather in Tokyo
By Hiromi Kawakami (translated by Allison Markin Powell)


“A wonderful, beautiful, slowly engulfing novel”
- The Readers’ Circle

Tsukiko navigates the Tokyo of her thirties in a solitary path from her flat to work to the local bar. One evening she comes across her old school teacher there, the upright, quiet ‘Sensei’. A gentle relationship develops over good beer and delicious morsels and they end up gravitating towards each other more and more. They attend a cherry-blossom party together, but both end up leaving
with other people, and silence ensues. Will they ever get past their mutual loneliness and fear?

“One of the most beautiful love stories I have read in all my life... Read it and enjoy.”
La Vanguardia

•    Find out more about Hiromi Kawakami and read the synopsis
•    Meet Hiromi Kawakami at the Summer Reads Launch
•    Read an extract from Strange Weather in Tokyo
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Strange Weather in Tokyo
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Strange Weather in Tokyo
•    Discuss Strange Weather in Tokyo online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Strange Weather in Tokyo content

What Next? If you enjoyed Strange Weather in Tokyo, we recommend Bevel by William Letford as your next read.



Bevel
By William Letford


“Poetry that opens the heart and ear.”
- The Readers’ Circle

Letford’s wry humour and carefully constructed poems make this an absolute must for both newcomers and regular readers of poetry. His work as a manual labourer gives his poems a welcoming, grounded feel, yet the writing is wildly emotive and playful. Page after page, Letford’s beguiling voice takes you through a collection of gems. This poetry collection has that rare quality: it’s a page turner.

“Letford’s poems will stay with me for ever.”
The Guardian


•    Find out more about William Letford and read the synopsis
•    Meet William Letford at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library
•    Read an extract from Bevel
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Bevel
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Bevel
•    Discuss Bevel online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Bevel content

What Next? If you enjoyed Bevel we recommend Double Negative by Ivan Vladislavic as your next read.



The Colour of Milk
By Nell Leyshon


“Little short of perfect.”
-The Readers’ Circle

Set in a rural landscape in 1831, Leyshon introduces us to Mary, a quick-witted, straight-talking farm girl who has a story to tell. By no means will she find it easy, but her sharp voice and stripped back prose will leave you gripped from beginning to end. Best served in one exhilarating sitting, this brutal story demands that you take Mary’s hand and follow her all the way to its brutal conclusion.

“Astounding... one of the most compelling narrators I’ve ever encountered.”
Stylist



•    Find out more about Nell Leyshon and read the synopsis
•    Read an extract from The Colour of Milk
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of The Colour of Milk
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore The Colour of Milk
•    Discuss The Colour of Milk online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra The Colour of Milk content

What Next? If you enjoyed The Colour of Milk we recommend Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami as your next read.



Hawthorn & Child
By Keith Ridgway


“The most interesting and imaginative book I have read in a long time. Beautiful and brilliant.”
-The Readers’ Circle

Forget what you already know about detective novels, Ridgway’s chilling and fragmented story has upped the game and smashed the rule book to smithereens. Detectives Hawthorn and Child take us through a series of vignettes where no promises over narrative can be made. Characters and events slip and slide between the pages, but are held up by strong, compelling prose. This book demands your involvement – are you ready to pick up the pieces?

“...it sets you purring, even as it raises a hammer behind your head.”
The Observer

•    Find out more about Keith Ridgway and read the synopsis
•    Read an extract from Hawthorn & Child
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Hawthorn & Child
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Hawthorn & Child
•    Discuss Hawthorn & Child online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Hawthorn & Child content

What Next?
If you enjoyed Hawthorn & Child we recommend Raptors by Toon Tellegen as your next read.



Tenth of December

By George Saunders


“Fresh, at times ironic and at others laugh-out-loud funny.
-The Readers’ Circle

George Saunders’ collection shifts seamlessly from the mundane to the surreal. From a downtrodden father struggling to afford human ornaments to a young boy watching his beloved struggle with a kidnapper, these stories blend satire with warm-hearted affection. Often darkly humorous, Tenth of December explores the human experience through familiar and surprising worlds, and is sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

“Riotously imaginative...”
Daily Telegraph

 

•    Find out more about George Saunders and read the synopsis
•    Coming soon: an exclusive video interview with George Saunders
•    Read an extract from Tenth of December
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Tenth of December
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Tenth of December
•    Discuss Tenth of December online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Tenth of December content

What Next? If you enjoyed Tenth of December we recommend Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgway as your next read.



Raptors
By Toon Tellegen (translated by Judith Wilkinson)


“Without doubt the most exciting collection of poetry I’ve read this year.”
-The Readers’ Circle

Think poetry’s not for you? Think again. Raptors is a very accessible collection about the ups and downs of a family held hostage by the looming moods of ‘Father’. The language of Raptors is deceptively childlike, in stark contrast to the relationships it describes, the ‘rusty, conniving father / who creaks, crunches and opens’. But there are no simple rights and wrongs in this world where ‘terrible moonlight’ tenderly illuminates a family pulling itself apart.

“...a collection of poems which are as dazzlingly original as they are bewilderingly abstract.”
Poetry Book Society

 

•    Find out more about Toon Tellegen and read the synopsis
•    Read an extract from Raptors
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Raptors
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Raptors
•    Discuss Raptors online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Raptors content

What Next? If you enjoyed Raptors we recommend The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon as your next read.



Double Negative
By Ivan Vladislavic


“The prose is the real star of this book. Masterful.”
-The Readers’ Circle

Elegantly crafted, Double Negative captures the spirit of a country in conflict. Set in South Africa, Vladislavic explores an intrinsically unjust society as it moves from a world segregated by skin colour to a post-apartheid nation.

A feast of visually stunning prose, this book will have you questioning your moral fortitude as you submerge yourself in the text.

“Its sheer verve distinguishes it.”
Sunday Times



•    Find out more about Ivan Vladislavic and read the synopsis
•    Hear Ivan Vladislavic alongside Nobel Laureate and fellow South African JM Coetzee
•    Read an extract from Double Negative
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of Double Negative
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore Double Negative
•    Discuss Double Negative online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Double Negative content

What Next? If you enjoyed Double Negative we recommend All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld as your next read.




All the Birds, Singing
By Evie Wyld


“A star of a book! Gritty, brutal and strangely witty in parts.”
-The Readers’ Circle

Jake Whyte is running from something. But what?

Living alone on a British island, her only companion is Dog, who helps her tend her sheep. Dog’s whimpering and scared though; something is coming. Something that’s picking off the sheep one by one, creeping through the evening as a stranger lurks by the trees over the field...

Flashing through it all there’s Jake’s former life in the heat and rough of Australian sheep farms, the life she ran away from overseas.

Why?

A hair-prickling thriller…”
Metro

•    Find out more about Evie Wyld and read the synopsis
•    Meet Evie Wyld at the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, Bury St Edmunds Library or Wisbech Library to get a first-hand glimpse into her writing
•    Read an extract from All the Birds, Singing
•    See what reviewers and the Readers’ Circle thought of All the Birds, Singing
•    Join the Summer Reads Book Club and explore All the Birds, Singing
•    Discuss All the Birds, Singing online on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra All the Birds, Singing content

What Next? If you enjoyed All the Birds, Singing we recommend Tenth of December by George Saunders as your next read.



The Summer Reads illustrations were created by Dawn Cooper.


Do you love good books? Want to stay in touch? Please make sure you sign-up for our e-newsletter.

You can also discover six more great books from Summer Reads 2013 below.


Summer Reads is funded by Arts Council England and organised in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council, Norfolk County Council and Suffolk Libraries.






 

 




Summer Reads 2013

Summer Reads 2013 featured six stimulating books chosen for you by our Readers’ Circle Book Club. 

Find out more about each book by clicking on the links below.


“A small masterpiece...”
William Dalrymple, the Observer

What is it really like to be poor in Mumbai? Follow the daily lives of slum-residents Abdul, Manju, Sunil, One Leg and Asha who live next to a toxic pond facing Mumbai Airport and its luxury hotels.

Pulitzer prize-winning Boo gets behind the statistics to give lively voice to these slum-dwellers and their stories; the different ways that they deal with thwarted hope, envy, corruption and religious divide in a new India full of possibilities that are constantly just out of reach.

“A spectacular book that deserves each and every accolade it has received.”
Readers’ Circle Book Club

•    Read an extract from Behind the Beautiful Forevers 
•    See what reviewers thought of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
•    Visit the Behind the Beautiful Forevers Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss Behind the Beautiful Forevers online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra Behind the Beautiful Forevers content

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed Behind the Beautiful Forevers we recommend Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi as your next Summer Read.


The Polish Boxer
by Eduardo Halfon
(translated by Ollie Brock, Thomas Bunstead, Lisa Dillman, Daniel Hahn & Anne McLean)

“the power of The Polish Boxer is that it is always rooted in the personal. It is deeply accessible, deeply moving...”
LA Times

Halfon brings you his students, his old Serbian friend the pianist who disappears for years, his girlfriend who draws graphs of her orgasms, a quest into gypsy heritage, his grandfather who said that the tattooed numbers on his arm were only his telephone number. Or did he? We constantly wonder what is truth and what is fiction – and whether it matters when you’re in the hands of a master story-teller such as this one.

“Intriguing, mysterious, engaging, and, perhaps at times a little insane. I loved these stories.” Readers’ Circle Book Club


•    Read an extract from The Polish Boxer
•    Read Sam's review of The Polish Boxer
•    See what reviewers thought of The Polish Boxer
•    Visit the The Polish Boxer Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss The Polish Boxer online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Meet the translators of The Polish Boxer
•    Watch, listen and read extra The Polish Boxer content

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed The Polish Boxer we recommend This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor as your next Summer Read.



The Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall

“Fierce and sensuous.”
Guardian books of the year

Sarah Hall’s stories are a portal into the fascinating inner lives of women who are often hiding or recovering from something untold. From one women in search of excitement, to another waiting for her lover to leave so she can make the biggest decision of her life, this collection of carefully crafted moments engages all of the senses, using the rhythms of body and landscape to tell beautiful stories that will stay with you.

“These fabulously written, looming and austere stories are beautiful and a joy to read.” Readers’ Circle Book Club


•    Read an extract from The Beautiful Indifference 
•    See what reviewers thought of The Beautiful Indifference
•    Visit the The Beautiful Indifference Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss The Beautiful Indifference online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Meet  Sarah Hall, the author of  The Beautiful Indifference
•    Watch, listen and read content

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed The Beautiful Indifference we recommend A Light Song of Light by Kei Miller as your next Summer Read.



This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
by Jon McGregor

“Haunting and brilliant”
the Independent

You never thought that kind of thing could happen to somebody like you. But then it does. Set in the lowlands of the fens, these brooding stories evoke quiet menace – from the drama of buried bodies that risk being dug up to the buried crisis of an everyday break-up. The book’s very readable style masks fierce technical skill as McGregor builds tension and plays with your expectations to keep you hooked all the way through.


“These stories are creative, strange, sometimes genius, reflections on life. Read them, you won’t be disappointed.” Readers’ Circle Book Club

•    Read an extract from This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You 
•    Read a review of This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
•    Visit the This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss  This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Meet Jon McGregor, the author of This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
•    Watch, listen and read extra This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You content.

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens to Someone Like
You
we recommend The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon as your next Summer Read.



A Light Song of Light
by Kei Miller

“His poems impart an intimate knowledge that turns our sightings of the
world inside out to reveal the enchantment of the everyday”
Alison Donnel, the London Magazine

Jamaican poet Kei Miller’s poems are presented in two parts; Day Time and Night Time. Day Time is soon undermined by a Night Time place where cool caves and bat wings tickle the neck. This collection faces the tough stuff of life but through it all the Singerman calls as Miller uses rhythm and song to pull you through his laments towards a praise of light in language that truly sings.


“I’ve always proclaimed not to understand poetry... but the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I loved this book.” Readers’ Circle Review



•    See what reviewers thought of A Light Song of Light
•    Read Sam's review of A Light Song of Light
•    Meet Kei Miller, author of A Light Song of Light
•    Visit the A Light Song of Light Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss A Light Song of Light online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Watch, listen and read extra A Light Song of Light content. 

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed A Light Song of Light we recommend The Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall as your next Summer Read.



Beside the Sea
by Véronique Olmi


“heart-stopping and heartbreaking.”
the Independent

A single mother takes her children on their first trip to the seaside. As they run from rain to hot chocolate to the fun-fair we see the woman’s close and complex relationship with the two little boys unfold. These are precious children whom she wants so badly to protect from the very unkind world, from hunger and pain. But we find that the severest danger can lurk much closer to home in this emotionally tough but brilliantly written read.


“Bleak yet riveting. Be brave: this is life at its harshest and writing at its most affecting.” Readers’ Circle Book Club

•    Read an extract from Beside the Sea
•    See what reviewers thought of Beside the Sea
•    Visit the Beside the Sea Summer Reads Book Club page
•    Discuss Beside the Sea online with WCN Book Club on Twitter or Facebook
•    Meet the translator and publisher of Beside the Sea
•    Watch, listen and read extra Beside the Sea content. 

WHAT NEXT? If you enjoyed Beside the Sea we recommend Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo as your next Summer Read.


Do you love good books? Want to stay in touch? Please make sure you sign-up for our e-newsletter.