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Cultivating the Perfect Summer Reading List

Often it can be difficult to find time to read in between studying, part-time jobs and a social life. The summer allows for you to be able to sit back and read what you’ve had on your wish list all year. There’s something about the sun being out that makes it the perfect time to lounge about reading a great book. Last year’s lockdown meant we had an opportunity to read all summer (in-between trips to the pub) and spend time doing things we’d normally take for granted. 



Romance books are always a staple for summer, often you can finish them in a weekend, or a few days and they (hopefully) have a happy ending to look forward to. 


The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary 

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment, one is there during the day and the other at night, but they’ve never met before until they start to leave each other little messages. This book will most definitely restore your faith in love, and it has the perfect balance of “will-they-wont-they” and cute moments. 


Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding 

Almost everyone has seen the film a dozen times, but the book is genuinely even better. Bridget is the infamous 30-something-year-old who is dealing with love, work and friendship and voices it all in her diary- which will genuinely make you laugh out loud. 


Immersive reads

It’s exciting to find books that you can dive into and explore a world unlike our own, whether it is by an international author or something autobiographical, these books are refreshingly unique. 


Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi 

Originally written in Japanese, and translated into English, it tells the story of a coffee shop that allows its customers the chance to travel back in time. It explores four visitors and what they use the coffee for – it has been written beautifully and explores so many different relationships and experiences. 


Audrey at Home: A Kitchen Table Biography by Luca Dotti 

A gorgeous book following the life of Audrey Hepburn, it was written by her son and it has incredible stories of her life and the role food played in it. There are recipes embedded throughout like pesto and gnocchi, which allow you to develop an appreciation for her life and make some amazing food. 


The “Tell All Your Friends About It” Books

You know that feeling when you read a really good book and then you’re desperate to tell everyone you know about it, these are some of the books I’ve read that I find myself recommending to everyone. 


Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Pérez

If you haven’t read Invisible Women already then you need to! It’s a detailed insight into how the world has been built for and caters to men and after you’ve read it, you’ll be telling all of your friends to read it too. 


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 

Longlisted for ‘The 2020 Booker Prize’, this book most definitely deserves the hype, it tells the story of a young black babysitter and her white employer after she is confronted in a supermarket and accused of “kidnapping”. It’s an incredible observation of race and issues that modern women are facing. 


Learn Something 

Whilst the summer can provide a nice break from reading journal articles, it can be great to explore a new subject. Anthologies of essays, stories or letters can be great as they can be read whenever, and you can only read your favourites if you like. 


Rife: Twenty-One Stories from Britain’s Youth edited by Nikesh Shukla and Sammy Jones 

Rife Magazine was set up to give a voice to Bristol’s youth, and twenty of its contributors, all under 24, have written essays on a multitude of topics that are facing young people at the moment. It’s an incredible, diverse exploration of issues that young people are dealing with. 


Written in History by Simon Sebag Montefiore 

This book features a series of infamous letters that have shaped history, from Cleopatra to Nelson Mandela. They’re grouped by theme which makes them very digestible and as you read each letter you gain a little insight into history. 


Other books to look out for…

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary 

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan 

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith 

Beach Read by Emily Henry 


If you want to add an extra element to your summer reading, download Goodreads so that you can track what you read and rate it as you go. You can set yourself a challenge or just find other exciting books to read. 


Amy Thompson

Bristol '23

I'm a second year Law student from London.
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