Summer is the perfect time of year to unwind and get lost in a good book. Curled up in your favourite armchair or lounging in the garden, there’s nothing quite like the escape into another world – whether it’s a riveting read of fiction or an inspirational interior design tome. We love to read at Rose & Grey HQ – we have a large stack of design coffee table books in the showroom for staff and customers to browse, and we all love to cosy up on our own sofas with our latest reads. To get you in the mood for a summer of reading, we thought we’d share our favourite summer reads. We also reached out to stylists, authors and content creators whose taste we love to discover their recommendations. Let us know your own favourite summer book in the comments below.
The Girls is the perfect summer read – you could devour it in one sitting or pick it up and dip in and out at your leisure. Loosely based on the true story of Charles Manson and his cult, the novel is set in the Seventies, focusing on lonely teenager Evie, who becomes enamoured by a group of girls she spots in her local park, particularly an older girl named Suzanne. As she grows closer to the group and their enigmatic leader, the novel leads towards a violent climax. It’s beautifully written and really encapsulates the era.
Such a Fun Age looks at the dynamics of class, money and race in Philadelphia. The story made me think about the choices women make when it comes to their lives, work and childcare. It’s Kiley’s debut novel and it’s a cracking, intelligent read!
I love reading dystopian fiction – even during the pandemic. A novel about a deadly virus that sweeps the world may seem a little too timely to read right now, but it’s a welcome distraction from reality. In The End of Men, the virus only affects men and as it spreads around the world in the six years that the novel covers, 90% of the world’s population of men are wiped out. The novel tells the story of the pandemic from the point of view of several female characters, including the doctor who first discovers the virus. It’s definitely a scary read but has the makings of a future classic.
I’ve just read The Midnight Library and loved it. Such an easy read but a brilliant way to think about the space between life and death. Highly recommended reading!
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley-Heller (released 8th July)
This stunning debut novel is part family saga, part love story, taking place over 24 hours while flashing back over the events that led up to the protagonist having to make a complex decision that will hugely affect her future. It’s incredibly well written, and Cowley-Heller makes you really care about the characters, despite their flaws. It’s one of those books you can’t stop thinking about when you finish reading.
I’d argue that this trilogy by one of Denmark’s best-known authors works in any season, but there’s a languor about summer that allows the attention and space it really benefits from. Before Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy, Ditlevsen was playing with autofiction. The result are three stark and startling short novels that tell of her life in a working-class Copenhagen neighbourhood between the wars. I would read it again this summer, only I keep lending my copy out to people.