Helena’s 2014 summer reading list (the tentative version)


So what if the temperatures are a bit lower than what you'd like for this time of the year? So what if the shelves are a-bursting with books you haven't found the time to read (yet - always yet - hope eternally does spring after all!)? I say it is high time to start planning that favourite activity I like to call "summer reading". Which is basically reading, which is when you think about it really as everyday as, say, brushing your teeth, only way more fun. Still, there is something special about planning the books you hope to read during those all too brief days of relative freedome, isn't there? Here are some of the books I intend to read this summer (actually, I hope to read a great deal more).


How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner The Secret Place by Tana French The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

First of all, you do know that Caitlin Moran has a novel out in July, don't you? Described as "The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease", this is surely one of this summer's most anticipated releases. I nearly laughed myself comatose/incontinent/silly/all of the above while reading How to Build a Girl, so can't wait for this!

Also out in July is the latest Lisa Jewell novel, The Third Wife. Last year's The House We Grew Up In was Jewell's darkest and most complex book to date, so I have high hopes for this one.

In recent years, Jennifer Weiner has gone from the most promising voice of chick lit to one of the most promising voices of lit, period. I am in awe of, not to mention all girlcrushily in luurve in, pretty much all her protagonists. All Fall Down is out 17 June.

Ooh, and when we talk about love: obviously, I will be throwing myself at the new Dublin Murder Squad installment by the always fabulous Tana French, The Secret Place, in August. She is one of those writers that just keep getting slightly better with each new novel: Broken Harbour was breathtaking in its dark, tragic complexity.

This year's finest moment in books simply must have been when a certain bookseller – you know who you are – managed to get me a signed advance copy of Sarah Waters' upcoming novel The Paying Guests at a London Bookfair do. I will be reading it in my garden, savouring every word, and yes, you may envy me.


Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth The Fallout by Sadie Jones All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner Be Safe, I Love You by Cara Hoffman

Speaking of Caitlin Moran: she's quickly becoming one of my most trusted blurbers, along with previous champs such as Harlan Coben, Stephen King (he led me straight to Gillian Flynn and Sharp Objects, for which I shall always be grateful), and Jennifer Weiner. When Caitlin blurbs stuff like "I wish I'd written this book", I – and needless to say a faithful legion of Caitlin fan girls around the globe – are bound to take note. Also, Emma Jane Unsworth's Animals is apparently about hedonistic literary party girls, something that I occasionally fancy myself to be in, you know, an alternate universe without 5 pm fish finger dinners and crack of dawn caffeinated Disney marathons. (Aw, delusion, that fickle friend.)

Another recently published must read is Sadie Jones' The Fallout, set in the 1970's London acting world. Loved her debut The Outcast, found her second novel Small Wars intriguing, if not as stellar as its processor, haven't actually got around to reading The Uninvited Guests yet but undoubtedly will, at some point. I plead "too many books, too little time".

There was so much gritty promise, so much gloriously unpretty (which, obviously, means pretty) writing in So Much Pretty that I immediately put Cara Hoffman on my "to watch" list. Her latest effort, Be Safe, I Love You, has received nothing but rave reviews and deal with military service, small town life, and relentless love. Colour me intrigued.


Stoner by John William The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This year's most talked of novel in the Swedish literary world is, refreshingly enough given our society's general obsession with everything five minutes ahead, a novel that was written in the early 1960's. All the buzz around John Williams' cult novel Stoner, which was recently published in Swedish, has got me curious. (I will be reading it in English, of course.)

What is it about summer that makes me want to re-read F. Scott Fitzgerald? Apart from a certain balmy-evening-in-Long-Island-feel, a certain slant of light, the taste of icy cold Martinis on one's lips, I wholeheartedly attribute Donna Tartt to my sudden desire to re-read The Great Gatsby. She mentioned it as one of her all-time favourite novels during her publicity stint in Stockholm a few weeks ago, which made me realise that I haven't read it since school.

These are some of the books that I intend to hang with this summer, but needless to say, other titles will emerge: from the dusty depths of my bookshelves, from a certain bookshop, from sheer serendipity... And that, my friends, is just how I like my summer reading. Make a plan, then make room for more.