Summer holidays call for a relaxing time; Moments when you can forget about work and take in the warmth of the sun to drift away from the world for a little while. Summer reads, thus, need to have a particular fun factor to them. Books that work best have a bit of travel mixed in with the holiday spirit, and a light and breezy narrative that isn't too hard on the brain. Ideal for a read by the pool, on the park bench, or your porch on a hot and sultry day, here are five books perfect for the summer holidays.
If you prefer your summer reads to be like a delectable plate of food, spicy, bursting with bold flavours, and a hearty mix of exotic ingredients, then Restaurant Babylon is the perfect pick. Imogene Edwards-Jones' dissection of the restaurant industry takes a fictional turn through a 24-hour day featuring characters and incidents she has collected from speaking with real-life people. It is a no-holds-barred insight into the debauchery, backstabbing, passion, blood, and sweat that are integral to the food business, along with the trials and tribulations of working in and running a restaurant. Restaurant Babylon is a juicy, exciting, and revealing holiday read that will make you appreciate, love, or possibly loathe the people working behind the kitchen doors.
Postcard Stories is a collection of page-long tales originally written behind postcards by Jan Carson from Belfast in 2015. These postcards were then sent by Jan to her friends, with stories inspired by events and people that the author encountered in her day to day life. What's interesting about the book, besides the nostalgia associated with postcards, is how Jan takes mundane sights, like that of a man changing the clothes of a mannequin in a show-window, and gives them a beautiful re-imagination that forms a complete short story in itself. Bookworms who appreciate the relatively new genre of "flash fiction" will enjoy reading the 52 stories in the book, which also includes lovely illustrations by Benjamin Phillips.
Truman Capote's effortless writing and the creation of an iconic character immortalised by Audrey Hepburn in the subsequent movie makes Breakfast at Tiffany's a must-read during the holidays. The story of Holly Golightly, as she goes about the town, making men fall in and out of love, is about escaping the dullness of everyday routine while living a life full of drama and excitement. Told from the viewpoint of Fred, a writer in New York, Capote pens an imaginative, yet relatable fiction that will make you admire the spirit of the author's protagonist and his writing style within the first few pages of the book.
There's no doubt that Sanjeev Sanyal is a gifted author. His writing across a diverse set of stories in Life Over Two Beers, based in and about India, is harmonious, witty, and easy-going. Where the book really impresses, though, is in Sanyal's gentle humour and musings about life's routine, especially in the shorts The Troll and Drivers, both of which focus on the social-media-savvy and elitist culture of India's metropolitan cities. He cleverly animates the subtleties of life through his astute observations, that he then uses to his advantage, telling feel-good stories that will leave the reader with a smile on the face.
If you were to check on every book lover's "desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable" books, there's a good chance Nick Hornby will pop up frequently. There's even a possibility that the book with maximum mentions is High Fidelity. A master of human relationships, this is Hornby at his sentimental peak. The story of Rob, an insecure, sarcastic, pretentious, cocky music store owner in London, going through another breakup, is surprisingly still relevant, particularly in our contemporary dime-a-dozen relationship age. On a more philosophical level, the book is about life, the choices we make, or don't make, and about friendships and the people that become a part of our personality without us realising. High Fidelity is funny, it's memorable because of its characters, but more than anything else, behind all of Rob's insecurities are moments we've all been through at some point in our life, making it an unexpectedly relatable read.