The leaning tower of unread books - we all have one precariously perched on our bedside table, guilty reminding us of its neglect. But with luxuriously lazy holidays now upon us, it’s time to conquer that oh-so well intended reading list, and discover some novel ways to pass the time (sorry, had to be done). We’ve already covered the best kids’ reads, so Kindle at the ready, as we take you through our top summer beach reads.

The Children’s Act - Ian McEwan

ian mcewan the children act

McEwan practically wrote the book on writing books. The diversity of his subjects and the clarity in which he writes has deservedly propelled him to the forefront of British literature. His latest novel, The Children’s Act, follows a high court judge determining whether to intervene in a family refusing to give their son life-saving treatment due to their religion. Have the oversized sunnies at the ready, as this one is quite the tear jerker.

Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood

margaret atwood

Based on the notorious 1843 murders of Thomas Kenner and his housekeeper, Atwood constructs a narrative around their accused servant, Grace. Weaving memories, speech and points of view to keep Grace’s guilt uncertain - this deserves a place at the top of you beach bag!

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby

the diving bell and the butterfly

Up your literature bragging rights with this little know masterpiece of a memoir. Written by the editor-in-chief of French Elle about his life after a stroke that caused locked-in-syndrome, a condition where the mind is fully functional but the body is paralysed. Using his left eye to blink when he wanted to use a letter (over 200,000 blinks!), Bauby crafts a beautifully poignant book that will definitely stay with you.

Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts


A hefty novel at over 900 pages long. It that may take up most of your luggage allowance, but it’s definitely worth it. Set in Mumbai, Roberts’ captures the turbulent essence of the city, assaulting the senses with its sounds and sights, this one’s the definition of a page turner.

Revolutionary Road - Richard Yeats

revolutionary road beach reads

Brought to mass fame by its movie adaptation staring DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, this American tragedy is a beautifully crafted story of suburbia and the human condition. Without giving too much away - happy endings are not guaranteed.

What are your all-time favourite holiday reads - drop us a line over on Twitter